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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

School daze

A state senator has a proposal that is both wrongheaded and pointless:

A state senator says he'll file legislation that would prevent Indiana schools from starting classes before Labor Day.

Republican Sen. Mike Delph of Carmel says his proposal would also prohibit schools from ending after June 10. The legislation would take effect starting in the fall of 2012.

It's pointless because even in a long session, the proposal would represent the kind of change legislators are reluctant to embrace; when to start the school year has always been a local decision. And in a short session plagued with budget nightmares, there just won't be time for such sweeping mandates.

It's wrongheaded because it's just a kneejerk populist urge -- restore families' summer vacations! keep kids home when it's the hottest! bring back our traditional school year! -- instead of being based on any reliable research about what is really needed in education. There are a whole host of things that could be considered way ahead of when to start the school year.

How about when to start the school day, for example? Adolescents need more sleep in the morning, so a later start would make sense. How about considering more year-round schooling with more frequent and shorter breaks, which would improve the retention of information? How about concentrating more on what schools teach instead of monitoring them so zealously on the 180-day mandate?


Thu, 12/24/2009 - 11:48am

My grandkids get out of school as early as 2:10, they could go for at least another hour. In a month's time that's 20 extra hours of learning. As poorly as some of the schools are performing, that amount of time could make a big difference.