Mythbuster Breaks Baloney Spouted by Forces of Darkness in Maryland Over School Year Start

  • A-1 Service!

Leonardtown Middle School students 2005

Myth Vs. Reality: Post-Labor Day School Start Date
Common Sense Decision to Start School After Labor Day Supported by Majority of Marylanders

“Comptroller Franchot has been a longtime, leading advocate of the idea of having Maryland’s public schools start after Labor Day, as they always did in the past. And I strongly agree with him. Because, this isn’t just a family issue, it’s an economic and public safety issue, and it’s an issue that draws strong, bipartisan support.” – Governor Larry Hogan, August 31, 2016

MYTH:

  • Cecil County Board Of Education President Dawn Branch Stated That “Only A Small Minority Of People” Have Asked For A Post-Labor Day School Start Date. “In Cecil County, only a small minority of people have ever asked the school board for a post-Labor Day start, she added…” (Jessica Iannetta, “Gov. Hogan Mandates Post-Labor Day Start For Schools,” Cecil Whig, 8/31/16) 

REALITY:

  • Polls Show That The Overwhelming Majority Of Marylanders – 72% – Support Starting School After Labor Day.“Residents continue to support Comptroller Peter Franchot’s ‘Let Summer Be Summer’ initiative. Seventy-two percent support a statewide mandate requiring schools to start after the Labor Day holiday; 19 percent oppose it.” (“Goucher Poll Releases Results On Politician Approval Ratings, Local Presidential Hopefuls, Transportation, Vaccines, And The Environment,” Goucher Poll, 2/25/15) 

01p090116MYTH:

  • Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance: “Many Of Us Are Trying To Think About ‘How Do We Give Our Kids More Time In School?’” (Erin Cox, and Liz Bowie, “Hogan Orders Maryland Public Schools To Start After Labor Day, Sparking Political Fight,” The Baltimore Sun, 8/31/16)

REALITY:

  • The Executive Order Makes No Change To The Number Of School Days Required. Under The Executive Order Students Will Attend Class For 180 Days; Prior To The Executive Order Students Attended Class For 180 Days. State law requires 180 school days each year: “Except as provided in subsections (b), (e), and (f) of this section, each public school under the jurisdiction of a  county board: Shall be open for pupil attendance for at least 180 actual school days and a minimum of 1,080 school hours during a 10-month period in each school year…” (“Code Of Maryland: Education Article,” Maryland General Assembly, Accessed: 9/1/16)   

MYTH:

  • Montgomery County Board Of Education President Michael Durso: Governor Hogan’s Action “Ignores Critical Issues Faced By Schools And The Potential Negative Instructional Impact On Students.” (Josh Hicks, “Hogan Orders Md. Schools To Start After Labor Day Beginning Next Year,” The Washington Post, 8/31/16)
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

REALITY:

  • A Non-Partisan Task Force Of Teachers, Administrators, School Board Members, PTA Members, And Legislators, Commissioned By The Previous Administration, Determined That Students’ Education Would Not Be Impacted By Starting School After Labor Day. “Determined that there was no compelling evidence that showed there was any impact on education starting post-Labor Day… there was no quantifiable evidence that a post-Labor Day start is harmful to local schools systems.” (“Task Force To Study A Post-Labor Day Start Date For Maryland Public Schools,” June 2014)

MYTH:

  • The Anne Arundel County Public Schools Board Argued That By Starting School After Labor Day, Students Would Be Put At A “Disadvantage” Compared To Students Across The Nation In Regards To Standardized Testing. “One of the biggest issues, however, involves the instructional disadvantage at which AACPS students would be placed when compared to other students across the nation.” (Press Release, “Impact Of Gov. Larry Hogan’s Executive Order On Anne Arundel County Public Schools Calendar,” Anne Arundel County Public Schools, 8/31/16)

REALITY:

  • An Extensive Study By Virginia Commonwealth University Found That Standardized Test Results For Students Who Begin School After Labor Day Do Not Suffer. “The study examined whether students who started school before Labor Day performed better on standardized tests than those who returned to school after the holiday. Commenting on the results, McMillan said, ‘the preponderance of evidence suggests that there is no relationship between school division start date (before or after Labor Day) and student achievement.’” (Greg Ellison, “Extending Kids’ Summer Still Being Debated,” Ocean City Today, 8/25/16; James McMillan, “ SOL Test Scores And School Calendar/Teaching Days For Virginia School Divisions Receiving Waivers To Begin The School Year Prior To Labor Day,” Virginia Commonwealth University, 1/25/15) 

MYTH:

  • Prince George’s County Public Schools Spokeswoman Raven Hill: “Calendar Decisions ‘Are Best Made By Local Communities, With Raising Student Achievement As The Goal, Rather Than Increasing Tourism.’” (Josh Hicks, “Hogan Orders Md. Schools To Start After Labor Day Beginning Next Year,”  The Washington Post, 8/31/16)

REALITY:

  • The Executive Order Grants Local Boards Of Education Full Ability To Set Their Own Academic Calendar; It Only Stipulates That Academic Calendars Begin After Labor Day And End On June 15th.“That all Kindergarten through 12th grade public schools in the State of Maryland (Public Schools). Through local Boards of Education, shall open for all pupil attendance no earlier than the Tuesday immediately following the nationally-observed Labor Day holiday. That classes shall conclude and the school year for every Public School in Maryland shall adjourn no later than June 15… That each local Board of Education shall refrain full responsibility for establishing its annual academic calendar and, therefore, shall have the necessary latitude to determine how best to comply with the provisions of this Executive Order along with State and local laws.” (“Executive Order 01.01.2016.09,” Office Of The Governor, 8/31/16)

MYTH:

  • The Anne Arundel County Public Schools Board Argued That It Would Be “Mathematically Impossible” To Begin School After Labor Day And For School To End On June 15. “A post Labor Day start and mandated June 15 finish to the school year makes it mathematically impossible to convert the required number of days needed to school days solely within the existing 2017-2018 school year calendar.” (Press Release, “Impact Of Gov. Larry Hogan’s Executive Order On Anne Arundel County Public Schools Calendar,” Anne Arundel County Public Schools, 8/31/16) 

REALITY:

  • Worcester County’s 2016-2017 School Year Will Start After Labor Day And End In Mid-June. For the 2016-2017 school year, Worcester County Public Schools commence on September 6th and end on June 16th. The school system takes the following days off: Oct. 21 – MSEA Conference, Nov. 8 – Professional Day/Election Day, Nov. 11 – Professional Day/Veterans Day, Nov. 23-25 – Thanksgiving Break, Dec. 22Jan 2: Winter Break,  Jan 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Feb. 3 – Professional Day, Feb. 20 – Presidents Day, Apr. 13 – Professional Day, Apr. 14-17 – Spring Break, May 29 – Memorial Day. (“Calendar,” Worcester County Board Of Education, Accessed: 9/1/16)