Holmes: Send them all to summer school

If we teach our children that school is a prison, then summer school is extra punishment for the worst offenders. The sting of humiliation and failure adds to the pain of having to go to school when your friends are free.

That’s too bad, because summer school isn’t a punishment, it’s an opportunity. In terms of education, summer vacation isn’t a well-deserved rest; it’s the time students forget much of what they learned.


Summer vacation persists because of tradition, inertia and the desire of some businesses for seasonal labor. The school calendar may have agrarian roots, but there’s nothing natural about it. The good lord may have decreed that plants sprout in the spring and are harvested in the fall, but he never said kids were supposed to stop learning in the summer. —Holmes: Send them all to summer school (Daily News Trivia)

Sheesh. When I used to teach a two-semester freshman writing course, I was shocked at how much backsliding there was over Christmas.

After I returned the first assignment in January and said something like, “This is not high school anymore, and I won’t expect to have to repeat material that should still be in your notebooks,” the next assignments were much better.