School’s Out! Learning shouldn’t be!
Summer is finally here! I can remember sitting in my desk in school looking out the window wondering when I would be allowed to throw off the shackles of homeroom and homework, and frolic into the days that I’d fondly recall later in my life. As a child, summer was magical. It was the time felt I should be able to do as I pleased and if I had my way, it would have been filled with video games, basketball, and television. Thankfully, my mother had a different plan for me. Each summer, I was carted off to spend my time in structured activities ranging from sports camps to summer reading challenges. It was only many years later that I learned my mother’s parenting was ahead of the curve in stopping “summer setback.”
For more than two decades, educational researchers have noticed a pattern: during the summer, Black and poor children tend to have their academic growth stunted and in many cases have their educational achievement rolled back. While all kids fall back some in learning during the summer months, poor and Black kids are particularly susceptible to greater fall offs in achievement. This is known as “summer setback” or summer learning loss. Summer learning loss is most often tied to a family’s socioeconomic status (particularly things like income and wealth) and what activities their children do during the summer months.