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New State Education Standard Explores Ways to Expand Access to Summer Learning

Alexandria, VA – The National Association of State Boards of Education today released the new issue of its journal, The State Education Standard, themed “Summer Learning: Engaging All Students.” The issue focuses on how and why state boards of education should increase the breadth and depth of students’ summer learning opportunities.

Children lose ground in learning if they have do not build skills over the summer months—teachers on average spend a month of the new school year re-teaching old material. Summer learning loss is most acute for low-income youth. For this reason, addressing summer learning policies offers a one-two punch: State policymakers who increase the quality of summer programs and the number of students they serve can make headway on narrowing the achievement gap in their states.

And the time to plan is now, argue Standard authors—well before the last bell of the school year rings.

In the cover story “Accelerating Student Success,” Sarah Pitcock and Bob Seidel of the National Summer Learning Association highlight the important role state policymakers play in developing a vision for summer learning, funding it, and making sure summer programs align with other education objectives.

Another article by RAND’s Catherine H. Augustine and Jennifer Sloan McCombs look at initiatives in six urban districts that yield lessons on how a state’s districts can get a handle on planning, curriculum, teacher selection and training, and funding. And Learning Forward’s Fred Brown offers a straightforward recounting of all the reasons a focus on summer learning is good for students and teachers.

“We have known for a long time that students’ lack of access to summer learning costs in terms of time spent relearning material taught in the previous school year,” says NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson. “Now more states are realizing they cannot make headway on bridging the achievement gap if they do not first focus on making engaging learning opportunities available to all students in the summer months.”

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