Belaboring Labor Day: Two Schools of Thought

This first week back to school for the 2016–2017 school year has been historic—in more ways than one. As has come to be expected, The New Century School once again launched many new initiatives and embarked on several new “firsts.” Numero uno among these has to be the opening of TNCS’s Middle School, as the eldest among the TNCS student body entered 6th grade. Congratulations to them!

There are many other new and noteworthy topics to explore through Immersed in the coming weeks, such as new teachers to meet, expanded music education programming, a new library, and the brand-new Ozone Snack Bar, and we will get to those in due time. For now, though, let’s focus on the other reason this week has been historic: It may be the last time that Maryland students will have started school prior to Labor Day.

Announced August 31st, MD Governor Larry Hogan’s executive order extends summer break into September and has raised quite a ruckus. “School after Labor Day is now the law of the land in Maryland,” he said.

Advocates say the order will “help protect the traditional end of summer” and “give families more time together, generate more revenue for the tourism industry, and help keep students in the Baltimore region out of sweltering classrooms that lack air conditioning.”

Opponents say it will “hurt the state’s most vulnerable students” who can lose an average of 2 months of learning during the so-called summer slide and who rely on up to two meals a day provided in school as well as cause “what had been the minimum of 180 days of education [to] become the maximum” and thereby reduce valuable instruction time. Some have distilled the issues down to business and political interests versus kids’ welfare.

Other potential pros to an extended summer break include:

  • facilitating teacher continuing education efforts
  • allowing high school students to get summer work experience
  • making it easier for families to plan vacations
  • reducing breaks during the school year that can be a hardship for working parents

Other potential cons to starting school after Labor Day include:

  • costing more in childcare
  • teachers going longer without income
  • reducing breaks during the school year that kids and families enjoy
  • causing school to extend farther into June in the event of snow day make-ups

Either way, as residents of Baltimore City, we are at the crux of the debate, having the largest population of underserved communities. What are your thoughts? Take the poll below and leave a comment if you wish!

 

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