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Patch Chat: Summer Vacation, Boon or Bane?

Welcome back to your daily conversation on Southeast-Brewster Patch. We're interested in hearing everyone's thoughts.

In this feature, Southeast-Brewster Patch will post a "Question of the Day," asking residents to offer their thoughts on anything and everything local.

The questions will cover school news to government and police issues to entertainment and lifestyle topics. We would love to hear your take on all of it.

Today's issue:

Is summer vacation a boon or a bane? With the end of the regular school year comes the pressure to fill young people's days with meaningful activities and experiences. But with all the attention on the current state of American education, is summer vacation even a good idea for parents or children?

According to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, the average school year for American children is 180 days, 6.7 hours. Students in the Northeast attend an average one day more than their Southern counterparts; city dwelling kids more than their small town and rural peers.

At the same time, surveys have shown that American children's performance compared to other countries does not rank among the highest. According to the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, which tests 15 year-olds in math, reading and science in 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which administers the test, only eight countries have a lower high school graudation rate than the United States.

Today's question:

Can American youngsters afford a long summer vacation? What do you think? Do your children retain what they've learned over extended school breaks? Do they really need the break to be children? 

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