School's Out

Unpacking the Reality of Summer Learning Loss

  • Charlie Power


The debate over the future direction of elementary and secondary education in the United States is fractious and contentious. Many of these are rooted in concerns over disparities in financial circumstances and race. While the full extent of the gaps, in addition to the United States' mediocre education system relative to other industrialized nations, has been a subject of frequent research and heated debate, one crucial component of this divide has yet to be analyzed: summer learning loss.

This paper will closely analyze published literature in order to analyze the impact of summer education loss. Additionally, this paper will argue that summer learning varies by socioeconomic status (SES), with low-income populations gradually regressing over the years. This phenomenon has ramifications on students' achievement and explains the disparities that accumulate over a student's educational career. Finally, based on current evidence, this paper will make policy recommendations on how to change the current education system to better address summer's inherent inequities. 

Author Biography

Charlie Power

Charlie Power is a sophomore in the Carroll School of Management, majoring in Economics and Theology. He is originally from Winnetka, IL, a suburb of Chicago. On campus, he is a member of the Student Organization Fund- ing Committee and works as an Undergraduate Research Fellow for Tracy Regan in the Economics Department. This summer, he will be in Mexico City working for La Chispa, an organization that promotes social entrepreneur- ship. In terms of future plans, he is undecided about the career path he would like to pursue after graduation, but is broadly interested in technology, consulting, and possibly law school.

How to Cite
Power, C. (2021). School’s Out. Elements, 15(1), 39-52.