By Christopher Wong, Chief Editor
Recently, we all set our clocks back an hour, but a new district decision could cause our entire school district to move our schedule’s back almost an entire month.
Mary Hardin Young, the Sacramento City Unified School District’s (SCUSD) assistant superintendent, has recently been holding meetings in schools across the district asking if our school district should align our calendar to one like neighboring school districts and have school s
tart in August.
The board has already made an adjustment to the school calendar this year, when we started school before Labor Day for the first time. This caused summer break to be slightly shorter than usual, and moving the calendar to line up with other districts will cause a temporary period of shorter summers for one or two years.
Various other negative effects would occur as well. Many parents voiced their concerns over the run down facilities schools are placed in, which have not-so-reliable air conditioning. Students would be forced to endure the summer heat even longer.
This could also cause SCUSD’s carbon footprint to increase, as the air conditioning will be needed much more.
The district starting after Labor Day has also been a long-standing tradition that some would like to keep in place.
However, the issue wouldn’t be argued if there were only negative effects. Starting school earlier would also mean ending school earlier, which means students will be able to take more summer school classes at city college or apply for summer jobs earlier. The district will also be able to begin the hiring process of new teachers sooner, so the quality of teachers would supposedly increase. Extracurricular teams, such as sports, speech and debate, and marching band, would have more time to prepare and practice if the school year were to start earlier.
Starting earlier would also mean a clean break in the semester before Winter Break, meaning you don’t have two weeks to forget everything you learned before finals.
The biggest concern amongst all the meeting’s attendees was how this would affect the quality of the education. Many believe that starting the school year earlier would provide more time for the teachers to prepare students for high-stakes tests, such as AP tests and the SAT. This would make sense with more time, such as with the school teams. On the contrary, the LA Unified school district’s data showed that there was no improvement—in fact, actually a slight decrease—in test scores after moving the school start date up, and has since moved the date back by one week.
By no means is this an easy decision. “I’m certainly not expecting to do this again,” said board member Jay Hansen. The community is equally split, according to Janet Weeks, communication manger of SCUSD. She reported that the results of a survey on the district’s website showed an almost fifty-fifty split on the issue.
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