Ronda Kaysen: Should summer vacation go the way of the dinosaurs? David Von Drehle of Time Magazine seems to think so. He penned an article making a case against summer vacation, arguing that low-income kids suffer academically during the lazy months of summer, while kids from middle- and upper-class families either stay the course or even excel because of academic-focused (and costly) summer camps.
"There is an idyllic view of summer, but we've known for decades that the reality is very different for a lot of underprivileged kids," Ron Fairchild, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, a nonprofit organization in Baltimore, told Von Drehle.
Insiders call it "the summer slide," and although most 6-year-olds return from summer vacation on basically equal footing, by the time kids get to high school, the gap in knowledge between kids in low-income families and those in higher-income families is staggering.
The solution? Take the stigma out of summer school and provide kids with enriching programs all summer long, to keep their minds agile and fresh.
Summer was never meant to be a three-month siesta. It's a tradition left over from our agrarian past, when kids had to help out on the farm. Kids in other developed countries spend an additional month a year in school, putting American kids at a disadvantage in a global economy.
It's hard to imagine childhood without summer. It's such an iconic part of what I think of as being a kid. But at the same time, spending three months watching TV or sitting on a street corner in the heat eating Popsicles is hardly a good way for a kid to spend his time. Perhaps summer has gotten too long, or maybe it's a question of making summer camps and summer activities affordable for more people.
What do you think, moms? Is summer a brain drain, or do you think it's part of what makes being a kid great?