Can Summer Philosophy Programs Help Close the Achievement Gap?

Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice / March 2020

teacher smiling at students

While summer break presents educational and recreational opportunities for some students, students from depressed socioeconomic groups may face significant obstacles in the summer, including learning loss. In general, these students also lack access to a wide range of intrinsic and instrumental benefits attached to the study of philosophy. While there are currently existing philosophy programs, this contribution highlights the connections between summer experiences and the overall achievement gap, while identifying specific practices shown to yield successful summer programs. Philosophy provides an impressive set of benefits, including academic skills and opportunities for personal growth and development. Incorporating best practices while focusing on the methods and content of philosophy should, therefore, yield particularly rewarding programs. Due to these benefits, summer philosophy programs should be researched, developed, and expanded.