We have been arguing for almost a year about whether schools should be physically closed or reopened. Now we need a second debate: Should we shorten the school holidays in order to have more days of classes – remote or in person – so that the Students can at least partially make up for lost learning? And should this change be permanent?
Given that the pandemic has already made us rethink so much of what we used to see as normal – how we work, travel, meet, etc. – one is amazed that we have not yet opened this topic. We have to for two reasons. First, the situation of many students is bad. Second, school holidays, as they have developed since the industrial revolution, have been primarily an arbitrary and bad idea. This is a good opportunity to fix this
Start with the Children’s Street Suffering individual children still depends on their families Those from affluent and educated households are likely to be fine Your homes are digital sanctuaries Your savvy parents may even have “pods” with similar families educated, tutors hired, but otherwise distanced themselves from the general population and its germs
Most other children, however, have fallen far behind in remote and online learning, and those from poor families or minorities lag the most behind in studies from U.S. show that, on average, students started the current academic year with only 67% of math and 87% of normally expected reading skills.In schools with predominantly non-white students, the percentage in math was 59% and in reading 77% and that is the numbers from last autumn after only six months of “online learning” ”
These educational gaps will permanently damage lives Even if schools in Germany were to reopen next month, says Ludger Woessmann, economist at the Ifo Institute in Munich, today’s children earn an average of 45% less income over the course of their careers. They also suffer more amid related epidemics like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and obesity that should ultimately lead to more diabetes
What is clear is that we are well beyond the point where we can make up for this lost education without changing the way our school systems are set up, as new mutations in Covid-19 seem to be appearing at about the pace of new vaccines we may indefinitely in this rotation between open and closed
At the same time, this pandemic-related educational crisis also looks like a greatly exaggerated form of another phenomenon that educators have noticed for decades: the so-called “summer slide” or “summer fading” of children who forget a lot about what they have learned in long vacations
Even before Covid-19, the length of vacation and its distribution over the calendar year were very different in the individual countries.In Europe, children in the Flemish part of Belgium went to school 158 days a year, children in Denmark or Italy 200 days in the USWith his long summer vacation, he also had relatively little class time – about 180 days in most states
Somehow a myth has gotten hold of itself that this tradition goes back to the earlier dictation of the farming calendar. In this case, we would have long breaks in spring (during planting) and in autumn (harvest) In fact, the long summer vacation had more to do with the hell of city life during the industrial revolution, before air conditioning and other conveniences
The real origin of our current systems was bureaucratization, which coincided with industrialization as governments increasingly standardized education, taking into account both rural and urban traditions, the result was mass education for an era of mass production and mass production – long before human capital, lifelong learning and creativity became buzzwords and political priorities
So when we enter the fourth industrial revolution there is no point in sticking to the school systems we built for the first and second, so we should stop cramming as much content as possible in some parts of the year what puts enormous pressure and exam stress on the children only to give up much of the progress made in the other months
Most teachers and their unions will oppose this call for change. Time outside of the classroom, they argue, is needed for teacher training and development. But many other professions also manage to get time for professional training, “continuing education” and Finding sabbaticals – and resting – without the long breaks of science
Admittedly, the pandemic is already a stress factor for teachers. A shortening of the vacation would make it even more.For this reason, every change proposal must also include more support for educators – more wages, but also more training and social respect. That was before covid -19 necessary We have to attract more talents for the vocation which is arguably the most important nowadays
To put it bluntly: People love vacationsWe all and especially our children need a break.But we are also in a pandemic that has caused an unprecedented educational disaster.This emergency requires a response.We can no longer learn in one day or one Week But we can spread it more evenly over a slightly longer academic year, interrupted by shorter – if perhaps more frequent – breaks
And whenever this pandemic is over, we can talk about whether this is a better model even in normal times
News – UK – Should children get shorter vacations during the pandemic?