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ERIC Number: EJ930041
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May-18
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Quality of Summer Teachers Examined
Sawchuk, Stephen
Education Week, v30 n31 p1, 14 May 2011
A hefty body of evidence documents the phenomenon of "summer learning loss," but consensus on the attributes of effective summer intervention, especially when it comes to access to high-quality teaching for students most at risk of falling behind, is only starting to emerge. Now, though, a handful of districts are beginning to wrestle with the topic, thanks in part to an emphasis on both teacher quality and expanded learning in the 2009 federal economic-stimulus legislation. For the upcoming summer session, which will serve approximately 20,000 students, Houston officials plan to recruit top teachers using information from the district's value-added system. Several other districts, such as Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and Providence, Rhode Island, have also begun efforts to make summer school engaging for students and attractive to teachers, largely through better alignment of academic and enrichment opportunities. But as school leaders acknowledge, changing the conversation about summer school is still a heavy lift. Traditionally, observers say, programming in summer school has not been well thought out to give at-risk students supplemental access to the best teachers or to higher-quality instruction. Researchers cite the vicissitudes of the budgeting process as one reason why a focus on issues of high-quality teaching is rare: Many districts are simply trying to cobble together the funding to keep summer school running at all. There is no federal funding stream specifically devoted to summer school, although funds from a variety of federal programs can be tapped for those purposes, such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an after-school program, and Title I, which provides districts with funds to serve disadvantaged children. Putting a focus on the issue of summer school instructional quality is not simple because of the challenge posed by recruiting staff for district-run programs. Most teachers work on nine- or 10-month contracts, so teaching in summer school is a voluntary enterprise paid by the hour at a rate that can fall below that in the regular school year contract. Summer school selections also bear the hallmarks of federal, state, and local rules. Those district-run programs financed under the Title I program, for instance, must staff all core academic classes with teachers who meet the "highly qualified" designation under the No Child Left Behind law.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A