by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Kudos to Michael Hicks of Union County Public Schools for his petition supporting school calendar flexibility.
This year, our county, Union County Public Schools, adopted a schedule where children came back to school early in August, had their exams and the 1st semester complete by the holiday break, then came back fresh for the 2nd semester after the holiday break in January.
It worked wonderfully, and parents, teachers, and students liked it much better than the old state mandated schedule of starting 1st semester exams after the holiday break in January. There was no need to waste valuable instructional time in January re-teaching everything for 1st semester exams.
Furthermore, our current schedule aligned well with a local community college where high school students could choose to take classes during the school day.
North Carolina is one of the few states that mandates public school start and end dates. While the NC House has always been receptive to school calendar flexibility, the Senate has refused to entertain calendar law changes. Opposition from the tourism lobby is one reason why.