2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

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BEATING THE SUMMER LEARNING LOSS: URBAN SUMMER EDUCATION PROGRAMS

WHEREAS, all young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer and students score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they did on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation; and

WHEREAS, students on average lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months regardless of socio-economic status; and

WHEREAS, low-income children and youth experience greater summer learning losses than their higher income peers; and

WHEREAS, summer learning loss contributes to the achievement gap in reading performance between lower and higher income children and youth, and these are most prevalent during the elementary school grades; and

WHEREAS, large numbers of students who qualify for federally subsidized meals do not have the same level of access to nutritious meals during the summer as they do during the school year which translates to more than 3 million of the 15.3 million children who receive free or reduced lunch during the school year; and

WHEREAS, over 90% of summer school programs are “remedial” targeting only students who were not on grade level and these programs are typically intermittent interventions rather than substantive programs to assist students in improving on their basic reading and math no matter what their status; and

WHEREAS, mayors manage most summer recreational programs that have little connection or coordination with the school system’s summer school, but could be used as focused out-of-school time that includes both academic and recreational experiences; and 

WHEREAS, several cities have begun to make the connection and develop comprehensive programs for elementary school learners focused on building reading skills, and pre-kindergarten programs are being included as part of court decisions involving state education funding adequacy cases; and

WHEREAS, research results in several summer programs that integrate reading instruction and tutoring along with other activities, show significant reading score gains for participating children compared to students who did not attend the summer intervention; and

WHEREAS, if policymakers are serious about improving excellence and equity in public education, social science research suggests that high-quality summer programs that include reading, academic enrichment, and where appropriate work experience must become a significant and central component in school reform,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED; that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges federal and state governments to establish policies and programs to assist in high-quality summer enrichment experiences, and make appropriations available to assist in the funding of high-quality summer enrichment and camp programs for all children and youth throughout their education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on mayors to take a leadership role in forming partnerships to improve collaboration and leveraging of funds and resources (such as Scholastic, Reading Is Fundamental, First Book, Houghton Mifflin, and Book It!) from multiple sources to ensure greater levels of access to programs for all children, but especially those most adversely affected by summer learning losses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors believes these summer reading and other academic programs must maintain high standards and expectations for the participating children and use as models other successful programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports high-quality summer learning that should be community-wide and become a partnership of public agencies, community-based organizations, cultural institutions, school systems, and colleges and universities to ensure the highest quality and quantity of learning opportunities for all young people, especially those most affected by the achievement gap.