81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas

A CALL TO ACTION TO REDUCE SUMMER LEARNING LOSS AMONG OUR NATIONíS CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Whereas, low-income students across the country who lack stimulating summer activitieslose two months of grade-level equivalency in reading every summer, and all students lose two months of math skills; and

WHEREAS, summer learning loss hits children from low-income families particularly hard, with the cumulative losses over the years exacerbating achievement gaps between them and their more affluent peers and increasing the likelihood they will drop out of high school; and

WHEREAS, students who lose too much ground over the summer in the early grades often fail to master reading by the end of third grade (reducing summer learning loss is therefore a core pillar of the comprehensive strategy adopted by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for ensuring that children learn to read by the end of third grade so they can read to learn in later grades); and

WHEREAS, summer learning loss can lead to placement in less rigorous high school courses, higher high school dropout rates, and lower college attendance; and

WHEREAS, a Johns Hopkins University study of Baltimore City Public School students found that about two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap in reading between lower- and higher- income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years; and

WHEREAS, children living in poverty also face hunger and food insecurity in the summer (six out of every seven low-income students who receive free- and reduced-price lunches during the school year lose access to them in the summer); and

WHEREAS, two-thirds of teachers polled report that they spend at least three to four weeks re-teaching material from the previous year at the beginning of each school year. Thus summer learning loss affects every child in the classroom and undermines efforts to improve school performance, since it slows down instruction; and

WHEREAS, engaging summer learning programs that focus on academic activities, as well as recreation and cultural enrichment, can stop the summer slide and actually contribute to academic gains for low-income children; and

WHEREAS, libraries, book distribution programs and innovative technology platforms can put reading materials in the hands of children during the summer and help keep their reading skills fresh; and

WHEREAS, cities are in an excellent position to coordinate and expand access to summer opportunities by bringing together schools, community organizations, libraries, recreation centers, and other partners to ensure children are engaged in enriching activities during the summer,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses the National Summer Learning Associationís efforts to promote Summer Learning Day and to provide tools for cities that want to expand access and increase the quality of summer learning programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses and supports the efforts by the 125 communities in the Grade-Level Reading Communities Network to address summer learning loss, along with reducing chronic absence, and increasing school readiness, (the Campaign is dedicated to improving early literacy by supporting community solutions to these three widespread, but solvable challenges); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon its members to support efforts to reduce summer learning loss, including those to:

  • Raise public awareness and concern about the dire impact of the summer slide;

  • Scan city and community programs and resources to determine how much access children from low-income families have to engaging summer learning programs, books and learning technology platforms;

  • Bring together city agencies and community partners to broaden access to summer learning programs in subsequent years; and

  • Support efforts to implement high-quality summer learning programs and integrate them seamlessly with the school year.


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2013