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Should School Start Before Labor Day?

Let's discuss this controversial end-of-summer topic.

You may want to have the kids leave the room for this discussion.

Are they gone? Ok. Here goes.

School starts again in just a couple weeks.

Westford kids go back to school Tuesday, Aug. 28 and Wednesday, Aug. 29 That's a couple days before Labor Day. But in a some school districts, the kids start school in September and have different ending points to their year.

To most kids, the idea of starting in August is unthinkable. To them, Labor Day weekend is that last hurrah of the summer, one more opportunity to grab some summer fun without the responsibilities of homework. But advocates of earlier return dates say it offsets snow days and gets the kids out earlier in June (or May). And a cycnical observer might point out that it also gives parents an opportunity to enjoy a few relaxing summer days without the kids around.

What do you think? Discuss in the comments below.

McTeigue August 17, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I wish Bill Olsen would be open to an after labor day start but he is a pretty hardliner when it comes to setting the school calendar (as we certainly learned last year) and alas I dont think it will happen on his watch in Westford.
Vincent DiRico August 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM
"out earlier in June (or May)" -> May really? isn't that an ~ 10 day difference, I can't imagine how that could EVER happen. I like early start, potentially early out. I think last year went just fine, some tweaks were needed early, made and then rolled back. If he sat, did nothing and 4 or 5 more snow days were needed you'd be criticizing him for the late release, it is a no win situation.
Brian August 17, 2012 at 11:53 PM
After Labor Day was always how it was when I went to school. The long Labor Day weekend always felt like the last opportunity to do something special. And now that I have kids of my own I still feel the same way. An opportunity to spend some quality family time together before they go back and everyone gets "busy" again.
Mary McKenney August 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I always thought the kids started 3 days before Labor Day so they could schedule 3 "teacher professional development days" during the school year. Here's an idea: make the teachers have their 3 "professional development days" before Labor Day and let the kids and their parents enjoy the last long weekend of summer before school starts. It has nothing to do with getting out earlier in June!
Jennifer Walter August 18, 2012 at 01:38 PM
I think the start day of school is perfect. I think it eases the kids back into a school routine by not starting off with full weeks. They start with a couple of days, long Labor Day weekend, and a short week before going into the full five day work schedule. I am very pleased with how the school calendar is run in Westford. I feel that Superintendent Olsen did a great job last year of adjusting our school calendar when necessary. He also was not afraid to say that the April vacation days were no longer necessary to uae at school and returned the full vacation to the kids. I think it is a difficult situation and I feel he handled it beautifully.
Randy Winslow August 18, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Many students start school that Tuesday, only upperclassman in HS and middle school don't. Also there is no teacher development, before school starts. Just a day to set up classrooms. Not to mention, I am sure all the teachers would agree with Mary, except would say no need for so much pd with the school district.
Chris Daley August 19, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I'm not a parent, but my neices and nephews go to high school in Chelmsford. I'm an AFTER LABOR DAY school calender advocate. I grew up in Westford with the last summer holiday weekend before school buses, bullies, home room and just miserable pressure to cower for the powers at be... And I dont respect teachers and administrators who dole out endless homework, tests given 3-4 at a time during the year. My neice's life gets destroyed having to study for FOUR EXAMS AT ONCE on a weekend! Narcissistic attitudes for the almighty teachers and unions again. Sorry but I believe education is MORE than slavery indoors-regular field trips, recess, and home/community/dating relationships are keys to adulthood, job applications. I was never allowed to drive a car to HS.Got a bike? College isnt a holy grail either; how about getting a job instead? Outrageous tuitions equals college graduate debtors behind the eight ball before their lives begin! The military, Americorps, Peace Corps and church missions all provide higher education too. Happy Labor Day.
Chris Daley August 19, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Ditto Brian.
Vin DelSantos August 19, 2012 at 08:39 PM
WA bills itself as a college prep high school and doesn't cater to other paths, Want to take an AP course for the educational experience of t but NOT take the college boards exam? Good luck with that at WA! Sound snobbish?
Barbara August 22, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I also feel that school shouldn't start until after Labor Day. I was so surprised when I moved here from NJ (when my now sophomore at WA was going into Kindergarden)and found that out. Summer ends Labor Day weekend. I also feel we don't need a full week for Feb and April vacation - let's just have 1 in March instead like many other states I know. In NJ we had Presidents Day off but it was a long w/e and not a full week.

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