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The School Start Date Conundrum

CalendarI know I'm too close to this debate, having fought this battle in Wisconsin years ago (and consulted other States over the years)...but, honestly, it's a pretty black and white question.

When the majority of parents (and, in many cases, teachers) support a post-Labor Day School Start AND it benefits the State's economy...what is left to say? Local control zealots (who are in the distinct minority) cry out that we are sacrificing our children's education to benefit tourism businesses...but not a single study has shown that Post Labor Day School starts result in lower test scores. Indeed, here in Wisconsin, the schools that started post-Labor Day scored higher than those that started school in August before we legislated a uniform start date.

The debate has shifted into high gear in Maryland, where the Governor mandated a post-Labor Day start and the legislature is now pushing back.

Last week, Governor Hogan opined, "inexplicably, they are attempting to reverse this policy, but we simply cannot and we will not allow misguided and misinformed legislators and special interest groups to turn back the clock and ignore the will of the people of Maryland."

Opposition party Senator Paul Pinsky questioned why people are afraid to give local officials a choice.

Which I find delightfully absurd. State politicians always think they are smarter than local officials...except on this issue.

Hey, Paul? It's time to look out for the State's economy AND the interests of the electorate...and not the School Board Association lobby.

Bill Geist

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