I don't love Maryland summers--too hot and humid--but I do love summer vacation. In fact, I often lament that we aren't able to have the true Phineas and Ferb summer vacation. As you probably know, their theme song begins, "There's a hundred and four days of summer vacation, and school comes along just to end it."
It turns out that Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot is also a big fan of summer vacation. He is spearheading a move to require that all Maryland schools begin after Labor Day.
In addition to the increase of tens of millions in direct economic activity for Maryland, starting school after Labor Day will bolster small businesses that rely on seasonal workers, increase wages for young people and provide families with another week of quality time together. This can be accomplished in a way that puts no added pressure on teachers and still protects the state’s award-winning public school education system. (From Comptroller's website)
It's that last sentence that bothers me. As a parent and a teacher I have some questions about this. How?
We must have 180 days of school. We must have a certain number of days for professional development for the teachers in our award winning public school system. We must have conference days to keep home school communication flowing. We traditionally have vacation days interspersed throughout the year, some of which are state-mandated.
And sometimes we have Snow Days. (Insert ominous music here.)
In order to make the "start after Labor Day" calendar work, every school system in the state will have to juggle all of these things. I'm not at all convinced this will work. What if we just end up going to school longer into June to make this happen? In my experience, after a long school year, the earlier we get out in June, the better. That's when I want to see "summer be summer!"
Money spent or earned in Ocean City in June is every bit as good as money spent right before Labor Day. It is possible we just can't have our cake and eat it, too. Mr. Franchot has a petition on his website that you can sign if you are in favor. I don't really see a place for you to voice your concerns if you are opposed, but you could try this.
As crazy as it sounds, I actually have more to say about this issue. So I am going to wrap this up tomorrow by talking about what a longer summer vacation means for Maryland families.