Politics and high stakes testing have created a lot controversy and frustration for families when "Back to School" time rolls around, mostly because that time comes in the middle of summer for so many students these days. While most of us remember our school years running from the middle of September to the middle of June, our neighbors are returning as early as the first week of August or even in July in some communities.
Educators and politicians alike cite many reasons for the "need" to start school early, but the most likely driving force is high stakes testing that occurs in April and May across the nation. Once these tests became the norm, with government funding attached to district and school scores, schools began creeping their start dates earlier and earlier trying to edge out the competition with a few weeks of extra instruction before the testing window opened.
Recently, we are seeing families and politicians moving to slow this chiseling away of our once sacred summers. Today, in Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan announced his executive decision to require all Maryland public schools begin after Labor Day and end before June 15th beginning with the next school year. The Baltimore Sun reports that 72% of Maryland residents support
this school calendar, although it is not without controversy. He joins several other states with mandated summers off from mid-June through post-Labor day, and at its next board meeting, megalithic Los Angeles Unified takes up the topic of moving its calendar back to a September start date.
As homeschoolers, we are fortunate to make our own calendars, creating programs truly based on what is best for our children and our families. So please feel free to let your summer last, well, all through summer! And in the meantime, hold out hope for our non-homeschooling friends and neighbors, that their children will have time to treasure the lazy days of summer a bit longer themselves one day soon.