Advertisement

A later start to school year worth a look

September 03, 2013

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot raises an intriguing question: Why not start school after Labor Day, the more traditional date for the beginning of school?

Franchot believes this would generate a significant amount of tax revenue — $73 million to be exact — from families that would use the added week to vacation in Ocean City or elsewhere in the state.

If he’s right — the numbers are not necessarily firm — this would contribute some much-needed revenue to the treasury. Local Del. LeRoy Myers sits on a task force that is currently studying the possibilities of a condensed school year.

Speaking as a businessman rather than an educator, Myers said he is open to the possibility that 180 educational days could be squeezed into a shorter year, an idea that we would like to see explored.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to the idea is the truth that kids retain less and less of their learning the longer they are away from the classroom. And if the schools believe this is a bad idea, we would take them at their word. Educators should have the right of first refusal.

But all things being equal, there might be advantages to a post-Labor Day start. Taxes generated and wages earned might be at the top of the list, but the cost to cool classrooms in August cannot be insignificant either.

The school year had a history of lasting from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Granted, some of this was driven by farms that needed the help of kids to get in the crops, a situation that no longer applies. And we recognize the movement toward longer school years, not shorter.

But if we’re sticking to a 180-day school year for now, we find ourselves curious to hear the task force’s findings.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|