OUR VIEW: Calendar change makes sense for Stanly

Published 11:28 am Friday, January 25, 2019

The school system seeking to take control of its own school calendar just makes sense for a couple reasons.

First, the current calendar presents two major disadvantages for college-bound high school students.

Given the current scheduling parameters, it is impossible to take exams before the Christmas break. That leaves two weeks for students to forget items over the Christmas break and then have to come back to school after Christmas, in the midst of potential winter weather interruptions, and quickly review and relearn before taking exams.

The college schedule is the way it is for a reason. It works. The Christmas break after first semester exams provides a natural transition and a welcome break for students. They can enjoy the holidays with visions of sugarplums instead of geometry formulas dancing through their heads. Then, students return to school with a new set of classes for a new year.

The second disadvantage is that the current calendar potentially steals a semester from college-bound students. December high school graduates have little chance to move on to community college or start a four-year school in January because of the semester overlap problem. This further discourages high-performing ambitious students from remaining in the public-school system. Many colleges are now allowing students to finish their high school degrees at college because of this problem.

The entire school calendar idea of beginning in late August and ending in early June is an antiquated idea based on sweltering city heat and a lack of air conditioning. Now, our schools are air conditioned and kids can be just as comfortable beginning school in early August as early September.

Also, the very idea of the state legislature meddling in local school calendars should be repugnant to any true conservative.

We ask schools to be innovative, creative and constantly perform better but yet the legislature hamstrings them with a calendar that is supposed to work for the harsh winters of Ashe and Watauga counties and the hurricane-prone areas of Wilmington and Hatteras. It just doesn’t make good sense.

Will there be pain? Oh yes. The first year of implementation will likely mean a short summer that begins in early June and ends quickly in very early August.

But one year of pain could potentially result in higher test scores, greater learning retention and the ability for December graduates to be in college classes within days instead of months.

Hopefully members of our state delegation will carry the recently passed resolution on the issue to the legislature and sponsor a bill to put the school calendar back in the hands of our local schools where it belongs.