The Child Care Crisis is Killing the Economy — Year-Round School Could Fix It
Summer is upon us which means kids across the country are out of school.
This is a notoriously challenging time of year for parents. Many can’t afford full-day child care let alone sending their kiddos off to sleepaway camp.
From an economic perspective, the problem runs much deeper. The summer slump at the office is real, but productivity doesn’t fall off just because workers are ready to hit the beach. Parents who have to worry about how they’re going to take care of their kids during the summer months aren’t fully engaged in their work.
There are long-term consequences for students too and it isn’t necessarily about unequal access to summer enrichment programs. As a society, we don’t have a safety net to prevent vulnerable kids from falling behind. For millions of kids, school is their safety net.
Forget about the notion that summer enrichment activities are meant to help students get ahead. For 12 weeks every summer kids in lower- and middle-income households lose their safety net and the source of stability that comes with it.
A novel solution to the problems created by summer break, of course, is a year-round school system. It’s not so much about forcing kids to spend more time in the classroom as it is about providing kids and parents more structure to their days. Instead of concentrating time out of school in the summer months, breaks could simply be redistributed in smaller — more manageable — intervals throughout the year.
This essay is going to talk about the economic impact of summer break. Specifically, how the season financial gains generated by summer vacationers might not necessarily outweigh the long-term costs of keeping kids out of school for such a long stretch of time each summer.
Summer break might be good for the tourism economy. But it isn’t helping everyone.
It’s not an accident that family vacations and summer break coincide. Many American families go on trips to places like Disney World during the summer months when it’s more expensive, crowded, and unbearably hot. They choose to vacation during an otherwise unappealing time because each…