Shifting Start Times
By Alex Long
Governor Hogan has recently passed a new mandate in Maryland that forces schools to start after Labor Day, and end before June 15. Governor Hogan implemented this mandate as an effort to benefit the state’s economy as Ocean City would get more visitors. He also believed that Maryland families would also benefit as summer would last longer.
By making summer longer, the school year is shortened and thus students will get less days off during the school year. This means that there is no room to account for snow days in the school calendar as students must attend 180 days of school, and if there are snow days, make up days will be taken from Spring Break, or other additional days off in the school year such as President’s Day.
While students are happy about an extended summer, the thought of a shortened Spring Break is upsetting. Regarding the matter of a shortened Spring Break, Senior Allyson Kim said, “They can take my Spring Break, I won't come to school.” Many other students share the same opinion, and are angered at the idea of having less days off during the school year. If students skip school to go on vacation during Spring Break, students will fall behind, and teachers will not be able to plan lessons accordingly.
Another thing to take into account is how AP courses are affected by the shortened school year. Since Maryland schools start later, the time for covering material before AP testing is limited. Less time to cover AP material before the test could mean lower scores and more stress on students to spend their free time struggling to cover material there is not time to cover in school anymore. Teachers would also struggle to teach information quicker which could result in an undercoverage of topics. As Senior Gloria McComas said, “Sticking bookends on the school year is just not realistic.” It seems as if Maryland students are at a disadvantage as they get less time to cover important AP material, and have less days off during the school year. Also, if there is a huge snow storm or natural disaster, there are no days to make up for the missed school which means there is even less time to teach.
It seems as if students are not the only ones negatively affected by this decision. It is already hard enough for parents to find a place for their kids to go during the summertime without the additional weeks that have been tacked onto summer this year. It was even harder for parents to find camps and day cares this year however, because many of the child care places had closed in the assumption that school would start at the same date as previous years. Additionally, parents struggled to find the money to send their kids to camps for an additional two weeks, as most parents have jobs and cannot stay home to watch their kids.
With all of the problems regarding the new state mandate, it seems as if it would be more beneficial to both parents and students to start school before Labor Day. This way, students would have the time they need to learn all AP material before the tests, there would be room for snow days in the school year, and Spring Break would not be shortened. Also, parents would not have to scramble to find childcare for their kids in the last couple weeks of summer anymore as their kids would be in school.
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