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When Should School Start?

When it comes to answering the question as to when school should start, I try very hard not turn into that old guy who has his pants up around his chest, while wearing black socks and white shoes, yelling at those kids to get off his lawn.

Unfortunately, I think I am turning into that person.

Here we are, the first full week of August and kids are already heading back into the classroom. Ugh!

Back in my day — see I’m at it already — in Chicago Public Schools, we started the day or two after Labor Day and wrapped up about the first week of June. Now schools are starting in early August and finishing up by Memorial Day.

However, there are some folks pushing for a start date closer to Labor Day and they want the legislature to step in and do it.

There are a lot of arguments for and against the early start dates. A quick hop over to the Indiana Education Forum’s website spells them out quite nicely. In the site’s words:

Arguments for an early start date

This is a local decision that should be made by local folks, not the state.

Early-August school start dates are necessary to allow the first semester to end prior to the winter break and ensure equal number of days in the semester.

Parents want the school year to end prior to Memorial Day. This necessitates an early-August school start date.

With high stakes testing, it is important to schedule as many days of instruction before the administration of the test.

The early school start date often provides families the opportunity to travel at less expensive and crowded times.

Arguments against An early start date

The agrarian calendar, a calendar with mini-breaks and a shorter summer, was ushered out with urbanization — and is continued to be pushed by those supporting the year-round calendar concept

There’s no research to support the assumption that students perform better academically if the first semester is completed prior to the winter break. To the contrary, evidence that supports the calendar configuration does not impact academic performance.

Teachers report high absentee rates when the school year begins in early August.

Many cite a Texas study that showed absentee rates from the first day of school to Sept. 1 dropped 60 percent after Texas enacted a uniform school start date law.

These are local decisions that should be left up to the locals.

I can see both sides of this issue.

I agree the old agrarian school calendar is likely outdated but there’s just something that feels really wrong about starting school on Aug. 6.

If I ran a school district, I’d probably switch to a calendar that was more along the lines of what happens at the college-university level.

I’d go late August to December, mid-January to mid-May, and then June-July.

I think by going this route, you allow people for vacations. And to address the issue of summer jobs, I think you could partner with local employers so that not only do students get to work, but they get academic credit for it as well.

It takes a little creativity, but I think it can be done.

This way, I can be my super-cool, urban hip self and not that old curmudgeon that I know I am eventually going to turn into one day.


  • http://myassignmenthelpaustralia.blogspot.com/ do my assignment

    Its really a serious question that when a school year should be started.Many people have different opinion on this question but majority thinks that August is the best month to start a school.