March 4, 2013: Summer school programs would lose categorical funding and would be required to rely on the local control funding formula in Gov. Brown's proposed '13-'14 budget, leaving summer school programs to compete with the other 34 programs losing categorical funding.
According to Susan Frey for EdSource, a growing body of research shows that a long summer without any academic involvement contributes to the achievement gap between students whose parents can afford summer camps, classes and activities and those whose parents cannot. As Jeff Smink for The New York Times has reported,this learning loss is cumulative, summer after summer. It has a tremendous impact on students’ success, including high school completion, post-secondary education and work force preparedness.
The June 2011 RAND Corporation report titled Making Summer Count emphasized that Summer learning loss disproportionately affects low-income students. The report also found that Summer Learning Loss contributes substantially to the achievement gap, and students who attend Summer programs have better outcomes than similar peers who don't attend these programs. The report also found that providing a high-quality Summer learning program can be costly and add to the financial strains on school districts. It was estimated that the cost can vary between $1,109 and $2,801 per child for a six-hour-per-day, five week program.
If schools gain local control over their funding and use the funding for another program it will be necessary for the schools to partner with outside agencies to make summer learning programs possible.
According to California's Children ,in January, state Superintendent Tom Torlakson urged eligible organizations to apply to become a meal site over the summer through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)." Later adding, "During summer... low-income children often miss out on the daily nutritious meals and the intellectual stimulation they get at school and...end up lagging behind their peers when school starts..." said Torlakson. "... it’s important for places...like camps and community centers, to sign up to become summer meal sites..."
When California's Children asked a representative from The California Department of Education if more people had signed up for SFSP this year they answered in an email that they hadn't experienced increase in applicants. They also clarified that those results were typical for this time of year, emphasizing that the deadline to apply is mid-June. For more information on the program click here.
Many families rely on summer learning programs as a safe and fun place to learn during the summer. The programs also serve as a refuge for kids who aren't able to attend camps or who don't have parents around to take care of them. The end of summer school programs in some districts will increase the achievement gap.
Written by Taylor McCulloch.