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Don’t limit learning to the school year

Resource type: News

Baltimore Sun |

The Center on Education Policy’s study on the effects of the No Child Left Behind law documents the major changes that parents, students and teachers have seen in classrooms in Baltimore and across the country over the past five years (” Reading, math eat up class hours,” Feb. 21).

More and more instruction time is devoted to reading and math, with other subjects, such as art, science, social studies and music, being shortchanged.

The implications of this trend are important and should be addressed by policymakers. But it’s also important to realize that not all learning takes place during the school year.

High-quality summer learning programs provide a wonderful opportunity for students and teachers to spend time on music, drama and even sailing, all while improving literacy and other academic skills.

Research has shown that summer enrichment programs can help narrow the achievement gap that the NCLB law seeks to close.

Policymakers need to commit to fund initiatives such as the Summer Term Education Program for Upward Performance – a program that Congress has authorized but still awaits funding – which would provide the first federal funding exclusively for summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged youths in America.

The program would help all students have a well-rounded education experience, no matter how much their parents earn.

Ron Fairchild
BaltimoreThe writer is executive director of the Center for Summer Learning at the Johns Hopkins University.

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Center for Summer Learning, No Child Left Behind