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Who Knew?

By Matthew Yglesias

"Who Knew?"

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I think it may be a condition of employment at The American Prospect to say only bad things about The Hamilton Project, but this business about Summer Opportunity Scholarships sure is interesting. They note that schoolkids’ academic skills deteriorate over America’s lengthy summer vacations, which makes sense once you think about it. They also note that the impact of this deterioration is especially large on low-SES kids, which I suppose also makes sense once you think about it. So they propose “the creation of Summer Opportunity Scholarships (SOS) to finance summer school or other summer enrichment programs” for poor kids which, once again, makes sense to me.

On another level, of course, it would make sense to revisit our national commitment to very long summer vacations, a policy which as best I can tell is grounded in the belief that kids’ labor is needed on the farm during those months. Budget constraints are obviously backing up blind adherence to tradition here, and I really loved my time at Camp Winnebago, but along with being dubious education policy this has to be a huge pain-in-the-ass to single parents and dual-income families, especially those of modest means. Certainly combining the world’s shortest vacations for adults with the world’s longest vacations for kids doesn’t seem reasonable at all. Does crime go up during the summer months? It must, right. Google’s not giving me a quick answer to that question.

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