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Why Delaying School Start Dates is a Bad Deal for Students

Education Next – Martin R. West

“The scene would have been a civics textbook come to life—had that textbook been produced by the state of Maryland’s summer tourism industry. Flanked by local politicians and business owners, Republican Governor Larry Hogan took to the Ocean City boardwalk on August 31 to announce a new executive order directing all public schools in the state to delay the start of classes until after Labor Day and end the school year by June 15. “School after Labor Day is now the law of the land in Maryland,” Hogan proudly declared. The governor argued that the move will boost late-season tourism, provide families additional vacation time, and benefit the environment by reducing the use of air-conditioning—all without harm to student achievement. He emphasized that the order makes no changes to the requirement in state law that public schools be open “for at least 180 actual school days and a minimum of 1,080 school hours” each year. And he cited a 2014 task force report commissioned by his Democratic predecessor, Martin O’Malley, that concluded “there was no quantifiable evidence that a post-Labor Day start is harmful to local schools systems’.”(more)

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