Opinion Piece Suggests Year-Round Schools

An opinion piece reacts to the Governor’s post-Labor Day school start date order with an about-face — a recommendation to extend school the whole year.

Michael Collins writes in the Maryland Reporter about the potential advantages of year-round schooling, and draws comparison to neighboring Virginia’s adoption of a year-round school policy.

Collins writes,

Rather than tinker around the edges, both Gov. Hogan and Democratic leaders should follow Virginia’s lead and try year-round schools.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently awarded $7.7 million to 66 schools as part of Virginia’s Extended School Year Grant Program.  According to WUSA News, the Virginia legislature created the program after a legislative commission found that students in struggling schools do better with longer school years.

According to Collins, potential advantages of year-round school are numerous, including:

  • Students tend to forget a lot during the summer break, so a shorter time away from school might increase retention rates.

  • It’s a more efficient use of school space because otherwise buildings are unoccupied during the summer.

  • Remediation can occur when it is most needed – during the school year.

Not everyone would agree with this list. At the last meeting of the 21st Century School Facilities Commission, the idea of year-round schools was discussed. Commissioners raised several issues, including:

  • Lack of acceptance of the idea by parents and families,

  • Additional strain on school facilities, and

  • The inability to use the summer months to do large maintenance projects on school building. Performing large maintenance projects when buildings are not fully occupied and on multiple schools at once creates cost-savings.

The next meeting of the School Facilities Commission is tomorrow at 1pm  in the House Appropriations Committee Room, Room 120, House Office Building, Annapolis, Maryland.