LANSING – State Representative Andy Schor (D-Lansing) introduced House Bill 4982 today making it easier for Michigan schools to move to a year-round schedule.
Schor said, “It is well-known and proven that students lose what they have learned in the three months that they are away from school in the summer. It takes at least a month or two (September and October) for students to regain what they lose over the summer, which means that 30 to 60 of our mandated 175 days are used for catch-up and not learning new material. Add to that the fact that at-risk children don’t have the availability or ability to attend educational camps in the summer, and that makes a recipe for failure and low-performing schools.”
Schor’s legislation will create a $10 million fund available to at-risk school districts who choose to convert schools to all-year. Currently, older school buildings lack the proper ventilation and air conditioning to help students and teachers alike bear the hot summer months. The fund will be used for one-time expenses such as installing air conditioning in older school buildings. The legislation will not change the state mandated hours or days, and will allow for a more balanced calendar of time off throughout the year.
“School districts should have the flexibility to decide their calendar,” said Schor. “If locally elected school boards want to convert some or all schools to year-round, this legislation will help them to accomplish that goal.”
Supporting this legislation is Dan DeGrow, former Republican Senate Majority Leader and current St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) superintendent. “Study after study has validated what common sense tells us: Students who are away from the classroom for an extended break during the summer forget some of what they learned the previous year,” DeGrow said. “That’s a problem for all kids, but it compounds itself into a huge problem for those children at greatest risk. We should do anything we can to help schools overcome the obstacles to offering year-round school. This bill will help do that.”
Schor said, “All-year school is a great tool that we can use to help fix so-called ‘priority schools’ and schools with lower achieving students. In the recent school debate, we have been challenged to come up with alternatives, and this is one that I see as very beneficial in my school district. I hope that this legislation will have a hearing soon, and I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this important bill.”