New Bill to Alter Public School Dates
Under current law, the minimum number of days required to be spent in school is 178. HB 191 would move to base the minimum on hours instead of days and mandate the start of the school year to be after Labor Day weekend.
“If the goal is for our students to be better equipped to compete in a global economy, placing restrictions on when districts can conduct school is not the answer,” said Damon Asbury of the Ohio School Boards Association. Asbury testified before the House Education committee as the representative for the Ohio SBA. The group, along testified against the bill.
The minimum is set low for secondary grades at 1,001 days and much lower for younger grades. A school district sticking to a typical 6 1/2-hour day could meet this minimum with only 153 days.
Typical laws moving to alter the length of the school year suggests the lengthening of the year, not the shortening. Some opposed to this bill claim its proposal is motivated by tourism operators’ protests.
Prohibiting public schools, STEM schools and chartered nonpublic schools from starting the year before Labor Day and ending before Memorial Day adds extra weekends for families to take advantage of extended weekends and plan more vacations.
While this surely would boost Ohio’s economy, many argue this should not be at the expense of students’ education. Experts are in agreement that if academic performance is to improve, schools should have longer school days and years, not shorter; much material is forgotten over long summers.
More debates have risen over the question if state law should govern over all individual cities regarding this measure. Although state and nationwide governance is welcomed when it comes to setting standards for tests, many argue start and end times should remain a local concern.