WHY IT MATTERS
Texas youth camps, which encompass Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire, Y-camps, faith-based and independent camps, guide the physical, emotional, social and spiritual development of Texas youth. For many children, summer is their one opportunity to thrive in an environment outside of home and school. Youth camps also provide meaningful employment to college-age students and school district employees. For many, these full-time jobs pay for college and supplement family income.
Texas derives its revenue, including education dollars, from sales tax income generated in part from a robust travel and tourism industry, making the summer months in Texas a precious commodity. Texas’ many rivers, lakes and beaches provide recreation and employment during the summer months that cannot be replicated during other times of the year. Amusement and water parks have invested in Texas, hiring and training Texas teens and young adults for summer jobs. These businesses open June 1 to accommodate travelers from other states, and their workforce must be available to meet those opening dates.
According to Dr. Ray Perryman (2017), the CEO of an economic research and analysis firm based in Waco, when multiplier effects are considered, the total economic losses of shifting the school start date one week earlier in August includes over $1.0 billion in aggregate spending and $543.2 million in output (gross product) each year, as well as 7,506 jobs.
TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION
Allows public school students to take duel credit and advanced classes at colleges and universities.
Allows teachers access to higher education opportunities.
Allows families involved in higher education and public education to take advantage of travel opportunities during the summer months.
ENRICHMENT & RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
Allows students and teachers to participate in UIL activities and competitions.
Allows students and teachers to participate in summer-related activities like camps, little league, swim teams, and other activities that occur only in the summer.
Allows students and teachers to participate in summer travel and exchange programs with peers in other states and countries.
Allows students, teachers, counselors, and other education staff the opportunity to accept impactful employment for a longer period of time over the summer.
Many students and families rely on this income to pay for college and/or supplement family income.
EXPANDED LEARNING & MAKE-UP TIME
Allows minutes to be added to the school day, providing for more instruction while students are already at school.
Allows for more opportunities for virtual learning to be utilized to provide additional instruction.
Allows for more opportunities for struggling students to receive one on one tutoring during the summer months.
Allows staff development days throughout the school year to be clearly designated on the calendar year to year.
Allows school district staff to participate in additional educational courses.
Allows school districts that combine these options and lengthen the instructional day by 15 minutes to gain 3 weeks worth of make-up time without lengthening the school year.
Addressing "Learning Loss"
When children attend school is not indicative of how well they learn. What happens while they are in the classroom, and what they are exposed to in the world, are critical pieces to an exceptional education.
Paul T. Von Hippel (University of Texas at Austin) and Jennifer Graves (Universidad Automoma de Madrid) set out to find the truths behind the myths of balanced calendars by studying nearly one thousand schools across the nation. The study, found here, found that these balanced calendars don't actually raise the academic achievements of children. Rather, it makes the lives of working parents more difficult, along with the teachers in the school.
Rice University studied Houston ISD's Apollo Program, which added 10 days to the school year as a way to address summer learning loss. The critique of this program asserted that only students who were below grade level were impacted. These students could be better served by receiving more specialized and individualized instruction during the summer months. Additional days were subsequently dropped from the HISD calendar as they did not contribute to heightened achievement.
Charles Eliot, Harvard University's 21st president, stated, "I have a conviction that a few weeks spent in a well-organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work." Texas youth go through key social, emotional and mental growth during the summer months through quality family time, summer camps, summer sports, and other extracurriculars that can only be participated in during the summer months.