Summer School Programs Stop the ‘Summer Slide,’ Improve Michigan’s Economic Standing

Students across Michigan celebrated the official end of the 2022-23 school year recently, but it’s important to note that school doesn’t necessarily have to be out for the summer.

Summer school programs are a great opportunity for young people to catch up on lost learning and prevent the so-called “summer slide,” where a portion of school learning is lost during the summer months. 

In fact, one recent study using data from over half a million U.S. students in grades 2 – 9 found that students on average lost between 25 percent to 30 percent of their school-year learning over the summer. Some Michigan school districts have even implemented, or are considering, a balanced school calendar where shorter instructional breaks are scheduled more frequently throughout the year rather than taking a long summer break.

The “summer slide” is real, which is why summer school programs can be so helpful. And when lost learning during the pandemic is taken into account, the need for summer school programs becomes all the more important. 

Thankfully, Michigan has taken a proactive approach to emphasizing summer school opportunities for our children. In 2021, Michigan became one of only nine states to promote system-based strategies to improve summer learning. 

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) launched the nine-state network to assist state education agencies and partners in using data for more effective summer programs, advancing summer program quality, and promoting model summer learning practices.

The Michigan Department of Education and its partners also are working to inspire “school districts and community-based organizations working hand in hand to have a lasting impact on whole child growth and success during the summer months and beyond.”

Michigan’s Out-of-School Time and Summer Learning uses federal and state funding to provide before-school, after-school, and summer learning grants that expand learning opportunities that include STEM and literacy. More than 600,000 students have benefited from Michigan’s Out-of-School Time and Summer Learning programs since 2001.

Unfortunately, more needs to be done because our kids are still reeling from learning that was lost during the pandemic. Some K-12 students lost as much as a year’s worth of learning during Gov. Whitmer’s extended school closures due to the pandemic, according to The Education Trust – Midwest

This is unacceptable. A strong and effective K-12 school system will help Michigan become a top 10 state and give our children and grandchildren a better opportunity to land good-paying jobs. Please contact your local legislator to urge them to allow for more summer school programs to make up for lost learning.