Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reasons Why Iowa Schools Should Start After Labor Day

OK~ There's a hot topic in Iowa right now and it's all about when to start the school year. For several years the state of Iowa has had a law that stated that school districts needed to start classes after Labor Day. Here's where the problem lies. The majority of school districts in Iowa applied for a waiver to start before Labor Day and were allowed too. What's been interesting, is the fact that school districts were starting classes earlier and earlier every single year.




So, you are probably now asking, "Who cares?" I can tell you that there are several families in Iowa that care. I grew up participating in 4-H activities for 10 years, as it was a huge part of my life. The Iowa State Fair is part of Iowa, who we are, and what we are about. With the school start dates moving towards the first half of August, many families have to opt out of participating in the Iowa State Fair. This means, if you are a 4-H'er who wants to show animals or participate in the Iowa State Fair, you can't; as you have to attend school. This also impacts FFA members.



I hear from many folks say that this should not matter, as very few kids are in these programs. Now, if that's the attitude that folks are going to have, the program will have fewer kids in them. These programs teach life skills that go on for years. There is a lot of value there. The leadership experience that 4-H gave me was something that I was never able to find in the public school system.

Do people not realize that a lot of money funnels through the tourism industry in August? August is still warm, people want to swim outdoors, people want to experience those fun outdoor activities that cannot be done during many months in Iowa. Let's grab the tourism money while we can, as it's a short season. The money that the tourism industry brings in is vital to our state. And yes, the older I get, the more I realize how money revolves around everything!

My boys are out of school, and I said this over and over while they were in school. The school buildings are hot in August and they are much cooler in June. When sweat is dripping from ear to ear, there's not a whole lot of learning taking place. June is also typically not great weather for outdoor swimming pools, so it would make sense to utilize those pools when the heat is on.

Iowans should be proud of the awesome 4-H and FFA programs that are in our state. Let's give our kids the opportunity to showcase their skills at the Iowa State Fair and not make families choose between school or the Iowa State Fair. And then there is the argument that many kids have nowhere to go in the summer, so school would be better. Really? The last I counted, 180 days is 180 days. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

6 comments:

  1. So true! I remember sending the boys to school in North Carolina in the heat of those early start months and it was miserable. It makes sense, especially for agricultural states, to be able to have the option to allow their kids the opportunities to show their skills without penalty. Thumbs up!

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    1. I do think that all of this discussion will lead to year around school, which may be the best option to meet the needs of families.

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  2. As a parent, I'm torn. The district that my boys go to have all air conditioned schools, so the heat issue doesn't bother me anymore. I think we can find a happy medium between starting during the state fair and after Labor Day. Our family is heavily involved in baseball and some nights those games go until 9 or 10. I don't want to have fight the battle of getting them up the next day after a late night. I think there are more than 2 sides and opinions and I think there are more than 2 options. Every family is going to feel differently about it because we all have different priorities.

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    1. I think we are getting closer to year round school.

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  3. I'm a public school teacher in Michigan. In Michigan schools must start after Labor Day by law, although there are some waiver situations such as year around schools, but for the most part all schools start after Labor Day now. It's primarily because of tourism dollars & makes a huge difference to our state's economy. I personally like it - schools save a lot of money by not having to run the A/C (or install it).

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    1. Kudos to you for being a teacher and making a difference!

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