Ho­gan’s or­der ig­nores low-in­come kids

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Saleema Snow, Washington, D.C. The writer is an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of law at the Uni­ver­sity of the Dis­trict of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and a for­mer le­gal ser­vices at­tor­ney.

Mary­land Gov. Larry Ho­gan’s plan to ex­tend Mary­land’s sum­mer re­cess un­til af­ter La­bor Day mis­cal­cu­lates the im­pact the ex­ec­u­tive or­der has on Mary­land’s low-in­come fam­i­lies (“A week later, Ho­gan’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der still roil­ing Mary­land pol­i­tics,” Sept. 7).

In Mary­land, 180,000 chil­dren live in low-in­come work­ing fam­i­lies, with 60 per­cent of these chil­dren liv­ing in a sin­gle-par­ent house­hold. Un­for­tu­nately, va­ca­tion­ing in Ocean City is far from a re­al­ity for most fam­i­lies un­der Gov­er­nor Ho­gan’s ex­tended sum­mer re­cess. In­stead, younger stu­dents will stay in the house ei­ther alone or un­der the su­per­vi­sion of an older sib­ling. Some par­ents might be lucky enough to find a will­ing neigh­bor who will keep an eye on the kids while they jug­gle low-pay­ing jobs and the er­ratic sched­ules of­ten as­so­ci­ated with these po­si­tions.

In sum­mer, school break ex­pen­di­tures can ex­ac­er­bate a frag­ile, low-in­come house­hold bud­get. The av­er­age fam­ily will spend $958 per child for sum­mer en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties. The cost of day camp av­er­ages $271 per week, and the most af­ford­able sum­mer camps fill quickly. Even when a par­ent finds an af­ford­able camp, trans­porta­tion may be a bar­rier.

This is the sad re­al­ity Gov­er­nor Ho­gan ig­nores.

Aweek at the beach, fam­ily va­ca­tions and meet­ing new friends at sum­mer camp — these images are through the lens of fam­i­lies who can af­ford such life­styles. With­out ad­di­tional lo­cal re­sources for sum­mer en­rich­ment pro­grams, bar­ri­ers to end poverty grow and the sum­mer aca­demic achieve­ment gap con­tin­ues to widen.

There are many ways to do what is in the best in­ter­est of all Mary­land stu­dents. An ex­tended sum­mer re­cess is not one of them.

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