April 2007

School Start Date

The school start date issue from several years ago, has arisen again. In 2004, the State Legislature passed legislation stating that public schools could not start earlier than August 25, and must end by June 10. Several bills have been filed this year to start earlier than the August 25 date. We want our kids to get the best of educations, but States having an earlier start date have not recorded better test scores than States with a later start date.

Since the later school start does not reduce the quality of education, then we need to look at the positives such as 1) more family vacation time, 2) summer jobs and/or travel time for students, 3) summer jobs and/or travel time for teachers and administrators, and 4) longer season for tourism related businesses. Summer work experiences and travel experiences also provide significant educational experiences. Many students need the extra income to help with expenses during the school year.

I have heard many teachers, parents, and students say they like the later start date for a variety of reasons. June and early July are often not potential vacation times because of baseball, swimming, and soccer seasons for the kids. That only leaves the July and hopefully most of August for family vacation time which is critical for family cohesiveness.

The later school start date also allows more opportunity for summer employment for students to gain valuable work experience and some spending money. Teachers and other school staff are also able to supplement incomes, experience a change of pace, and/or travel for pleasure and educational experience.

This is also a very important issue for all tourism related businesses, and just about every business in Carteret County at least partially depends on tourism. No one wants to sacrifice education for economic gain. But since other states have proven that education does not suffer with a later start date and there are many benefits to later start dates, why not help the businesses. It is not unusual for some businesses to close or open for reduced hours in the winter, and many businesses are just hoping to break even in the winter months. Those vacation days in August are very important to a successful year.

As you can see, the later school start date has many positives and doesn’t seem to negatively effect the education of our youth. Certainly other States start after Labor Day without sacrificing test scores. Please contact you legislators to voice your opinion on this most important issue. 

Posted by Admin Sunday, April 1, 2007 3:29:00 PM

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