Wednesday, October 23, 2019
US flag

Gov. joins state supt. on 1st day of school in Md.

Under an executive order issued by Gov Larry Hogan, Republican of Maryland, about a year ago, the day after Labor Day, today, was the first day of school for 22 of Maryland’s 24 public school districts, and he greeted students at Woodbridge Elementary School in Baltimore County, joined by State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon.


Hogan and Salmon today at Woodbridge Elem. School in Catonsville (Maryland Public Schools/Twitter)

The executive order that the school year couldn’t start until the Tuesday after Labor Day caused some debate throughout the state, especially among school superintendents who claimed students would forget too much of what they had learned the previous year with an extended summer break and the effects of “summer slide.”

Yet the executive order was enormously popular among Marylanders, who this year have told newspapers and TV stations that they have generally enjoyed having the extra week or so to spend with their families over the summer.

The debate will continue, I’m sure, even though most people in the state see the executive order that lengthens the summer vacation (the school year still has to finish by June 15 each year) as a gift, the Baltimore Sun reports.

“I absolutely love starting after Labor Day,” the paper quoted Katie M Ries, a Baltimore County parent, as saying. “I grew up right outside of Ocean City, and never, ever started school before Labor Day. It’s un-American. With schools being so regimented and recess disappearing, kids need time to play and have unstructured time. That’s what summer is all about.”

Because schools still have to be in session for students for 180 days, chopping off the month of August has caused most of the school systems in the state to cut short the spring or winter break and to eliminate a few of the teacher-in-service days that were ordinarily scattered randomly throughout the school calendar.

“We had several varying non-student days in the past,” the Frederick News-Post quoted Giuseppe Di Monte, a principal at one of the elementary schools in Frederick County, as saying. “With this schedule we don’t have any of those. It’s much more consistent across the board.”

The extra summer also appears to have built up anticipation for the school year on the part of teachers, students, and parents.

“It just looked like everyone was so energized and ready for school to start this year,” the paper quoted fourth-grade teacher Ashley Topper as saying. “It was so great at the back-to-school night. So many kids come in and you already know them, so they’re giving you hugs and saying how excited they are.”

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

Recent posts

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.

Downers North lights up the gym for Beth

Ongoing fundraising drives for a Downers Grove N. volleyball player killed by an intoxicated driver in Feb. are going strong in this western suburb.

High-payroll Yankees don’t make World Series

The World Series begins Tuesday, but some of the playoff games can teach us valuable things about youth sports, investment, etc.

Chicago teacher strike enters calendar week 2

Chicago teachers strike for the 3rd day Monday; the union wants smaller class sizes and support for paraprofessionals.

What happened after a coach disarmed a student

In Oregon last May, a high school coach saw a student carrying a gun and disarmed him. Now we know what happened next.

Fox Island disappears in the Chesapeake

An island that has provided some environmental education for many is being lost to rising sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay.

Ohio University hazing charges bring suspensions

The university is investigating hazing charges brought against several student organizations and social groups.

Vaping in a Md. high school

Clarksburg HS, like others in Montgomery County and across the nation, has a vaping problem among its students.

No Howard Co. juniors face required redistricting

Howard Co., Md., faces not only overcrowding but wide gaps in terms of socioeconomic status of families at its diverse schools.

Monkeys beat humans in cognitive flexibility

When we go about solving problems, we are sometimes so fixed in our ways that we fail to explore more efficient solution strategies.

Calif. law requires a sane start time for teens

A new law in Calif. will require public middle schools to start no earlier than 8:00 and high schools no earlier than 8:30.