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Year-round school plan generates heated debate

Editor: The purpose of this letter is to cast my vote in favor of the 12-month school year. One advantage of the year-round schedule would be more frequent breaks throughout the year. Perhaps the schedule would be six to eight weeks of school with two weeks of vacation. The only negative factor would be the radical change from the traditional school year. Students, teachers and administration all would have to make that adjustment.

The nine-month school year is outdated. It goes back to an earlier America that mainly was an agrarian society. Children had to be off in the summer to work in the fields. Obviously that no longer is necessary. Three months away is much too long. Much of what is learned is lost during the summer.

To compete in the modern world, Americans must close the gap between our American system and that of other countries. In Japan, for example, the average school year is 240 days as compared with our 180.

The 12-month school year would make more efficient use of the billions of dollars invested in school facilities, books and equipment. It is a waste to let those buildings sit vacant for three months.

Finally, in many inner-city neighborhoods where broken families are common, the school represents the most stable element in the lives of many children. By having these children in school 12 months of the year, hopefully their lives would be enriched and pointed in the right direction.

Jennifer Lawrence

Clearwater Central Catholic

Editor: Okay, let's get serious for a minute. It seems to me that the only reason they want a year-round school is to keep the kids off the streets during the summer so less mischief will happen. I truly don't think that the public cares that much about us teen-agers.

Can you imagine going to school in June, July and August? You might sweat to death. With today's dress codes and the air-conditioning malfunctioning, it would be one serious dry spell.

I think a full year might have some benefits, but you and I know it's not so we won't have to review what we forgot.

Greg Knight

East Lake High

Editor: I would really consider having a year-round school schedule.

It would be a bummer not having summers off, but I could get used to it. Plus, we wouldn't forget much stuff. Cool concept.

Domenique Jacoves

Largo High

Editor: Summer vacation is highly coveted here in Florida, and a two-week break during January or February cannot be substituted for the gorgeous beach-going days of June and July. The numerous two-week breaks throughout the year would not be as relaxing as summer vacation because students would have to concentrate on their studies during the break.

Students who need to earn money for college would not be able to and would find difficulty arranging jobs for two-week periods.

Year-round school also interferes with athletic programs. Schools cannot participate in athletic programs if some students are in school and others are on their break.

While the year-round school program serves more students, I believe it creates unnecessary problems that may lead students to seek escape through dropping out of school. The concept needs to be more carefully reviewed.

Kelly Ruggles

Largo High

Editor: Year-round school? Get serious. What's the big idea even suggesting such an unthinkable thing?

Some of us can barely handle school with our summer vacation. But, without it? I believe that if you take away our summer vacation, the dropout rate will go higher.

I always believe that if something works, why change it?

Jennifer M. Comerford

Countryside High

Editor: I am concerned about the proposition to extend school to year-round with shorter and more frequent vacations.

Looking from an objective perspective, I can see some advantages that might appeal to adults, but from a student's point of view, they really are not advantages at all.

I think that those people who haven't been students in a public school for more than 10 years shouldn't be able to make that type of decision.

Summers for many students are the most magical time of the year. I know from experience that without going to camp for seven weeks or visiting my grandparents for two weeks each summer, I'd feel as if a very special part of my life were taken away.

I went to a Junior Scholars program at Miami University this summer. I earned seven college credits in six weeks. If the summer vacation were not at least six weeks long I wouldn't have been able to get these credits. I would have missed a challenging and really exciting opportunity to get an education away from high school and find out about college life. So would many other students.

Don't take away our summer vacation. Everyone needs a chance to relax and become involved in something other than school for a couple of months a year.

Debbie Satinoff

Tarpon Springs High

Editor: I think year-round school is a good idea. That way the first six weeks of school wouldn't be such a waste of time. Also it's easier to get "back in the swing of things." When you're off for two months you get lazy, and when school resumes, you don't want to do anything.

Year-round school also has its negatives. A lot of kids go to camp, on vacations and to work. This proposal would mean no time for those things. And then there's the Pinellas County absence policy, and that would have to be changed, too.

I guess year-round schooling probably is better for the kids and teachers. However, the parents would be inconvenienced, except for one thing: They wouldn't go crazy during a two-month period, hearing, "I'm bored!"

Tara McMahan

Palm Harbor Preparatory

Editor: As a 17-year-old member of this Florida society, I look around at what my responsibilities will be this time next year. At 18, I will be able to exercise my right to vote, which includes choosing the person I want to govern Florida.

This year's prospects, I must admit, don't excite me too much. However, one good point on the side of Lawton Chiles is his supposed plan to instigate a year-round school system.

The beneficial elements, such as smaller breaks throughout the year so students will retain more and the fact that more material can be covered by the teachers, outweigh the poor excuses of this ultimately lazy society.

I believe year-round schooling is just the type of program our future leaders need to better equip them to lead in the future. That is, of course, unless Mr. Bush and today's leaders find even nine months of education too costly to our nation.

Let's hope by the time I get to vote for that office, it won't be too late to save our children and our society as a whole.

Betsy Bethel

Dunedin High

Editor: People should stop thinking of summer vacations and sleeping late and start thinking of preparing us for the future.

Leslie Kaylor

Countryside High

Editor: I am opposed to year-round schooling. I feel that most students would not maintain the high level of learning needed to justify the cost.

Many borderline students no doubt would drop out, creating problems we may not be prepared to handle.

Teachers' salaries would have to be increased to compensate for the additional time. A pool of substitutes would have to be maintained. The wear and tear on the buildings and grounds would cause maintenance problems.

While I round out my education striving toward a productive future, I still want to be a teen-ager, enjoying school activities and a summer day on a Florida beach.

Julie Tierney

Tarpon Springs High

Editor: I guess you can say that in a way I am strongly for it because I hate summers, period. To me it seems as if you just vegetate and hang out all of the time with friends. I'd rather spend that time constantly learning and furthering my knowledge.

Ericka Simmons

Largo High

Editor: I am against year-round schooling. It would greatly inconvenience many people, and I feel kids would begin to hate and resent school even more.

It will help students memorize what they have learned. It will make better use of the school. And it will allow more students to attend one school. But what about summer jobs and summer camps and all of the other fun things to do during the summer?

This should be the prime of our lives. Why should we spend it going to school and working the whole time? I know they are only trying to do what's best for us, but hey, give us a break!

Joy Stout

East Lake High

Editor: Students live for the summer. If we do not have a summer, there will be nothing to look forward to, and people will drop out.

It would cause a problem for sports. How can you play sports and have to think about school all the time every day?

Johnny Kouremetis

Tarpon Springs High

Editor: To me the concept is just unbearable. Things have been like this for years. Why can't people just leave them alone?

Joel DeMeza

Largo High

Editor: While discussing this issue with my peers, I have discovered that many teen-agers have selfish attitudes. Numerous teen-agers are complaining that they would no longer be able to hold summer jobs. The bottom line is if you do not receive an education, you may not even possess a job later in life.

On a global level, the American student will go to school 185 days of the year, the second lowest number for leading countries.

I feel that year-round schooling would be a step in the right direction toward a better-educated America.

Dara Zakrzewski

Tarpon Springs High

Editor: I think schools should not be year-round. My opinion is that the dropout rate would be higher.

If school were year-round, the child who works during the summer would not be able to earn as much money to pay for his car, and that probably would make him drop out.

Then, some people say children would hold more information if they had school year-round. I don't. They probably would get brain-fried. The School Board should leave the schools as they are.

George B. Walker

Dunedin High

Editor: Having school year-round would not be a concept that I would enjoy. Those students who enjoy school and don't want their minds to decay during the long summer months may attend summer school.

Jennifer Kraus

Countryside High

Editor: I believe that school should become a year-round event. Longer vacations should become part of the school schedule on a regular basis. Continual education possibly could increase SAT and ACT scores for the majority of the nation's high school students.

The summer no longer would symbolize a two-month vacation and summer jobs. Summer no longer would present a problem for working mothers, either. Child care would be provided by keeping children in the schools.

Summer vacation does leave a gap in the learning process. Year-round school could increase the retention of knowledge by all students.

Jennifer L. Boyle

Tarpon Springs High

Editor: I see too many bad points about school year-round. The most important thing is that most teen-agers during the summer get jobs or have the fun of going to camp. Teen-agers need to work to get money for cars and college funds and just to have a little spending money.

I don't think year-round school will work.

Vince Byrd

Countryside High

Editor: I personally do not like the idea of year-round school. It has been done the same way for so many years, why change now?

If we had year-round school, what would happen to those who come from a separated family? Many children spend summers with their other parent or, at least, go for about three weeks to see them. Who would want to spend about $200 for a round-trip ticket to stay for only about a week?

School all year causes a problem for those with summer jobs, too. Many work during the summer for spending money or the even more-important cars and college.

I do not think having the summer off interferes with your education, either. Everyone needs a break for some rest and relaxation.

Stephanie O'Brien

East Lake High

Editor: I believe that a yearlong school system would become a burden for most students. The "rest" period from June to August has become a greatly enjoyed ritual for students.

The summer, however, is not a useless time of the year. For high school students, employment brings for them a welcome change of pace and an opportunity for gaining insight into the business world and becoming acquainted with paying taxes. With a yearlong school system, full-time jobs for students would become extinct and many opportunities left hidden behind closed doors.

This new proposal would end the days of summer camps and curtail long-awaited family vacations. Most important of all, our American pastime would be disrupted. What would happen to Little League baseball?

Speaking from experience, I believe that a year-long school system would end the days of "kids just being kids."

Matthew Granese

Clearwater Central Catholic

Editor: My first impression was, "No way," but now that I think about it, it doesn't seem like a bad idea. I think a break every few months would cut down on the truancy. We should definitely try it.

Quynh Tran

Largo High

Editor: I am strongly opposed to the idea of having year-round school. Year-round school means no more summer jobs to earn college tuition, and summer vacations will be a pleasure of the past. Because of the increased time in school, I think the dropout rate will increase. Increased hours mean increased pressure and stress for the students.

Jon Krane

Tarpon Springs High

Editor: I just moved to Florida last year from California. In California, they already have begun to change to year-round school. The elementary and middle schools had begun, but it had not yet been implemented on the high school level. This caused problems for the families who had children in grade school and high school because their vacation times did not correspond.

Another problem I see is in athletics in high schools. How will someone on vacation during a sport participate while others are in school? He or she would have to come to school every day for practice and would never really get a vacation.

Case Korpan

Countryside High

Editor: I think that summer vacations should be shortened, but only by a month. Give the students two months off in the summer. Take the extra month and divide it up throughout the year. Maybe add a week to Christmas vacation and spring break, and more individual days off during the year. This would cut down on the loss of continuity during summer and give more breathers during the year.

Brian Walker

Pinellas Technical Education

Center

Editor: My opinion on the year-round school plan is quite negative. I can understand how a student can forget some of the things taught during the school year, but the vacation is severely needed. It gives the children time to be kids.

If we have no summer vacations, there will be no time for us to get job experience because all of our time will be put into our studies. I feel the dropout rate will increase greatly, and grades will drop.

It is my belief that young minds should not be pressured year-round. The kids need the break because constant strain will make the kids despise school and school-related activities.

The future is at stake here, and we are trying to force our younger generations into growing up faster than they should.

Jamie L. Bailey

Tarpon Springs High

Editor: This idea of year-round school is not a very good one. One reason is that students would not have vacations with their friends. Another is that all the camps students go to during the summer, such as football, soccer, swimming, music or religious camps, would not be possible to attend.

I do realize there is a problem with the school system concerning the over-abundance of students. Believe me, I can see it in my school now. Therefore, I suggest the money the school system is entitled to from the lottery is transferred to the school system to build new schools. This will cut the school population down greatly.

Charlotte Boyd

Countryside High

Editor: Students today can hardly handle the 10-month program, and you want them to go a whole year? Kids become tired and overworked, and they need a break.

Plus, not having summers could be an inconvenience to those of us who have summer jobs. What about the kids whose parents are divorced and have joint custody and they have to go to the other parent during the summer?

Charity Keen

Tarpon Springs High

Editor: I'm in favor of a year-round school schedule because you would not have to wait a long time for a few weeks of vacation, and at the end of the vacation, you would not hate going back to school.

But don't you think there would be more absences due to the different vacation times? If two friends have different vacations, don't you think they would like to have their free time together?

Mike Brown

Pinellas Technical

Education Center

Editor: I like the idea of year-round schooling where you go to school for about six weeks and then get about two weeks off. I think it would help prevent loss of interest.

Right now we're in our seventh week of school and have had one day off. We still have about 10 weeks until Christmas vacation.

I know a lot of people are just plain sick of school and have lost interest already. I think now would be a perfect time to have to take a break. It could bring a lot of people back to school refreshed and ready to learn.

Karin Wells

Countryside High

Editor: I think year-round school is not such a good idea for those who play sports. What's going to happen to the teams?

For example, I play volleyball. Half the team is going to be playing and the other half on vacation.

I feel you shouldn't fix something that isn't broken.

Maria Constanzo

Largo High

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