2019 UPDATE: Traditional Summers
Hanging by a Thread
During the 2017 session of the NC General Assembly, over 50 bills
aimed at changing the 2004 School Calendar Law were introduced .
The 2019 session is just getting underway, and school boards across
North Carolina are chomping at the bit to go at it once again. As
of January 9, the Franklin County School Board and Board of County
Commissioners has already approved a resolution supporting regaining
total control of school calendars. This resolution will now be
sent to local representatives in the General Assembly.
That sounds like a good idea but it's
not, and here's why.
Prior to passage of the School Calendar Law in 2004, the vast majority
of school systems across North Carolina were opening their doors
very early in August. Parents' and teachers' pleas to have a more
traditional school calendar as an option were being ignored and/or
ridiculed. That's why the grassroots non-profit, Save Our Summers
- North Carolina formed, and why it took the matter to the General
sure to Click Here for a more complete historical record of SOS-NC.
As the law has been challenged every year since its passage, SOS-NC
has been there to advocate for educators, parents, and other concerned
citizens who have needed, not just wanted, the option of being able
to attend a school with a more traditional calendar. Their arguments
were, and still are, valid and solid, and
can be found at this link.
In 2013, the calendar law changed to provide more flexibility,
which school systems and administrators had been requesting for
years. Changing the attendance requirement from "185 days"
to "185 days OR 1,025 hours of instruction" was a major
boon to NC school systems.
The required school start and end dates changed as well, with the
law currently reading as follows: "Start date no earlier than
the Monday closest to August 26 and end date no later than the Friday
closest to June 11 (unless a weather-related calendar waiver has
been approved, year-round school, charter school or cooperative
innovative high schoo). If waiver is approved the start date can
be no earlier than the Monday closest to August 19."
Provisions are even in place now to grant start and end date waivers
to qualifying low-performance schools. In 2017, The NC State Board
of Education voted to allow 19 schools to take advantage of this
Our state now has choices so that families can decide what is best
for their particular situation. Save Our Summers - NC is all about
preserving a more "traditional" school calendar as one
of those choices. But the School Calendar Law is under attack. Opponents
and their lobbyists are convincing legislators that this is a "local
control" issue. But there is no guarantee that, given the chance,
school systems would not return to abusing their power. Besides,
local control to Save Our Summers - NC starts and ends at the grassroots
level, not with administrators and lobbying groups.
Please don't be lulled into complacency because the School Calendar
Law has been in place, and has "worked" for almost 15
years! The option of a more traditional school schedule for your
family could disappear with the swift stroke of a pen. Let your
legislators hear from you. Tell them that you support the efforts
of Save Our Summers - North Carolina to keep the School Calendar
Law intact. Senators and representatives have shared with us that
they are only hearing from opponents of the law. Please, please
help us change that.