Is Summer Vacation the Enemy?

If you're anything like most Americans, you associate the summer with feelings of creativity and liberation and the school year with misery and hard work. And its precisely the "school is work, summer is play" philosophy that's gotten our kids into trouble, according to this week's Time.

Whereas many of the world's children attend school for far longer (by as much as four weeks in some places), ours sit idle lounging poolside—or, more likely, perched in front of a screen for vast swaths of the three-month holiday. Called the summer slide, while all kids lose some of what they acquired during the school year, it's especially perilous for poor kids, who often lack the resources to afford expensive enrichment activities.

Since extended summer breaks are a holdover when ours was an agrarian society, with children used to tend the fields and help harvest the crops, many are pushing for a longer school year or an extended school day. But is asking a kid to spend more time in a failing school really going to make much of a difference?

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