Is Summer Vacation Necessary?


Jason Rabinowitz, Student Life

Summer Vacation has been around for over a hundred years. But have you ever thought of the reason why we have it in the first place, or if it is even necessary?

Why do we have summer vacation? Most people believe that schools in the 1800s had students take a break during the summer to help their parents in the fields and farms. That is actually false. Summer break seems to have become a thing after the Civil War and has a lot to do with the rise of the upper class. During the summer, wealthier students took any excuse to escape the hot, dry climate of the summer. Attendance was not mandatory in schools at the time so there was no reason to go. More and more schools began adopting the summer break until all of them were. Summer Vacation was a norm. This reasoning would never work today. In the modern era of air conditioning, schools being too hot would not be a problem. Summer break was implemented for a reason that no longer applies to any school.

Is summer break too long? When people come back to School in August/September, they forget a large portion of the information they were taught from the previous year. One study southern state found that students, on average, lost between 25 – 30 percent of their school-year learning over the summer. 

From a student’s perspective, abolishing summer vacation seems like it would be a terrible idea. However, some people would argue to the contrary. Assuming that there is still the required 180 days of school, in theory, students would only have to go to school 15-16 days a month. For reference, students in American schools typically go 21-23 days a month. Imagine 30% of your school days just cut out of thin air. In the long January-March stretch where there is no break, it may help students get through it if they had an extra 5 days off.

What do you do those extra days a month? A 5 day week with more breaks is the best option. For every month, there would be a week where there is no school at all. Some would argue this is enough time for students to replenish while not completely forgetting all the material they learned. However, there is a use to Summer Vacation. It is a time to relax and enjoy the hot summer weather. How about a compromise. Instead of the typical 3 months, have a 1 month Summer Break. That will still allow students to have fun while also having them not forget all the material they learned over the previous year and cause less stress during the school year.

This is obviously a dream. There is simply no way that the United States could make this change in just a year and it is so drastic that it would be difficult for everyone to get on board. It would be a very long process that would likely take decades, but it might make the education of tomorrow a little better.