School Should Open After Labor Day


School buses preparing for school (courtesy of Flickr).

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order in late August to require all public schools to begin school after Labor Day and end before June 15, while maintaining 180 days of school. His cited that the long weekend boosts the tourism industry and protects traditional family values. However for the 2017-2018 school year, FCPS will be starting before Labor Day.

FCPS received a waiver from the state’s Kings Dominion Law because of the numerous snow days in the past years. On average, according the the Washington Post, FCPS has around eight snow days in the past few years. Thus, an early start in late August would prevent school from ending near the beginning of July. However, an early start would correspond to the loss of enrichment activities and family time.

After standardized testing and AP exams in May, teachers often use the rest of the year for enrichment and preparation activities. These assignments help students understand a material more thoroughly and enhance basic standards of learning. In science classes like chemistry, extra time is used to perform labs and give students more experience with hands on activities. In math classes, extra time is used to begin learning the next course or proving equations and theorems. These weeks allow students to learn extra material to give them an advantage in the following school year.

Families often take vacations during the long weekend to celebrate the end of summer and let students have fun before the start of school. What makes Labor Day special compared to other holidays is that most employees have the day off. Thus, parents who can not use or have run out of vacation time can go on vacation. If school started even a week before Labor Day, most high school students would be too bound by homework to go on vacation. Then that federal holiday is spent at home and treated like any regular weekend.

A direct effect of increased vacation time is increased revenue in the state tourism industry. Because of the limitation to 3 days, most families would travel in state for vacations. This brings in around $275 million a year, according to the Washington Post.

Post-Labor Day school starts allow students to savor the end of summer and enrich the end of the school year.