Solving algebra equations or extracting the theme of a reading passage are hardly the most joyous ways for a kid to spend February vacation or spring break. But the intensive academic camps, which have been taking place for more than a decade in Boston schools and have been tried in at least one North of Boston district, are shown to have positive results for those students who participate.
“Acceleration academies,” as they’re called, will not solve Massachusetts’ education challenges by themselves. The work ahead of the Legislature in resetting the state’s funding formula for local schools, which includes special education funding, will be far more impactful. Still, local school leaders should be pursuing these programs as a relatively inexpensive way to have a meaningful impact.
In Massachusetts, they should be getting some help. Gov. Charlie Baker suggested as much when taking the oath of office for his second term two weeks ago. In his inaugural speech, Baker signaled plans to carve out money in the state budget to help lagging districts pursue “proven best-practices like acceleration academies, professional development, after-school enrichment and leadership development academies.” Baker also mentioned plans to expand the academies, a pet project of Education Commissioner Jeff Riley, during his re-election campaign.