THE BLOG
06/14/2012 09:32 am ET Updated Aug 14, 2012

What I Did This Summer

In the 1900s, the U.S. proved, through innovation and military dominance, that we were number one. Our families' incomes were generally high. Our celebrities were worldwide legends. Our children had an exceptional educational system. Now where do we stand? We continue to get pushed further down the ladder as many Eastern countries climb further ahead. Why? One reason that many focus on is year-round schooling. They have it, we don't. Yet we still wonder why our test scores are lower.

The idea of having a three-month-long summer vacation originated from a time when the U.S. was still heavily agricultural. Family farms needed kids home to be able to work during the growing season. Yet, over time, we have become more and more industrialized, and today, we're heavily dependent on technology. There is simply no need for the traditional summer break anymore. In fact, this three-month period often just turns into a time when kids veg out on the couch and surf the Web all day. Sure, there are reasons why we should keep a long summer vacation. Many businesses, like water parks and ice cream shops, rely very heavily on summer vacation. Many school systems argue that as far as energy and staffing goes, taking three months off is much cheaper. And of course, there's the "happy-go-lucky" feeling everyone experiences during their youthful summer days. However, is having all this really worth it, considering that our world educational ranking has dropped so low?

Sure, year-round school is an unpopular choice with many people. In Dublin, where I live, the parents would say, "How dare you take away my child's right to fun and happiness?!" But is being able to lounge on the couch and play "Call of Duty" for three months really worth the future of America? While kids in other countries are working hard, we not only sit around and forget everything we have just learned, but then come back and have to waste an entire quarter reviewing what we have forgotten. That racks up to five months of wasted time. Now, if we had year-round school, there would only be about two to three weeks of summer vacation. "That's too short!" kids will say. However, with year-round school, there are breaks of two to three weeks each season. Instead of having a massive amount of break all at once, it's scattered so that kids can actually continue to learn and not fall behind. What about summer businesses? Kids would still have a shortened summer break, and they still have weekends -- which is often the only time families get out together anyway, as their parents are at work during the week. The operating costs would remain the same given that school would be in session the same number of weeks they are now. So why aren't we doing it? Because we are Americans. We are number one. No one can touch us. Well, here is a newsflash: maybe our way isn't always the best way. So while I waste another summer watching Degrassi, kids all over the world will keep climbing the ladder.

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