Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to overhaul the city's education system and "champion innovation" at the "Education Nation" summit. Using a $36 million grant from the US Department of Education and $3 million from the Gates Foundation, Bloomberg reviewed plans to bring skilled teachers to low-performing schools and implement merit-based tenure for teachers. Bloomberg said, "By rewarding teachers who make a real difference, bringing technology into our classrooms and creating partnerships with the private sector, we will build upon the improvements we have made over the last eight years and give New York City children the future they deserve." But will students lose the gains of all that reform over their summer vacations?
On NBC, President Obama spoke of his support for a longer school year, saying long summer vacations lead to students forgetting much of what they learned the previous year. And though some students don't like the idea of another month in school, many parents and students told the Daily News they think it's a good idea. One parent said, "They need all the education they can get," while a 16-year-old said, "One extra month wouldn't kill me. I hate homework, but I love [President] Obama, so if he says another month, then so be it." Bloomberg's reform plan doesn't call for an extension, and education advocates say states may have a hard time affording a longer school year.
Longer school year or not, Obama outlined what may be the reason so many students fall behind during the summers: lack of support from parents. He said, "No matter how good the teacher, if the kid's coming home from school, and the parent isn't checking to see if they are doing their homework or watching TV, that's going to be a problem." All the reform in the world won't fix homes where education isn't a priority.