American Federation of Teachers | American Educator
By Sarah Pitcock
For many people, the word “summer” evokes easier days, a time when life slows down. So does the term “summer break,” a time parents, teachers, and students alike value as a well-deserved respite from the labor of the school year. Unfortunately, a growing body of evidence shows that summer is far from a time to recharge for many families. Instead, it’s a time of loss and lack, a time of struggle and stress. With half of all public school children today living in low-income households, the reality is that summer is actually no vacation at all.
The truth is, public schools are a critical lifeline for low-income students and families. When they are open, students of different income levels—rich, poor, and middle class—achieve at roughly the same rate. When they are closed, achievement gaps widen and a variety of academic, health, and social-emotional outcomes decline. So why are schools closed in the summer?