Here we go again. Many of our children and youth who were not served by high-quality summer learning programs last summer probably lost two to three months of reading proficiency and math skills, possibly causing an increase in the achievement gap, as well.
Now, man of those same kids are facing another summer that will again be absent of high-quality summer learning programs and activities, causing them to lose additional months of reading and math proficiency and fall farther behind. And that should not be acceptable.
As a community, we all have a responsibility for the general wall-being of our youth, making sure all children are “safe, healthy and engaged in learning” during the summer. With far too many parents finding it difficult to keep their children occupied in worthwhile and engaging activities, it is up to all of us to help created more opportunities in summer for our children and youth. That being said, we need to provide for all our children greater access to quality educational programs during the summer. And there are many good reasons for doing so.
There is a great deal of research that extols the value and benefit of summer learning with the primary goal being to promote students success. First, think about how our youth could benefit from a summer learning program in reading proficiency with the research suggesting that children who are products of summer learning being more likely to graduate high school and attend college. Further, there is growing evidence that suggests summer learning can also help close the achievement gap. Making summer learning a priority will also enhance 21st Century skill development, and in the end, the entire community wins as student educational outcomes continue to improve, putting all children on the path to a better future.
Believing that everyone counts, it is time for an epic shift in how we treat summer and the lack of opportunities for most of our children and youth. It’s simply wrong to leave some kids to their own devices for having a safe, healthy and productive summer. It should be the responsibility of all community stakeholders including education leaders and policy-makers to create and help fund high-quality summer learning programs that will positively impact all our children and youth.
We know that only a small percent of our county youth will have access to quality summer learning experiences this summer. An that, too, is not acceptable. Now is the time for us to start something that will continue for generations to come, helping our youth achieve their personal best, by letting summer be a season for continued learning which will help them maintain hope for a brighter future.