"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, June 13, 2013

School's Out for Summer


Well we got no choice all the girls and boys
Makin' all that noise 'cause they found new toys
Well we can't salute ya, can't find a flag, if that don't suit ya that's a drag
School's out for summer, school's out forever, school's been blown to pieces
No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks
yeah
Well we got no class and we got no principals and we got no innocence
We can't even think of a word that rhymes
School's out for summer, school's out forever, my school's been blown to pieces
No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks
Out for summer, out till fall, we might not come back at all
School's out forever, school's out for summer
School's out with fever school's out completely

This is Alice Cooper's song. From Wikipedia:
Cooper has said he was inspired to write the song when answering the question, "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?". Cooper said: "There's two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you're just getting ready to open the presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you're sitting there and it's like a slow fuse burning. I said, 'If we can catch that three minutes in a song, it's going to be so big.'"
The blog StudyDog has a different take. It features the following infographic:



Although there is clear evidence that summer vacations contribute to achievement gaps in learning between middle class and low income students, research on what works during the summer for disadvantaged children is quite lacking. A meta-analysis by Kim and Quinn on this issue reveals that published studies so far have not been well controlled despite the potential benefits of addressing the summer gap in learning for poor children:

The Effects of Summer Reading on Low-Income Children’s Literacy Achievement From 
Kindergarten to Grade 8: A Meta-Analysis of Classroom and Home Interventions
James S. Kim and David M. Quinn
Harvard University

Citation: Kim, J. S. & Quinn, D. M. (2013). The effects of summer reading on low-income children’s literacy achievement from Kindergarten to Grade 8: A meta-analysis of classroom and home interventions, Review of Educational Research, published online 25 April 2013. DOI: 10.3102/0034654313483906
Abstract

This meta-analysis reviewed research on summer reading interventions conducted in the United States and Canada from 1998 to 2011. The synthesis included 41 classroom- and home based summer reading interventions, involving children from kindergarten to Grade 8. Compared to control group children, children who participated in classroom interventions, involving teacher-directed literacy lessons, or home interventions, involving child-initiated book reading activities, enjoyed significant improvement on multiple reading outcomes. The magnitude of the treatment effect was positive for summer reading interventions that employed research-based reading instruction and included a majority of low-income children. Sensitivity analyses based on within-study comparisons indicated that summer reading interventions had significantly larger benefits for children from low-income backgrounds than for children from a mix of income backgrounds. The findings highlight the potentially positive impact of classroom and home-based summer reading interventions on the reading comprehension ability of low income children.

In the US, schools are about to begin the summer vacation while in the Philippines, schools have just opened after the hot and dry season. What children do during the two months of no school, without doubt, have an impact on their learning. This is certainly one area where socio-economic factors can play a big role. It is therefore one window of opportunity, an excellent one, where school reform can really target children who are in greater need.













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