What kids do over the summer matters...
It is a great, long time for kids to -
- Explore new passions
- Make friends from different places
- Get active and stay healthy
- Catch up on the last school year and get a head start on the next
- Learn in new ways, in different settings
But learning losses over the summer add up
- Students typically lose about 2 months' worth of math skills over the summer. Low income kids also lose that much in reading, while wealthier peers are likely to gain. Source
- Those effects are cumulative and explain a lot of the achievement gap between low income and high income families. Source
... but too many kids miss out.
- Only 1/3rd of kids across the nation took part in a summer learning program in 2013, even though 51% of families want their children to take part in one. Source
- Program costs average $250 a week, well above what many families can afford. Source
- 58% of the kids who applied to but were rejected from a free summer program as part of a national study on their effectiveness were not able to find another summer program to attend. Source
- Children from lower income families have spent 6,000 fewer hours engaged in formal and informal out-of-school learning by the age of twelve than their peers from well-to-do families. Source
To help more students access summer opportunities, we need to better learn where and why they miss out...
Learning about student access is critical to:
Helping more young people access existing opportunities
- Better direct existing summer resources toward most underserved communities
- Understand obstacles to attending summer programs so we (schools, summer programs, departments of education and city governments) can fix them.
- Identify parts of the community that are missing out on summer opportunities to improve outreach efforts
Expanding support for greater summer opportunities
- Clarify need for summer programs to support advocacy efforts
- Increase accountability for summer program opportunities
- Demonstrate commitment to summer opportunities by working to understand them - what you measure reveals what you care about
... and we do not currently know enough
- No city or state in the United States knows in any given year how many, where, and why young people did or did not participate in summer programs or activities
- Occasional national surveys find high parent interest in summer opportunities, but do not explore challenges to accessing opportunities or have specific enough data to be actionable in communities Source
- City specific assessments of summer learning opportunities are valuable for highlighting areas for program improvement, but do not identify where and why young people may not have access these opportunities Examples