Demand documentation of claims
your school district considers piloting or implementing year-round school, or any kind of calendar reform, make sure it has done an in-depth
study of the pros and cons.
Failure to have answers to the following list of
questions will come at great financial costs to the district and put
children at risk academically. Copy this list of questions and
present it to calendar change proponents and school district decision
makers (school board, school calendar committee, principal,
Also, send a list to the education reporters at your local newspaper or
Demand answers with documentation to back up those
This list is adapted from one that appears in "Year-Round
Education: Lessons Learned The Hard Way."
School Calendar Change:
These Questions Need Answers
Will year-round schools improve
Is there solid evidence that
year-round education significantly increases SAT and other standardized
Will the curriculum need
modification due to shorter instructional periods and, if so, what will be
the costs of restructuring it?
How will professional
development be addressed?
Does year-round education
adequately meet the educational needs of all students: gifted, average,
disadvantaged, special needs, etc.?
Do year-round schools experience
a higher absentee rate than traditional schools, rates that can impact learning
as well as state funding to schools that is based on average daily
What problems will a year-round
calendar present for extra-curricular activities--sports, clubs, school
plays, chorus and band programs, etc.?
Do studies that claim academic
improvement and cost savings from calendar reforms use valid data
comparisons or are they advocacy research (finding what you are looking
How will schools prevent
inequities that are characteristic of a multi-track year-round calendar?
Will classes and electives be offered on all tracks without resorting to a
"rainbow" class that compromises education quality and
Will school morale and school
spirit be affected by the switch to a year-round calendar or a longer
How will the school district
evaluate academic and cost benefits of the school calendar reform, and
will the methodology (control groups, standardized test data, similar
socio-economic groups) stand up to public scrutiny? Will evaluations
be done in-house or by an independent, outside source?
Will pilot programs be long
enough to collect sufficient data on the effectiveness of year-round
schools before adding more schools?
What are the additional costs
incurred (extra staff, extended contracts, busing, air-conditioning,
building modifications, maintenance, utilities, etc.) in implementing and
using a year-round calendar or longer school year?
Will year-round schools incur
additional administrative expenses, taking money away from the classroom?
Will teachers work additional
days without compensation? Will teachers be compensated for lost summer
Has any state or federal
legislation been passed giving incentive money to schools studying,
piloting or implementing year-round schools. If so, what types of
incentive monies are available, and do they really offset the extra cost
of school calendar change?
Will government incentive
money go to the school district to use at its discretion, or will the
monies go specifically to the school/schools implementing year-round
school or other calendar changes?
Will traditional schools be
short-changed due to the extra operational expenses incurred at year-round
When will deep-cleaning and
major maintenance of schools be done?
Are school facilities fully
equipped with air-conditioning (school, gym, cafeteria)? If not, how
will schools deal with classroom heat during the sweltering summer months?
Have parents and teachers been
given complete and accurate information to make an educated decision on
whether or not they want year-round education?
Will presentations include a
balanced panel of speakers for and against calendar reforms?
Will surveys to measure support
for calendar change by teachers and parents ask questions that accurately
reflect sentiments or will they be manipulative?
When the multi-track year-round
calendar is used, could children in the same family possibly end up being
assigned to different school calendars and/or tracks, which would
wreck havoc on family live?
Will the year-round calendar or
other calendar reforms with frequent short breaks throughout
the school year create child care complications for families?
Will year-round school interfere
with traditional family summer activities (vacation Bible school, family
vacations, summer sports programs, summer jobs for college-bound students,
visits to relatives, swimming lessons, summer camps, recreation programs)?
What percentage of the nation's
public schools use the year-round calendar or and extended school year?
What percentage of the nation's private schools use the year-round
calendar or extended school year? What is the rate of growth of year-round
schools over the past three years? Is there a slowdown? If so,
How will year-round schools
affect community businesses, especially those that rely on summer-related