Low-income students stand to lose two to three months of academic progress over the summer when wealthier students are often making slight gains, according to the National Summer Learning Association.
Researchers have come up with the “faucet theory” to explain why this happens. During the school year the faucet is on for all students, with school as an access point for learning, extracurricular activities, books, and even food. During the summer, it slows for disadvantaged students, but not for middle and upper class students who can afford things like family vacations, specialized summer camps, trips to museums, and home libraries.
Ayeisha Owens lives with her grandmother and two daughters in Raleigh. Her children’s father died six years ago, leaving her as the sole breadwinner of her household. She’s struggled to pay for the types of summer activities she’d like her daughters to experience.
See the full report about how the Owens family got creative about summer activities here.