Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Break - "Look Ma - No Class..."

Look Ma - No class! It's mid-summer and the pools are open, the grills have been broken in, and the air conditioning has no doubt began its seasonal overtime schedule! As a kid, I remember this time being a most joyous and magical time! Summer camps and freeze-pops along with chasing lightening bugs and late nights. While these pastimes are still around today, our children have the inclusion of many more cable TV options, the internet (well a faster one), and Nintendo's on steroids!

With all this though, I came across a recent study that seemed to spark up all this nostalgia once again. In it, I learned that this is the season where class (as in income status) was proven to be a huge factor in the educational advances of the students in each of these classes. What this study found was that during the year, no class of students exhibited a learning curve greater than the other. But, in the summer time, the advancements between the classes became quite apparent. Upon returning from these chlorine wading, lightning bug infested, and game overdosing binges, school children were given the same standardized tests as they took on the last day of school. What they found was that, on average, lower class students had lost ground and actually lowered their reading scores while the middle and higher class students experienced modest and highly marked advancements respectively. Advancements that put the lower class children at a habitual seasonal disadvantage - catapulting the upper classed students into talented and gifted distinctions that further set them apart from their peers. Advancements that later opened the doors for more opportunities seemingly unreachable to those same peers.

So...what was the difference maker? Was it the fact that just being categorized in a higher class made their kids smarter? Was it because they could afford the latest game consoles? Was it due to the varied types of chlorine the children swam in or perhaps the brand of freeze-pops they ate?


The difference was reading - that's it. On average, the higher the class, the more prevalent was the emphasis made on reading at home during this time. So apparently, money isn't as nearly magical as reading! I say, "Don't let the summer break handicap our children." Let's pass this wealth onto them because opportunities and a joyous future await! Don't be fooled. Class is in and this time, more than any, determines which class they belong to in the future.

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