Maryland Governor Larry Hogan created a firestorm of controversy when he recently announced an executive order that ensures all Maryland public schools open after Labor Day for the 2017-2018 school year and the years that follow. This decision came with debates over whether or not the governor should have such power over the school systems as well as the pros and cons of the decision.
Although this was a controversial decision in terms of politics, several polls show the majority of residents endorsing this resolution. However, there are some inconsistencies regarding a few of the polls. The Washington Post conducted an unscientific poll which showed 54 percent against and 46 percent for, while WBAL-TV conducted another unscientific investigation of 9,000 surveyed people who responded with 92 percent for the decision.
Since neither polls were scientifically gathered under controlled settings, the results may have been skewed in some way and therefore may not be a reliable source concerning the opinions of Maryland residents. However, Goucher College, with no reasonable bias attached, did conduct a scientifically sanctioned poll very recently in 2015 which concluded that 72 percent of Maryland residents preferred an after Labor Day start to the school year.
Over the years, Maryland public schools have pushed the beginning of the school year earlier into August, eliminating what is considered the last few weeks of summer. Hogan’s decision to begin the school year directly after Labor Day will allow students and teachers more time to enjoy the traditional summer vacation.
Baltimore City Schools are notorious for the lack of a proper air conditioning systems. Considering the hottest weeks of the year surround Labor Day, closing down schools until the heat passes would be greatly beneficial to many students who would otherwise have to suffer through the frequent heat waves.
Along with benefiting students in various ways, the weeklong difference generates revenue and jobs for the state of Maryland. Waiting only about a week to open schools, especially during Labor Day weekend, directly generates $74.3 million for Maryland and provides an economic boost for local businesses.
This may also set a precedent for the University System of Maryland. Although schools such as UMBC, UMD, UB, etc. were not included in the decision, a similar change may prove to be beneficial for the universities. Since college classes usually operate on either a Monday/Wednesday/Friday or a Tuesday/Thursday schedule, a three day weekend during the first week of classes is not conducive to a steady and evenly portioned schedule.
This decision will affect many families residing in Maryland. Although there was a bit of controversy, a logical choice was made by the governor to push back the start of the school year. USM should take a hint and also consider adjusting the start of their academic years till after Labor Day weekend.