Start the school year af­ter La­bor Day

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Eric S. Han­son The writer teaches at the Boys’ Latin School of Mary­land.

Re­gard­ing the de­bate over start­ing the school year af­ter La­bor Day, for the good of the stu­dents just do it (“Mary­land school board would stream­line waivers from La­bor Day or­der,” Sept. 27).

I be­gan sub­sti­tute teach­ing in1996 and had my first full-time po­si­tion in 1998. I have taught so­cial stud­ies and was a li­brar­ian in both pub­lic and pri­vate schools.

Aside from tourism, the real rea­son for start­ing school af­ter La­bor Day is to not waste stu­dents’ and teach­ers’ time. Many school sys­tems like to squeeze in a cou­ple days here and there in or­der to meet the manda­tory 180 school days.

For ex­am­ple, stu­dents in Bal­ti­more County re­turned to school this year on Aug. 27, a Wed­nes­day. That brought stu­dents back in mid-week for three days just be­fore La­bor Day week­end. A teacher can’t make a se­ri­ous start on a year’s worth of school work in just three days, es­pe­cially with stu­dents leav­ing early for La­bor Day or be­ing to­tally dis­tracted by it. And some stu­dents will never ar­rive at their desks un­til af­ter La­bor Day week­end no mat­ter when school is started.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence no use­ful teach­ing or learn­ing ever hap­pened dur­ing the cou­ple days that stu­dents were brought in prior to La­bor Day.

So let’s take the tourism ar­gu­ment and the child­ish po­lit­i­cal con­tests off the ta­ble and do some­thing that for once makes sense for teach­ers and stu­dents.

Just start school af­ter La­bor Day when ev­ery­one can fo­cus and re­ally roll into the new school year. The only other real op­tion is to open schools two weeks prior to La­bor Day and get the ball rolling well be­fore the hol­i­day break.

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