U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Education
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Closed Thread Start New Thread
 
Old 08-28-2017, 03:28 PM
 
501 posts, read 175,638 times
Reputation: 312

Advertisements

This question would not had been asked about a few decades ago when the majority of school bells don't ring until the day after labor day. Maybe with the exception of year round schools. There wouldn't had been the question of taking children out of school to watch the great August 21 solar eclipse if it had occured in the 1980s or even the 1990s because schools would not have started and it would still be summer vacation. Though these days school start dates are all over the calendar ranging from late July to September from district to district often in the same region though the reality is that August is the new September for 85% of school kids around the country.

I know for Texas and other southern states the trend has started since the early 1990s.
In California however the trend started in 1998 when the state legislation changed to no longer allow staff development or teacher only days to count toward the 180 school day requirement. As this measure, which took effect starting at the 1999-2000 school year, took away many of these teacher training "breaks" in the school year, an increasingly number of school districts around the state, particularly in the SF Bay Area and the Central Valley started to experiment with an earlier start in order to make time for some non holiday school breaks days. Often by initially changing the first day of school from the week following labor day to the week before labor day as ending the school year later seems unpopular.
Along with increasing pressure to improve test scores, there are also those districts who believe that moving the entire school year a week or two early would put their students ahead of other districts on Standardized tests and AP exams so they just changed the start and end dates without adding holidays mid year. Over the years they found out if they made the year start even earlier it would allow them to complete the semester exam before Christmas break, this has resulted in districts starting the schools even earlier in early to mid August with either an ending date at around Memorial Day or with extra days or even weeks of breaks in between during fall or spring.

In Southern California however most districts resisted such change until 2012 when LA Unified for the first time in history changed its traditional school starting date from post labor day to August 14. With that move many smaller districts in the surrounding areas including Orange County also quickly followed LA Unified's example and moved their start date from Labor day to some day in August. As of the 2017-2018 school year I heard that only Torrance Unified is still holding out from starting before Labor Day.

Though there has been some backlash on this trend embraced by districts all around the country, Some state legislators are actually putting the brakes on schools starting earlier, Maryland being the latest to forbid schools from starting before labor day, and that the perceived educational benefits of an early start doesn't really work well in reality. The arguments against an early start includes the best performing school systems in the country mostly still start in September, and even in districts that are side by side each other there are no proof that the one that experimented with early start has improved test scores though often they struggle to deal with back to school absenteeism, also that early start would result in much higher operation costs for school systems resulting in need of more subsidies not just including the fact that utility rates are highest in August whether or not the schools have a/c, and that tax and concesssion revenues from summer activities such as summer camps/programs, municipal aquatic water parks, and state fairs also takes a hit.

What do you think?
So do you think schools starting early and sacrificing August as a full summer vacation month is a good tradeoff for having the semester exams before Christmas? Having more mid year breaks, or an earlier end to the school year? Or would you rather schools start after labor day and end June 16 with only the traditional breaks in between?

Have you noticed any differences or improvements in test scores whether its standardized test scores, AP scores, SAT/ACT scores, or general report card or test/exam scores as a result of early start?

Are there better alternatives to starting schools so early that would allow exams to be given before the break?

Do you think those state legislators are right on putting the brakes on early school starts even if it means lesser breaks within the school year and/or a later end to the school year or having final exams in January?

Ever wondered why most other parts of the world, northern hemisphere of course, still treat August as a full month of summer vacation? Most East Asian schools which are the most challenging among the world, close during the month of August, while they technically close in July but may still operate as a cram school until August. Samething with most schools in Europe, in fact many workers take a vacation in August there.

 
Old 08-28-2017, 08:29 PM
 
3,956 posts, read 1,846,592 times
Reputation: 9544
An interesting development in our area. We've been on a nearly year round (late July - first week of June) schedule for about 20 years. With two week breaks in the middle of fall and spring semesters. The stated original purpose of that schedule was more instruction time, esp for those who were falling behind by scheduling additional instruction during those two week "breaks." Essentially adding a month to the school year for those who couldn't afford trips to the beach or Disney during fall/spring.


What they found instead was no improvement in academic outcomes, but increased costs for the district to keep the schools open and pay staff to hold special sessions during the breaks. And it appears there is some concern the most at risk population suffered negatively due to lack of school meals during those two week breaks.


So they are delaying opening a couple of weeks (still not after Labor Day but at least in August and not July) and getting out before Memorial Day by dropping a week from fall and spring break periods. Doesn't help my kids the last of whom graduates this year, but might help some others have a more flexible summer.
 
Old 08-28-2017, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
81,156 posts, read 90,378,579 times
Reputation: 27767
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
An interesting development in our area. We've been on a nearly year round (late July - first week of June) schedule for about 20 years. With two week breaks in the middle of fall and spring semesters. The stated original purpose of that schedule was more instruction time, esp for those who were falling behind by scheduling additional instruction during those two week "breaks." Essentially adding a month to the school year for those who couldn't afford trips to the beach or Disney during fall/spring.


What they found instead was no improvement in academic outcomes, but increased costs for the district to keep the schools open and pay staff to hold special sessions during the breaks. And it appears there is some concern the most at risk population suffered negatively due to lack of school meals during those two week breaks.


So they are delaying opening a couple of weeks (still not after Labor Day but at least in August and not July) and getting out before Memorial Day by dropping a week from fall and spring break periods. Doesn't help my kids the last of whom graduates this year, but might help some others have a more flexible summer.
How does that work? School wasn't in session any longer, right? So the kids are just without meals at a different time. That seems like a problem that could be solved some other way than changing the school schedule, like providing meals over breaks. Lots of towns do summer feeding programs. There is actually a federal program for same. It could be tweaked to provide service during breaks, whenever they are.
https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer...ervice-program
 
Old 08-28-2017, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
12,050 posts, read 21,828,294 times
Reputation: 20019
Just speaking as someone who used to be a kid. I thought school should start the day after labor day and finish the last day of May. I always thought kids needed that break to just be kids for a while. Seems like summer vacations have gotten shorter and shorter over the years.
 
Old 08-28-2017, 10:21 PM
 
12,155 posts, read 6,629,357 times
Reputation: 16707
Quote:
Originally Posted by citizensadvocate View Post
So do you think schools starting early and sacrificing August as a full summer vacation month is a good tradeoff for having the semester exams before Christmas?
Unequivocally, YES! A midwinter holiday break is not a real break if your kids spend it working on projects or studying for semester exams.
 
Old 08-28-2017, 11:38 PM
 
1,626 posts, read 893,452 times
Reputation: 1875
I think school could do an orientation day before labor day so kids know who their teacher n classmates are & maybe get supplies they need. But serious school shouldn't start until after Labor Day. That is the sign of end of summer. I think back to school carnavel of some type last week of august & maybe optional study prep
 
Old 08-29-2017, 01:05 AM
 
Location: Chesapeake Bay
4,959 posts, read 2,951,545 times
Reputation: 2845
When I was a kid (many, many years ago), school started the Tuesday after Labor Day and ended the Friday before Memorial Day.
 
Old 08-29-2017, 03:44 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
27,867 posts, read 33,457,244 times
Reputation: 33670
Tnff hit on one reason for the longer year (maybe not total days but stretching the months of the school year) and that is that there is now what appears to be a cohort of students whose only meals come at school.

That also drives decisions for weather related closings. Over my 30+ years there were a couple times the area got hammered by snow but we'd go in on a 2 hour delay on day 3 or 4 off, serve lunch and then have a 2 hour early departure. That happened with TS Isabel, most of the region was without electric but we went in, served sandwiches and then went home.

Several schools in my (former) system now send food home for the weekend.

Another piece is the "free" child care schools provide. In this area that always came up when calendar adjustments were proposed. Governor Hogan signed an Executive Order last year mandating that schools not start until after Labor Day. Most of the complaints about the action were centered around testing and the additional week or two parents would have to pay in August for child care.
 
Old 08-29-2017, 05:04 AM
 
Location: Middle America
32,617 posts, read 33,796,784 times
Reputation: 41556
When I taught, it was in a year-round program, as my students benefitted from avoiding a several week long gap in routine and instruction.
 
Old 08-29-2017, 05:10 AM
Status: "Uggghh..." (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: 44N 89W
715 posts, read 211,134 times
Reputation: 545
Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
Just speaking as someone who used to be a kid. I thought school should start the day after labor day and finish the last day of May. I always thought kids needed that break to just be kids for a while. Seems like summer vacations have gotten shorter and shorter over the years.
Yup, and at all grade levels. I know I needed that break; it was truly my only time when I didn't have to stress out about that kind of garbage, and I felt my 12-week break was too short.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weichert View Post
When I was a kid (many, many years ago), school started the Tuesday after Labor Day and ended the Friday before Memorial Day.
Your school did it right.

Since elementary school I've had the same position on this: start after Labor Day, take out all the foo-foo half days (which my district growing up had LOTS of) and random Wednesdays off, and give us 2 weeks off for Christmas, 1.5 weeks off for Easter, and end in mid to late May.

I made a calendar for this upcoming year that had 158 educational days, starting on Tuesday 12 September and ending on Thursday 17 May.
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Closed Thread


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Education

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top