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Will businesses benefit at students expense with a later school start date?

Patterson Mill HS

Patterson Mill HS

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Some say that Maryland governor Larry Hogan has embraced a fantasy, when he released his recent mandate. The mandate requires schools to begin after Labor Day, and end by June 15th. This mandate will be in effect as of the 2017-2018 school year, and will last at least as long as Larry Hogan’s term. With that being said, there is a form that can be completed in order to extend the school year due to a reasonable explanation. The state will still require students to attend school for 180 days.

Mrs. Consla a German teacher at Patterson Mill, agreed that students shouldn’t be going past June 15th; she was quick to then point out that teachers should not have any professional development after this date either. Vice Principal, Mrs. Zengel, seemed open to the new guidelines stating, “I don’t know if I agree or disagree. I’m just curious to see how they [the school board] will fit it into the schedule.”

The Baltimore Sun ran a piece that asked, “Will Ocean City now be regarded as the reason Maryland’s youth are looked upon first as dishwashers and pizza deliverers rather than future scientists or tech wizards?” Many community members believe Ocean City entrepreneurs will benefit from this mandate at the expense of student’s educations. Others have presented some more direct and concrete examples such as The Baltimore County Superintendent, Dallas Dance, who told that he will not be able to accommodate time off for as many religious holidays.

Mrs. Zengel expressed “I don’t think that pushing it [school starting] past Labor Day is for the benefit of students.” This mandate is designed to encourage citizens to vacation more and longer, thus generating more money for the state. The Baltimore Sun also sited that 84% of kids in Baltimore can receive two free meals a day; but there are services in place that can provide summer meals to students such as The National Summer Food Service Program. This program would need to be expanded upon in order to meet the larger needs. John Hopkins sociologist, Karl Alexander conducted a study concerning knowledge loss over the summer; his findings were that most students lose about 2 months’ worth of learning. Students in low- income communities were most largely effected by this “epidemic.”

Sophomores, Riley Holloway and Lydia Elchick both agreed, “We don’t really forget anything we just need a quick refresher.” Mrs. Zengel was able to point out that studies suggest that students, on average lose 20 to 30% of their school knowledge.

The greatest concern that has been addressed concerning teachers is that some of their professional development days are likely to be cut.

Mrs. Zengel expressed, “I’m hoping teachers will have a few more work days before school starts.” This would potentially make up for time that will be lost during the school year.

Mrs. Consla pointed out that she likes the change saying, “There will be less students leaving for vacation during the school year, so more students will be able to complete their final exams.” She mentioned that some students in previous years have missed finals and have never come to make them up due to prior commitments to vacations.

Mrs. Consla noted another issue with a shortened year, “If students don’t understand, and need re teaching there will not be time to do that as a whole class. They would have to experience that by setting up individual meetings.”

Maryland senator, Joan Carter Conway had a hand in rejecting a lot of previous regulation that would have had the same effects on Maryland schools. She made the prediction that the current democratic legislature would soon allow districts to control their own schedules. Larry Hogan has warned that law makers who reverse the mandate “would probably lose their jobs”.

Matthew Boulay the CEO of National Summer Learning Association stated, “Many children look forward to the school year, and it is a stable, loving environment, and it makes no sense to delay it.” There have been positive and negative reactions the mandate. However, a Poll conducted in the 2015-2016 school year showed that 72% of Maryland citizens were for regulation demanding schools to start after Labor Day.

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Will businesses benefit at students expense with a later school start date?