The Daily "Post" - July 22, 2012 - Schools

"The federal government is why the schools are so screwed up now. End this year round school garbage. Kids should be off June, July and August. They should all go back the day after Labor Day like we did …"

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FactChecker 2 years, 9 months ago

Let me first give you a historical perspective. Early public schools used numerous criteria for the schedules, some of which were seasonal needs of farmers/ranchers during certain parts of the year. As we became a more urban society, school terms were retained about the same length and, with no Air-conditioning in schools, hotter seasons were avoided. Now we have AC (very few had AC that were built over 50 years ago) and their are very few farms that depend on the help of their children for the crops, this system is somewhat antiquated. The school "year" has been locked in at 180 days now for a very long time and is probably part of the reason that our education is falling behind. Japan has allotted 243 school days and many other countries have more than 180, very few have less. Now put forth some reasoning behind your belief in limiting the school calendar. It should also be noted that the Federal Government does not set the school calendar; the county sets the final school calendar, the only requirement is 180 days if the school wants to be accredited. Sept 4, 2012 to May 30, 2913 would allow 180 days plus 13 student vacation days. To put in more vacation/teacher workdays would require an extension. Everything is a balance.


GwinnettGirl 2 years, 9 months ago

Correct that the federal government does not set the school calendar, each county's local school district sets their own calendar. However, starting the first Monday in August does have its disadvantages. We live in a very transient society and several students miss the first 2-4 weeks of school because of moving. There are actually parents who are unaware of the early start date in Georgia; several northern states do not start school until late Aug. or right after Labor Day. Although parents should do their homework and check out everything about the school before or during a move, that doesn't always happen. Also, many school systems operate on a flex schedule or close on Friday's during the summer to save on the electric bill. How do they save money on electricity when the a/c has to be run full force by returning so early in August? It would also be helpful for the metro Atlanta counties to work together regarding the school calendar and have the same start date, Christmas break & spring break. It creates a hardship when school employees who live in another county have children on a different school schedule. Years ago the metro county practice was for students to begin on the third Monday in August, always have the first full week of April as spring break, but that is no longer followed. When students move from one county to the next some of them have already been in attendance for a month, or a week and some not at all.
As far as the 180 days, of course that is not enough, but the school districts are already struggling with the budget for those days, adding to the school calendar is financially a nightmare, in spite of the fact that it may be a wonderful education decision. What can be changed is the school calendar; having an across the board metro county calendar that truly reflects what is best for students is a goal that should be attained, not just dreamed about.


Jan 2 years, 9 months ago

As a retired teacher, I do agree with most of your criticism. During my time as a teacher, beginning in the mid 1960's, I have seen a strong push for more local control and greater faculty input into school calendars. The idea of local control has always been stronger than having a unified metro calendar. When the starting date was first moved to begin in August, we would have a very high absentee rate until after labor day, even among former students. After years of adjusting to earlier starts, this has become less of a problem. For those interested, school calendars and starting times are available for 2012 at http://www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/gcps-mainweb01.nsf/pages/Calendars0~QuickLinkslink text


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