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Year-round schools operate 12 months rather than the traditional 9- or 10-month schedule. On a multitrack year-round schedule, attendance is staggered so that some students are on vacation while others attend school the usual number of days (about 180). Year-round schools can usually accommodate more students and offer an alternative to overcrowding. Recent studies suggest that year-round schools do not improve education. Shifting days of attendance does not address problems such as lack of parent involvement and the need for restructured curricula, continued education for teachers, and improved teaching methods. Three large urban school districts (Los Angeles; Houston; and Prince William County, Virginia) experimenting with year-round education found no significant positive effects on academic achievement. In two other districts (Lodi, California, and Orange County, Florida), other factors may account for increased student achievement. Los Angeles and Houston also found that year-round schools only temporarily relieved their overcrowding problems. Many districts are finding that year-round schools are not cost-effective to operate unless the student population substantially exceeds traditional school capacity. Although building costs can be temporarily avoided, there are increased expenses for air conditioning, maintenance, and staff salaries. Additional disadvantages include administrative difficulties, adjustment problems, inconvenience, decreased teacher development and student employment opportunities, and deleterious effects on community businesses. A resource list is appended. (MLH)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Cost Effectiveness, Crowding, Educational Improvement, Educational Quality, Elementary Secondary Education, Urban Schools, Year Round Schools

Autor: Rasberry, Quinn


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