House Panel Approves Earlier School Calendar

Legislation that would let North Carolina schools start the academic year two weeks earlier each August has cleared a state House committee.

The House Commerce Committee on Monday voted 14-10 to recommend the proposal to the full House, where a vote is likely this week.

The bill would allow public schools to open as early as Aug. 8. A 2004 law requires most schools to begin no earlier than Aug. 25 and end by June 10.

The tourism industry is fighting the change because it would cut into traditional summer vacations. Education groups think earlier start dates would allow for exams before the Christmas vacation.

The measure faces a Thursday deadline to pass the House or face a challenge to be considered in the next two years.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Kay Location: Carteret County on May 12, 2009 at 11:48 AM
    Yeah, let's start earlier in August so we can pay more money to the utility companies. More tax dollars going down the drain! We can teach kids who want to learn an awful lot IF we have receptive students and supportive parents. We don't need to start earlier in August. Boy, we sure do send some dumb people to represent us in Raleigh!
  • by Kay Location: Carteret County on May 12, 2009 at 11:45 AM
    At a time when the state needs all the tax revenue it can muster, moving the school starting date up in August makes very poor business sense! Maybe that is why NC is in such rotten financial shape. Maybe it is time to send some money savvy people to Raleigh!
  • by FedUp Location: Greenville on May 12, 2009 at 10:58 AM
    Why not leave well enough alone? This is just another knee jerk reaction! If teachers, parents, and students would do their jobs in the classroom, this problem would resolve itself. I agree that grades are more important but if the students were not allowed to goof off during class they may actually learn some thing. I graduated high school 19 years ago but we didn't have these problems. If we didn't do our work at school our teachers were allowed to punish us and when we got home the parents took care of any discipline problems we may have had. Now days if a teacher punishes a student or if a parent disciplines their own child they are looked at like they are abusers. Its school folks, not fun and games. Leave the calendars like they are and let the teachers regain control of their classrooms. Tell your local B.O.E. that we are tired of them telling us how to raise our children!
  • by Me Location: Washington on May 12, 2009 at 09:38 AM
    When I was going to school, we started the Tuesday after Labor Day and got out around Memorial Day. The classes were 30 students. We got a good education since there were not so many "breaks" in the year. I think this needs to be reconsidered. Everyone needs a vacation and how can you plan to have fun with a schedule like they are proposing. Where is the $$$ coming from for the AC to run in the schools?
  • by Sylvia Rouse Location: Bath on May 12, 2009 at 06:57 AM
    I think they should leave the time just like it is. They are always trying to mess up something. Families need the summer months to be able to do things with their kids. You can not get out in the cold months and have a good time and there is so much sickness going around. I think they should let the people decide and stop trying to pass laws that affect the families without us having any say so in the matter. Bring it before the people, but no, they will not do that because they know the parents don't want that. I hear they want to also change the age to be 5 by the start date of school; this will cause some kids to be almost six when they start. Leave well enough alone!!!! Maybe the parents should just home school their kids then let’s see how many teachers would lose their jobs then if there are no kids to teach who will have the say so then. It's time for the people to speak up. As far as exams, there is no reason they can not give exams before Christmas.
  • by Dwayne Location: Greenville on May 12, 2009 at 06:43 AM
    Exams more important than vacation is misleading. Exams are only the end product of previous work. The work that precedes the exam is the important part. We're raising a generation of test takers. Do the work, (emphasis work) the test results will reflect that. 2 weeks early start is not going to make a noticable difference.
  • by hope Location: NC on May 12, 2009 at 06:33 AM
    Has anyone in charge considered the cost of cooling all of the school buildings during the month of AUGUST? Wouldn't it be better to leave them out on summer break whilst it is so hot? May is a much milder month in which to regulate a classroom temperature. Just a thought as it seems so simple to even me. Maybe somebody should send a ouiji board, some dice, and tarrot cards to Washington, as surely the outcomes could not be much different. (sorry, couldn't resist the dig...) Many kids are not learning, fix that problem first...
  • by ace Location: plymouth on May 12, 2009 at 05:19 AM
    We know where the .5% pay cut for government employees is going. It will pay for the added fuel cost for busses and air conditioning.
  • by HELLO! on May 12, 2009 at 05:17 AM
    They are not cutting your vacation short! Vacation will start earlier if school starts earlier! If you start school two weeks earlier, it ends two weeks earlier. Like around Memorial Day- when the weather is actually enjoyable at the beach, and vacation rentals are more affordable. If they were truly lengthening the school year, they would have to pay teachers more money, which we do not have right now. And yes, exams ARE more important than your vacation! Where are your priorities?
  • by Rhonda Location: Bogue on May 11, 2009 at 10:16 PM
    I guess exams are more important than what kids need or what parents want or for that matter what parents think is best for their kids. Our children are under more stress than we ever were to be more academically competative; to grow up faster. Can't we at least give them a long summer break, with weather that has actually turned summer-like, to just be kids. Go to the beach, go on summer vacation with their families (God forbid some of us would actually like to spend the summer on the beach with our kids), and then not have to start back to school until the weather is cooling down again. And the retailers do need the kids until late August because alot of the tourism here is from people in states where legislators haven't given in to the "earlier is better" propaganda. Besides, if kids were really learning what they were being taught a couple weeks break before exams wouldn't matter giving those struggling a couple of weeks to study if there exam grades are really a concern.
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