Friday, June 5, 2020
US flag

For now, Presidents’ Day is a Md. school holiday

Legislation now under consideration in the Maryland General Assembly would make complying with Gov Larry Hogan’s executive order that schools start after Labor Day and finish by June 15 every year a little easier for Maryland schools, the Washington Post reports.


Hogan at a press conference in Salisbury, Feb. 13 (Anthony DePanise / Maryland GovPics via Flickr CC)

The bill would make it optional for schools to give students the day off on Presidents’ Day and Easter Monday, both of which are now state-mandated school holidays in Maryland. In other words, the bill would add flexibility to state law and give schools a few more options when it comes to determining their calendars.

Since Labor Day moves around a little every year between September 2 and September 8 and because June 15 occurs on a Saturday or Sunday in two out of every seven years, on average, there are a total of between 201 and 205 weekdays between the day after Labor Day and June 15 every year for the next 10 years:

Day After Labor Day June 15 on New Year’s Day on Weekdays Available
Sept. 5, 2017 Friday Monday 204
Sept. 4, 2018 Saturday Tuesday 204
Sept. 3, 2019 Monday Wednesday 205
Sept. 8, 2020 Tuesday Friday 201
Sept. 7, 2021 Wednesday Saturday 202
Sept. 6, 2022 Thursday Sunday 203
Sept. 5, 2023 Saturday Monday 204
Sept. 3, 2024 Sunday Wednesday 204
Sept. 2, 2025 Monday Thursday 205
Sept. 8, 2026 Tuesday Friday 201

But the calendar math is a little tougher than that, because current state law requires that students have at least 180 days of school each year and that they have off on a few holidays or religious observances, including these:

  • Thanksgiving and the day after (2 days)
  • Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day (between 5 and 7 days)
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Good Friday and Easter Monday (2 days)
  • Memorial Day

That is, there’s a state-mandated deduction of between 12 and 14 weekdays, depending on whether New Year’s Day occurs on a Monday or Saturday (13), another weekday (14), or a Sunday (12). In some years, that could give schools just seven days to pick. School districts, especially those in Western Maryland, also have to build a number of snow days into the calendar.

The Post quoted a spokesperson for Mr Hogan as saying that instead of focusing on cancelling holidays, schools ought to focus on cancelling the number of teacher in-service days. However, many of these “days off for students but not teachers” occur outside the school year or at the end of grading periods, when teachers can probably use a day to catch up on their grading so students get their report cards.

Anyway, passage of this bill isn’t clear, but doing the math, I’m in favor of cutting anything that sounds like a state mandate, as I was when it came to the executive order in the first place, which definitely took authority away from local boards of education and placed it in the governor’s office. But since that happened, I can’t deny the wisdom of the executive order in terms of putting a stopper on the “calendar sprawl” bottle schools have developed over the years.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.