BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Palm Beach County School District’s proposed 2020-2021 calendar which starts school on August 10th is outrageous, solidifying the county as a third rate school system that just can’t handle a mix of urban education with affluent suburbs. It also shows that the school district can’t play nicely with the rest of the country, like the power corridor from Washington to NY, where top rated schools routinely start after Labor Day.
At the risk of being completely politically incorrect, the August 10th start is a slap across the face of parents who value sending their kids to overnight camp out of Florida, summer education programs at elite schools, teen tours across the country and other experiences that involve commingling with kids who are growing up in a more normalized society — one that values public education over the size of the club house in your gated community. Simply put: kids learning to associate with kids who aren’t growing up here is an important part of development and helps “keep it real.” Adopting a school schedule that makes that nearly impossible is not okay.
Maybe it’s time to split up the Palm Beach County School District.
School Districts in the northeast and mid-atlantic are largely comprised of a few schools each. A superintendent and the school board make decisions that best reflect the needs and values of the communities the school district serves. In suburban Philadelphia, three of what are considered the best school districts in the country start after Labor Day — Radnor, Tredyffrin-Easttown and Lower Merion. Each school district has just a handful of schools. Kids have some of the best SAT scores in the United States and graduation rates hover around 99 percent. They also have a few days off at Thanksgiving, are back at school on January 2nd or 3rd, and, perhaps to the surprise of the Palm Beach County School District — still go to school for 180 days a year. In Palm Beach County, starting in August yields a full week off at Thanksgiving, nearly three full weeks at Christmas, and an inexplicable number of days off throughout the year that do nothing but create childcare problems for professional parents while padding the calendar and interrupting educational momentum.
And for what?
An August 10th start date accomplishes nothing but creating a child care problem in mid-May when school would presumably end — (camps don’t start in May) — and preventing children from taking part in growth activities that fit the school calendars of the vast majority of the rest of the country.
We call on the Palm Beach County School District to try something novel for the school district: be smart. Just because the Florida Legislature says you *can* start on August 10th doesn’t mean you should. It is becoming increasingly clear that from overcrowded schools to reductions in extracurricular activities, principals with questionable experience to FSA practice tests being distributed with grammatical errors, the Palm Beach County School District is a rudderless ship heading towards an iceberg. Starting school on August 10th doesn’t solve those problems. It amplifies bad choices being made by those entrusted with the education of our children.
Child education shouldn’t be limited to a classroom. Let’s not deprive our children of important life experiences by time shifting summer.
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