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Board Member Supports Year-Round School Schedule

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - If one Dallas Independent School District (DISD) board member has his way students will move to a year-round school schedule.

The idea comes from new DISD board member Mike Morath.

According to Morath, research shows kids from wealthy and middle-class families generally continue their education during the summer months, with tutoring assistance, summer programs and educational trips.

But, Morath said, that isn’t the case for all Dallas children. “With poor kids unfortunately the opposite happens. Not only does their learning slow down, they actually regress. They sort of not just forget stuff what they’ve learned but they actually loose capability over the summer.”

Noting the educational impact on children from low-income families is significant because, “In Dallas 88-percent of our kids are on the free and reduced lunch program,” explained Morath. “Basically 88-percent of our kids are poor, so we have a very large problem with the summer learning loss.”

Morath is asking administrators to look at the benefits of possibly lengthening the school year because he says it will better prepare students to not only compete in a national economy but in a global one.

“Were still [offering] 40 days of less instruction per year for our students compared to the students in these Asian nations that are all growing so rapidly,” said Morath. “If we want to have kids prepared for the modern economy we can’t handicap them by providing them with the equivalent of 30-percent less instruction over 12 years.”

In 1991, there were 24 DISD campuses that held school year-round, but with more breaks. The optional year-round plan was suspended 10 years later.

If the school year were extended into July, the additional 20 days of school would cost some $80 million.

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