SEATTLE - With kids back in school, summer may seem like a distant
memory - but teachers can tell which students got extra help over the
summer by seeing who is struggling now with math and reading.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray is the only person in Congress who will
receive an award this week from the National Summer Learning Association (NASL) for her support of summer learning and job training programs for older kids.
Jeff Smink, NASL vice-president of policy, says it takes
money and commitment to keep students from falling into what is
commonly known as the "summer slide."
"Obviously, when they go back to school in the fall, they're farther
behind than when they left in June. Consequences are particularly
harmful for low-income kids. They actually get hit harder by the
'summer slide,' especially in reading."
Smink says students lose an average of two months' worth of reading and
math skills during the summer months if they are not encouraged to keep
learning. Supervised activities also help keep them safe, he adds. Last
month, Murray introduced a bill to set up training programs for
students in industries that are in need of skilled workers.
In some areas of the country, summer programs simply shut down this
year for lack of funding... but Jeff Smink with the Association says
that's not the case in Washington, thanks in part to Sen. Murray.
"This year, it's particularly important for us to recognize people that
have sort-of gone against the wave of cutting programs, and actually
investing in summer programs, at a time when many are being cut."
The bill mentioned is S 1532, the "Providing Innovation to 21st Century Careers Act."