The superintendent of a certain Texas school district has a rather unique way of dealing with the hundreds of students who did not do their summer homework:
Last year 1,100, seventh through 12th grade students in the Lancaster Independent School District were suspended for not doing their summer reading assignments.See more (from another source) here.
This year that number was less than half, with only 519 facing suspension. That’s good news, considering pre-K through 12th grade had required reading.
“My son had one book to read,” said parent, Stormy South. Her son Jacob is a 7th grader in the Lancaster School District. He is one of the 4,200 students who did his summer reading assignment on time.
“I think it’s a good thing. I think holding students accountable for their grades and education is good,” South says. “I think Dr. Lewis’ initiative holds us all accountable as a community.”
Not everyone agrees. Student Janelle is one of the 519 suspended students and has spent most of the day watching TV. The 15-year-old says summer is not for school work. “We’re supposed to have fun, go out with your friends, stay up late, and sleep in.”
The superintendent couldn’t disagree more. “We’re letting them know, in the world, education doesn’t stop when you leave the schoolhouse door, and just pick up again the next morning,” says Dr. Larry Lewis, PhD., Lancaster Schools Superintendent. “It’s 24-7/365, in this school district, if we’re going to make you the global competitor that we expect you to be with all those students in the world.”
Dr. Lewis believes the summer reading assignment, which started last year, cut the number of those reading below average in half and helped TAKS scores go up.
“The bottom line is if the kid is getting the message, that if you don’t want to come to Lancaster High School, or Lancaster ISD to learn, then this is not a place for you,” Lewis said.
Many parents told CBS 11 News they were given plenty of notice from the school and around town. They say there’s no excuse for students not doing the reading and applaud the schools efforts.
“What’s so bad about a student reading a book? What can it hurt? It can only promote literacy and further their education,” South says. “I think it’s a great idea. Children are graduating who are functionally illiterate and that’s not o.k.”
In our district here in southern California's "Imperial" Valley, we do not give any summer homework.
I'm not sure that summer reading assignments are particularly useful for kids.