By: Maggie Attridge
On August 31, 2016, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed a brand new executive order mandating every public school in the state to start after Labor Day. This order will extend summer break in Maryland, keep the required 180 days of the school year, and end the school year before June 15. Hogan announced the executive order on the Ocean City Boardwalk, accompanied by many supporters of the calendar change, including Comptroller Peter Franchot and Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan.
The post-labor day debate has put tourism and summer business interests against educators and law-makers who say that the change in the school year could hurt students and staff.
Governor Hogan has called the executive order “lifeline for those small, locally-owned businesses”. According to Franchot, letting students come back to school later will benefit the tourism industry in Maryland and will ”…give families throughout our state time to enjoy those final days of summer the way they were meant to be enjoyed”.
However, Hogan’s action has drawn criticism from many, including Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller who called the order “extraordinary and legally questionable”. Many teachers unions have spoken out against the order as well, citing that the later start date could potentially rule out snow days and professional days for teachers. Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance has even said that his district will probably eliminate days of spring break and days off for religious holidays to account for the missed days at the beginning fo the school year. The executive action also has many educators worried about extending an already troublesome “summer slide”, where students forget all information learned over the previous school year. This would also account for the setback of having a month less of preparation for national standardized tests, such as Advanced Placement tests.