By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said he would introduce a bill that would promote year-round elementary and secondary school programs.
Kirk said the All-Year School Study Act aims to boost academic achievement across the nation by authorizing $4 million in federal grants to establish pilot programs of year-round public schools.
Kirk said his bill would use existing funds already appropriated to the Fund for the Improvement of Education. The grants awarded would be disbursed to four schools in geographically diverse areas of the nation and priority would be given to low-income communities and low-performing schools, in addition to schools that actively promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education programs.
Kirk cited the Alain Locke Charter School in Chicago as a successful example of an all-year school. According to Kirk, students at Alain Locke spend about 15 more days in the classroom than other Chicago students and score 25 percent higher on reading and math tests.
“Year-round schools like Alain Locke Charter School in Chicago outperform other schools with fewer academic days and instructional time” Kirk said. “At Alain Locke, low-income students perform approximately 25 percent better at math and reading than other students in Chicago and throughout the state.”