Although it seems like we have been at school for a long time, it has only been a month since school started this year. Unlike past years, school started after labor day, pushing back the school year by about a week from August 28 to September 5. Furthermore, schools are required to fit 180 instructional days into the time between Labor Day and June 15th, creating a plethora of new scheduling problems for the new school year in all counties in Maryland.
Maryland governor Larry Hogan created this new start time as part of his plan to boost Maryland’s economy, passing the executive order back in August of last year, and then an addendum to it in last October. This made it hard for schools to avoid starting school later through the use of a waiver. Hogan’s reasoning behind this order was the great benefit it would bring to Maryland’s economy. According to a Washington Post article, Hogan stated that starting school later would also help businesses, families, and the overall environment.
Scheduling behind this change in the start time of the school year was tight, cutting out many days that students and staff previously had off, including the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Professional Days were also cut out of the schedule and were changed into half-days, which could greatly increase the amount of work teachers need to accomplish in a shorter amount of time. These professional days and holidays are also of great importance to students, providing them with a days to recuperate and destress from the pressure of school.
Various students expressed their concerns about school starting later as well as the motives behind the later start date. Sophomore Clare Zhang of Richard Montgomery High School stated, “I don’t believe that commercialism is a good reason to push back something like school and education.” The later start date also creates other issues for students, giving them more time to forget information they learned the previous year and less time for those taking tests like AP or IB exams to study and learn the content necessary for the exam. It is also hard on disadvantaged families, as they need to pay for childcare for longer and do not have access to free and reduced lunches earlier, creating an even larger financial burden on those already struggling.
Not only does school starting later affect school itself, but also the summertime outside of school. According to a Washington Post article, many parents found that summer camps were becoming quite limited as August wore on. Parents like Sarah Kessler – a mother in Montgomery County – were simply “craving a routine” by late August and the prolonged summer proved to wear down too much on the minds of similar parents who just wanted their kids to “have as much instruction and as much time learning as possible.”
Education is of great importance to all in the state of Maryland and provides for the growth of the next generation. Pushing all the days off into summer greatly increases stress for students and staff and does not allow those who are religious to take time off for their important religious holidays. This drastic executive order causes great problems for many in the state and is not worth the economic impact it may have.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Laura Yao of Richard Montgomery High School