Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Bring it on Home

Let’s talk about control. Who has it.? Who should have it?

I’m talking about our schools. Some things in our schools are covered under federal law, some by state law, and some are determined by local jurisdiction.

You may remember that I took a dim view of State Comptroller Peter Franchot’s “Let Summer Be Summer” campaign, in which he spearheaded state legislation to require schools to start after Labor Day. You know, the legislation that also required all schools to finish by June 15th. Well, despite Mr, Franchot’s overwhelming confidence that everyone is on his side but a few nefarious bad actors, it turns out that I am not alone in objecting to this.

(Or perhaps I am one of the few nefarious bad actors? I doubt it.)

A move is afoot in Annapolis to overturn Franchot’s school calendar legislation. You can read his take here  My take? I think that setting school calendars should be determined by local school systems.

Things like the civil rights of students are rightly covered at the federal level. Health and safety issues  need the weight of Maryland State standards and enforcement. School calendars are developed by each school system with the knowledge of their own communities. I don’t see anything in Franchot’s original legislation that convinces me otherwise.

Here in Howard County the later start was pretty much a farce for anyone playing sports or participating in marching band. So much for “Letting Summer Be Summer” for them. And do you remember the trainwreck that was setting the last day of school?

Maybe, just maybe, local school systems know how to do this school calendar thing better than Mr. Franchot and Governor Hogan. I certainly think it’s worth taking another look. Despite its roots in a kind of “remember when we were young and white and middle class” mindset,  the Late Start initiative is driven largely by business interests and not student needs.

I say we give the decision to the folks whose sole job it is to care about student needs. Let’s get rid of the middle man.

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