Study Finds Year Round Schools Have No Academic Value
(08/14/07 -- APEX) (WTVD) -- Some Wake County teachers are defending the benefits of year round school. They're reacting to a new study that found that students do not learn more or do better in a year round school than one operating on a traditional calendar.
Many parents in Apex who protested year round schools may use a new study to try and convince school leaders to switch some schools back to a traditional calendar. But some teachers say the study isn't what they see in their classroom.
Xiomara Williams, a special education teacher, doesn't want to teach on any other calendar than year round. "There is a big benefit in my world of special education. A child with learning disabilities is more likely to lose information more than their peers so to be out of school for 2 months consecutively, you lose information statistically, than you would if you're out for three weeks at a time."
Those are statistics Williams says she studied in graduate school, but a new study by Ohio State finds in general, students do not lose what they've learned on a traditional calendar.
Researchers found little difference in test scores from students in year-round versus others in traditional calendar schools out west. Wake County school leaders say they didn't convert schools for an academic advantage.
Wake County Schools spokesperson, Michael Evans explains, "We don't see the year round program as an academic program. It's purely for capacity reasons. We're expecting 8,000 new students this year and another 8,000 next year and next year we're only opening 3 new schools. So we need to create the capacity and that's why we looked at year round schools."
The study found slightly higher reading scores by poorer students. Earlier this year, African American community leaders urged Wake County parents to agree to send their children to year round schools, citing better retention.
Teachers like Xiomara says they don't need studies t see their student's success. "When they read their first word and they can spell a word like 'me,' that to me is the best feeling in the world. No money in the world can replace that look on their face."
Xiomara came to Wake County this year specifically to teach year round. School leaders say they still have 76-positions left to fill. Most are coming from other states that produce more teachers then they have jobs.
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