Although Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent William Andrekopoulos is talking up the idea of converting almost the entire public school system to a year-round schedule, a new study of MPS schools finds mixed evidence, at best, that it increases academic success.
The study, conducted by Bradley R. Carl, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher, finds little difference in the annual improvement between students on year-round schedules and those on the traditional September to June calendar. The study, completed in February, can be found on the MPS Web site.
Andrekopoulos enters the week still promoting the year-round idea, although it got a tepid reception last week and, in addition to Carl’s research, there is no agreement among researchers nationally that the revamped schedule improves results.
The superintendent pointed to evidence in the Carl study that students who remained in the same school for two years made bigger gains under the year-round schedule, in which they get shorter summer vacation and longer breaks during the rest of the year.
He said the results showed the importance of reducing the very high percentage of MPS students who change schools frequently – more than 30% are in a different school each September than they were in the year before, not including those who get promoted. A year-round schedule across the city would reduce mobility, Andrekopoulos suggested.