The school calendar is the period of time, usually around 180 days or the equivalent number of minutes, in which students in grades K-12 are required to attend school. School administrators create a calendar in which these parameters are met, including the days in which the school year begins and ends.
The traditional school year typically begins in September, following Labor Day. While school start dates and laws vary around the country, in recent years, school administrators have begun to challenge the traditional school year by beginning school in August and in some cases, as early as July. This trend can threaten a state’s tourism industry and economic revenue while limiting employment opportunities for students and teachers. And starting the school year earlier provides no demonstrable improvement to a student’s education.
School calendars beginning prior to Labor Day fail to account for the personal needs of students and teachers and often lead to student and teacher ‘burn-out’, leaving children less likely to retain information during instructional hours and teachers unable to pursue additional training, advanced degrees or hold a second job to make ends meet.
In some parts of the country, earlier school start dates increase expenditures on air conditioning and additional bus transportation during the hottest months of the year rather than using those funds for teacher salaries, supplies or programs that enhance student learning.
Additionally, earlier school start dates make it difficult for students and teachers seeking summer employment to find work as it conflicts with their school calendars. Post-Labor Day school start dates for K-12 schools create employment opportunities and stimulate the state economy, all the while giving students the ability to earn money, gain real world experience, intern, or participate in a number of other activities essential for character development.
IAAPA supports policy that sets a post Labor Day school start for all K-12 schools that receive state funding while giving school administrators the flexibility to schedule instructional time in minutes rather than in days.
IAAPA also supports study bills that look at the impact that a school start date has on the tourism industry and in return, state and local tax generation, school funding, non-instructional costs for schools and lost student and facility wages. IAAPA also encourages the states to study the impact on workforce development, dual credit course study and technical programs of study requiring full summers for internship and externship opportunities.
Updated: June 19, 2018