Jun 6, 2021 - Health

Families opting for summer school as nation re-opens

Students wait in line to enter a New York City public high school in New York.

Students wait in line to enter a New York City public high school in New York. Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The number of students signing up for summer school is expected to be greater than ever before, with the Biden administration requiring states to devote some of the federal pandemic relief packages to these programs, the Associated Press reports.

The big picture: Families are enrolling their children in academic-focused summer programs to catch up and stay on track after the last 18 months.

  • Some educators are concerned with their school districts' abilities to cater to the growing student participation.
  • Though the Department of Education has said it is too early to know how many students will sign up, the number is more than likely to exceed the 3.3 million who went to summer school in 2019, per AP.
  • In Montgomery, Ala., more than 12,000 of the school system’s 28,000 students signed up before the June 1 deadline. Typically about 2,500 attend summer school.

What they're saying: "It’s an understatement to say the needs are greater this year,” said Kalman Hettleman, an education policy analyst in Maryland.

  • “It’s not realistic to think that summer school, no matter how good and intense, will close all the gaps because many of these kids had gaps before the pandemic,” Hettleman added. “But it will help, and it will at least give them a fighting chance if there are intense interventions during the regular school year.”
  • “I learn better in school than online. Being in a classroom where a teacher is present is so much better than waiting hours for an email back from your teacher,” Taylor Dennington told the wire service.
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