Orszag, writing in Bloomberg:
How Summer Is Making U.S. Kids Dumber and Fatter
Consider, first, the evidence for the summer fade effect. Taken together, a variety of studies indicate that students’ academic skills atrophy during the summer months by an amount equivalent to what they learn in a third of a school year, according to a review by Harris Cooper, a professor of education at Duke University, and several co-authors.
This deterioration, furthermore, varies substantially by income and race, and its impact persists even past childhood. Barbara Heyns, a sociologist at New York University who studied Atlanta schoolchildren in the late 1970s, found that although academic gains during the school year were not substantially correlated with income, summer decline was.
Subsequent studies have replicated the finding. Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle and Linda Olson of Johns Hopkins University, for example, found that the summer fade can largely explain why the gap in skills between children on either side of the socioeconomic divide widens as students progress through elementary school. Children from all backgrounds learn at similar rates during the school year, but each summer students of high socioeconomic status continue to learn while those of low socioeconomic status fall behind.
The impact is felt even years later. The learning differences that begin in grade school “substantially account” for differences by socioeconomic status in high-school graduation rates and in four-year college attendance, Alexander and his co-authors report.
Now we have a brand spanking new excuse to
explain the achievement gap divert attention away from racial differences in IQ. We’re supposed to believe that NAMs learn just as well as W&A during the year, but NAMs forget quicker than W&A during the summer. And this is supposed to be a cascading effect that can explain everything wrong with NAM educational failure through high school.
I infer that those who forget something really quickly never really learned or grokked it to begin with.