Policymakers seek to eliminate summer break for Michigan students

The traditional three-month summer for Michigan schools may be nearing it’s end, as the state legislature and the governor want to give schools the ability to go to what they call a balanced schedule or what many people call year-round school.

Gov. Rick Snyder and many policymakers say such a change could help eventually lead to more college graduates. Principal Kit Moran has read such studies and said the research bears them out.

“Studies have shown, that students have a starting point at the beginning of each school year to which they steadily improve as the year goes on,” Principal Kit Moran said. “However during the 11 or 12 week summer, kids lose some of that brain power, since they aren’t reading or doing math problems.”

The year-round schools schedule would have the same number of school days as a traditional school year, however it would be stretched out across a 12-month period rather than the normal nine months.

“Schools that have tested going year round had a system of nine weeks on then three weeks off, so after each quarter, you would have essentially another Christmas break,” Moran said.

While there has also been talk of increasing the number of days Michigan students have to attend school, this discussion hasn’t really gone anywhere, mainly because of the money issue, according to Moran.

“There is always someone in Lansing that says kids need to go to school longer,” Moran said. “Gov. Engler, a few years back, his goal was to get the number of school days up to 210, instead of the 175 we have now. The only problem is, how are you going to fund seven more weeks of school, because that’s seven more weeks of buses and seven more weeks of paying teachers?”

And money isn’t the only problem with this plan according to Moran.

“If I were to say, ‘Dexter is going to change to a year-round system. We’re going to be on nine weeks and off three, well, that’s good for student achievement, but what do we do about athletics,” he said. “Would that affect our testing in March? There are so many things that we structure around our school year, that it makes it difficult to make such a big change.”

Although year-round schooling or a balanced schedule may be gaining momentum in the state legislature, Moran doesn’t see this change coming to Dexter anytime soon.

“I can tell you this,” he said. “No student in the Dexter High School has to worry about going to school year round.”