Green Room

Study shows snow days don’t have negative effect on students

posted at 2:05 pm on February 12, 2014 by

Ten days ago, Phil the Groundhog saw his shadow, sentencing us to six more wretched weeks of winter. But don’t worry, there’s a silver lining (at least for the kids anyway). According to a 2012 study, snow days don’t negatively impact the academic performance or achievement of students.

The study, titled Flaking Out: Snowfall, Disruptions of Instructional Time, and Student Achievement, by Joshua Goodman, an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, says that school closures due to inclement weather do not actually affect student achievement as measured by scores on the standardized Massachusetts  Comprehensive Assessment System. Individual absences do.

Party on, winter.

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because snow days are awesome, that’s why :D

Sachiko on February 12, 2014 at 2:29 PM

OK, I was going to show this to my thirteen-year-old son, but I know what will happen. He’ll focus his lawyerly mind on one thing like a laser – “If fewer days don’t hurt education, why not always cut schools by a month, or two, or three?”. I think we have a slippery slope here, folks.

Surellin on February 12, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Surellin on February 12, 2014 at 2:34 PM

No kidding. After all, this was produced by someone at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

GWB on February 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

“If fewer days don’t hurt education, why not always cut schools by a month, or two, or three?”. I think we have a slippery slope here, folks.

Surellin on February 12, 2014 at 2:34 PM

As far as I know the snow days are made up with extra days at the end of the school year. That’s certainly what we do in my kids’ district. So the academic schedule is disrupted but not shortened in the end.

Now if your son wants to trade January for July in the school calendar, he’s welcome to try, but I speculate that such a proposal would get a “cold” reception.

jwolf on February 12, 2014 at 3:13 PM

I’m a teacher here in the South, currently sitting at home buried in a decent amount of ice and snow for anywhere, let alone for us (I grew up in NY during some pretty snowy winters in the late 70s and early 80s; those were far worse). We just got the call that tomorrow is cancelled as well. Can’t wait to see the make-up schedule (what a mess!).

On the topic of the study, I can attest to the poor academic performance of students who don’t attend classes when they’re in session; frequent absenteeism often correlates with poor classwork. That’s quite different, missing actual classroom content when the class is meeting, from the whole school being shut down and no content being taught at all for anyone to miss.

Stay safe out there on those icy roads!

xNavigator on February 12, 2014 at 3:23 PM

…one less day of NEA indoctrination.

viking01 on February 12, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Confirms my belief that the the fewer days a student can spend in a union/government school… The better.
Public schools are child abuse…. Unless you are counting on an ignorant electorate, dependent on the productive.

oceansidecon on February 12, 2014 at 6:05 PM

A day’s escape from the education industry’s total control probably helps them learn.

Most schools are demanding to have children too long, prevent them from having adequate activity during the day, and do too little to teach them during the time they’re held captive.

You could probably significantly improve education in this country by doing nothing more than giving kids an extra hour of recess per day spread across 3 20-minute intervals.

There is probably an optimal amount of time per day that can profitably be spent by a child learning — and we’re way past it.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 12, 2014 at 6:41 PM

So, missing instructional time has no effect?

Doesn’t say much about the instructional time that the students don’t miss, does it?

oakland on February 12, 2014 at 7:10 PM

I’d like to point out that if you want to criticize the public schools, and there is plenty to criticize, you should probably do so in an informed, intelligent way, not in stereotypes or hyperbole.

* Much of the current storm is wreaking havoc and closing schools in the South, and most of these states are right-to-work and/or non-union states, including mine. Stop the generalization of ‘public’ school to automatically mean ‘union’ school. They don’t correlate in every state. The states are VERY different in their approaches to public schooling.
* Other than Florida, NEA membership in the South is decidedly lower than in most ‘blue’ states in the North and on the coasts, and that’s NOT just because of state population size.
* It makes perfect sense that being absent on a day when school is CLOSED would not have a deleterious effect upon academic outcomes, because the schools plan for these events and reschedule instructional time. It is much more difficult for students who miss days when school is in session, especially for those with repeated absences.
* Public schools are not “child abuse” and talking like that just makes you look ridiculous. When cases arise of actual abuse, those involved should face criminal sanction. It might also interest you to note that, in 2007-2008, 4% of teachers were assaulted at their school by students; the reverse was NOT true.
* The public schools aren’t going away. What conservatives should fight for is right-to-work (no forced unionization), vouchers (good public schools have nothing to fear from vouchers!), and parental choice and local control (stop ceding decisions to the feds through Common Core and the like).

xNavigator on February 12, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Why would they? This is an answer to a question no one is asking…

Entrephil on February 12, 2014 at 8:26 PM

Les time for indoctrination.

bgibbs1000 on February 12, 2014 at 10:30 PM

because snow days are awesome, that’s why :D

Sachiko on February 12, 2014 at 2:29 PM

We have a winner!

Othniel on February 13, 2014 at 6:35 AM