"We want our summers back."

Parents across the nation are up in arms and organizing in response to new school calendar years, according to an Aug 6 story in The New York Times (NYT). Though a major push for an early ending summer vacation or even for a year-round school calendar is the pressure to measure progress for the No Child Left Behind Program, the actual academic benefit of school days shifting is arguable. NYT quotes Gene V. Glass, a professor of education policy at Arizona State University, as saying, "there is not a scrap of evidence that shows a year-round calendar improves achievement." The article goes on to say that Harris Cooper, a psychology professor at Duke University, "doubted that modified calendars produce any overall academic benefits." The National Education Association (NEA) is reported not to have taken a position on the issue. However proponents like the National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE) feel "that children retain more knowledge with shorter breaks and benefit from taking exams before their Christmas recess, rather than after it." Their position is that a balanced school year can improve achievement.

NYT reports:
Surveys by Market Data Retrieval, an education research company, found that the number of public schools starting the academic year before Sept. 1 in 2004-5 rose 11 percent, to more than 63,000, over those starting before Sept. 1 a decade ago.
In some states, the tourism industry supports the parents, asserting that shorter summer vacations deprive the state of millions of dollars in tourism tax revenues that, in turn, help to finance public schools.
Through grass-roots organizations like Save Our Summers in North Carolina, Save South Carolina Summers, and Texans for a Traditional School Year, parents are demanding change from their state legislatures. Wisconsin and Minnesota are just two of the states responding with laws setting school start dates more in line with traditional, after-summer calendars in late August or early September.

Hawaii's Department of Education (DOE) published a news release on July 19, 2005, stating that "most public school students will end summer vacation and begin the 2005-06 school year in the next two weeks." DOE has also published the Board of Education (BOE) approved "1-3-2 model for the proposed calendar (one-week fall recess, three-week winter recess, and two-week spring recess)...The 2006-07 Official School Calendar is expected to be presented for final approval by the full Board of Education on September 1."

Proposed Single School Calendar for 2006-07
(available in PDF, 16K, from DOE)



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