Post-La­bor Day start hurts stu­dents

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Carolyn Dick­er­son, For­est Hill

I would like to thank The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board for stat­ing its dis­ap­proval of Gov. Larry Ho­gan’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der re­quir­ing Mary­land public schools to be­gin school af­ter La­bor Day (“La­bor Day mad­ness,” Aug. 31). You did an ex­cel­lent job stat­ing the rea­sons why this ex­ec­u­tive or­der would not meet the ed­u­ca­tional needs of Mary­land stu­dents.

But there are two ar­gu­ments against the ex­ec­u­tive or­der you failed to state. First, the longer the sum­mer va­ca­tion, the more skills and con­tent stu­dents lose. This is par­tic­u­larly true for ele­men­tary stu­dents who are try­ing to master ba­sic skills such as read­ing, writ­ing and arith­metic. A longer sum­mer va­ca­tion means teach­ers will need to spend ad­di­tional time at the be­gin­ning of the school year “re-teach­ing” skills and con­tent in­stead of jump­ing into the new cur­ricu­lum.

Sec­ond, not only will longer sum­mers im­pact what stu­dents re­tain, they will also im­pact the phys­i­cal well-be­ing of our stu­dents. For many stu­dents in Mary­land, the free and re­duced-price break­fast and lunch they re­ceive at school may be the only com­plete and nu­tri­tional meals they eat dur­ing the day due to their fam­i­lies’ eco­nomic hard­ship. The real­ity is many Mary­land stu­dents will not be able to take ad­van­tage of this ex­tended sum­mer va­ca­tion be­cause their fam­i­lies are un­able to af­ford the lux­ury of a va­ca­tion to Ocean City.

I am be­gin­ning my 30th year as a Baltimore County school teacher, and I feel Gov­er­nor Ho­gan’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der to ex­tend sum­mer va­ca­tion un­til af­ter La­bor Day will not be ben­e­fi­cial to the ma­jor­ity of my stu­dents.

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