Friday, September 2, 2016

It's Not Just Your Summer

I've been seeing a lot of responses to Governor Hogan's Executive Order moving the start date of school that base all their reasoning on "how this affects me." And it is only natural to think of ourselves first. But there's more to this decision than one person or one family. And the consequences will reach far beyond one geographic area or one demographic group.

I saw this post this morning on Twitter from @summerlearning, which is the Twitter account for the National Summer Learning Assocation.

Let summer be summer when all kids have access to beach vacations, books etc. #LaborDay #Maryland #summerlearning

The link in the tweet takes you to a statement on Governor Hogan's decision. Take a moment to read it. This paragraph stands out to me:

No matter how a state or community chooses to structure their school calendar, it’s critical for youth in low-income neighborhoods to have access to supports and services whenever the school building, with its readily available resources, is closed. States need to ensure that libraries, parks, recreation centers, and other community-based providers are ready and able to step in and fill these opportunity gaps after the bell rings. Summer learning loss is real, particularly for our poorest students, and cuts deeply into the $10-12,000 per child investment our communities make during the school year.

In single parent households or those where both parents must work, sometimes multiple jobs, summer may mean leaving children in the care of the oldest sibling, with warnings to stay inside all day for safety. Day after day stuck inside with only a television for company. Access to healthy food may be a challenge during these months.

Let summer be summer? Whose summer?

Shouldn't we make decisions that take into account all of our children? You may think, "But that's not my responsibility!"

Perhaps not. But it is Governor Hogan's responsibility.

From yesterday's post, this quote from Adam Mendelson:

But most critically – there are so many more important education issues that we should be working together on in MD than the length of summer.

It's only natural to think of yourself first. But that's just not enough.



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