The end of summer?
Posted by Evan Hibbard on August 30, 2023 in Opinions.
As the school year begins, you might be asking yourself, “Is school starting earlier this year?” And you wouldn’t be entirely incorrect.
The standard for public schools to return to learning after summer has typically been after Labor Day for quite a while. Within the last few years, districts and universities have been going back to the chalkboard even earlier.
When I was a junior in high school, it was announced that we would go back to school in late August rather than the usual early September appointment. I was quite surprised that we were going back to school before Labor Day, and I felt a little bit cheated, as if I was losing my summer.
As a college student now, it’s not something I think about as much since I get out in May and return every year at about that same late-August window since high school, but I heard this summer from a coworker that the schools in my hometown were going back to school even earlier than they have previously. I started doing some research into the situation.
In 2006, Michigan passed a bill entailing that all schools had to start after Labor Day in order to not hamper hospitality businesses, an industry that sees a dramatic increase in activity during Labor Day weekend.
According to MLive, a new bill is making its way through the Michigan legislative system that would let schools start before or after labor day, making it completely up to the districts rather than having them seek approval for earlier start dates, a process which authorities argue is ineffective and results in unnecessary paperwork blockades.
You may wonder, “Why the early start dates?” The answer, or at least what schools believe, is that the early start date will enable the schools to end the school year earlier in late May or early June in order to curb declining attendance rates at the end of the school year, according to an interview with Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti published by MLive.
While I don’t necessarily think it’s a terrible idea to move the end date to an earlier date, I don’t think it will do as much as the lawmakers and school districts are hoping.
I also think that the schools could focus on more important issues that might actually increase productivity such as pushing back the start time in the mornings, a practice that could allow kids to get more rest, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
I personally believe though that moving the start date earlier to encourage kids to attend school in the spring will likely not work, since if a kid doesn’t want to attend school, they simply won’t attend. There may be some kids that can be convinced otherwise, but I expect that the turnover would be very minor.
The bill in question to move the start date earlier is being championed by Rep. Matt Koleszar, D-Plymouth, who introduced the bill into the house earlier this year in June, although the House has yet to vote on the issue.
To wrap up, while I think it’s great that schools are starting to look inward and assess problems that need to be addressed, I also think that this isn’t the way to go about it and there are other issues that could probably be solved first. Read more about the bill at legislature.mi.gov.