Thursday, July 2, 2009
Summer "brain drain"
This article from the Washington Post is nothing new. Although it's nice to show parents and other educators some citations on what it means.
Personally, I never really minded getting summer homework, or taking summer school (for enrichment and for fun, as opposed to remedial). It was something to do. It is cheap - some junior colleges accept high school students for free tuition, you just have to buy the books and other supplies - relative to expensive camps or trips to Disneyland. Which, also personally, is over-rated anyway.
The fact that students from low SES families have a more profound brain drain than students from middle/upper-class families is also nothing new. I heard on the news that public libraries are booked solid, seeing record numbers recently due to the economy and all that. The negative spin of course is that libraries are much pickier about the services they can provide. Will they hold a free internet course or buy new books?
I see it as a good thing. Libraries are such an awesome resource for the community. I would rather see more, and better quality, libraries than another professional sports stadium in any city, any country. This influx of public library attendance brings a lot more exposure to something that isn't always utilized advantageously.
In any case, I believe it is more effective to develop the necessity of life-long, constant learning. Which includes summer activities. Not that it won't make me assign summer homework for all my students, both the in-coming and out-going class. It seems like more work for me, but considering what I want to achieve in my classroom, it's a worthwhile investment.
And of course as always, it's always nice to see students taking the initiative in their own education as well.