More, Not Less Flexibility Needed

Too often, public school teachers and administrators are told by state legislature and Congress they simply must get better – and then they are informed of new rules that make it more difficult to do so.

One concern in most states is how many days children spend in public school classrooms. For various reasons, including inclement weather, many school systems don’t meet state-mandated requirements for instructional days. An obvious answer to that, implemented in many states, is to provide more flexibility in setting school calendars.

Now a few Ohio legislators want to place a new restriction on school calendars. Public schools should not be permitted to open for the year before Labor Day, they say.

Their reasoning? Brace yourself: Keeping children out of school until Labor Day each summer might help Ohio’s tourism industry, the lawmakers say. A longer summer vacation period could mean more dollars spent on tourism.

That is questionable.

Even if taking the step would mean a few additional dollars for tourist destinations, the tradeoff in potentially lost instructional days would be undesirable.

The lawmakers’ suggestion is one more example of school reform being demanded even as educators’ hands are tied with new mandates. That attitude has to end.