Jill Barshay, The Hechinger Report |
Summer school may seem like a common sense way to help children make up for the months of lost school time during the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s just one problem. Research studies done before the pandemic show that summer school usually doesn’t accomplish its purpose of raising reading or math achievement.
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg urged President Joe Biden to push every school in the country to stay open this summer in a March 2021 Washington Post opinion piece. Governors around the country from Virginia to California are endorsing summer school, as has the powerful teachers union leader Randi Weingarten. More than $1.2 billion of the $1.9 trillion Covid relief package signed into law on March 11 is specifically earmarked for summer school and many policymakers are urging that billions more in federal and state funds be spent to open schools this summer.
“Generally, summer programs are not effective because they don’t really engage young people and they’re not run well,” said Jean B. Grossman, an economist at MDRC, a nonprofit research organization, and Princeton University, who has evaluated summer school programs. “It looks like summer school should help but the research is a mixed bag.”
At the link, a review of the research…