Thinking about Labor Day

05/23/2014

Here we are about to celebrate Memorial Day, but educators and school officials throughout the state are already talking about Labor Day.

Worcester County naturally favors starting public school after Labor Day, which Gov. Martin O’Malley’s special task force also concluded this week, largely because of the economic impact it would have on this and Maryland’s other tourism areas.

Acknowledging that, Worcester County was the first of the state’s 24 school districts to break from the recent trend of starting public school before Labor Day.

Bob Rothermel, Worcester’s Board of Education president, said if there was a good year to make this move, then 2014, when Labor Day falls on Sept. 1, is it. Next year, however, Labor Day will fall on Sept. 7.

Naturally, this has caused some concerns. Opponents of the change say after this year’s unusually harsh winter and its weather-related school closings, that a late start could tighten the availability of snow days. A greater worry expressed by some is that a later start date could reduce professional development days for teachers and hamper preparations for important testing in the fall.

This may be true, but common sense would dictate that if  this testing does occur at the same time around the state and if preparation is so vital to a school system’s success in the eyes of state education officials, all schools should adhere to the same calendar rather than have a hodge-podge of calendars that could lead to different test scores from one school to another.

Never mind the estimated $74 million the later start date would add to the state’s economy. If timing is everything, and many of Maryland’s school districts say it is, then all of them should have the same clock.

 

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