- July and early-August school start dates create headaches for working parents who need quality child care during additional breaks throughout the school year. The vast majority of educational programs for children outside of the classroom can’t be offered during non-summer months because the college students needed to staff them are back in school themselves.
- Valuable instructional time is lost in the days preceding and following each break in the school calendar. When their routine is disrupted, children require time to readjust.
- As school starts have crept into July from Labor Day, children are no longer able to participate in church or civic-sponsored summer programs, attend summer camps or be part of summer programs sponsored by local Park and Rec Departments.
- No academic benefits from early school starts have been shown to exist, in fact, schools in top-performing states start classes later than schools in Tennessee. The top 10 academic states, in four commonly used state education ranking systems, have two things in common - they begin the school year in late August or early September and administer semester finals after the winter break.
- Local school systems should be allowed to set their own school calendars. Holidays, teacher workdays, fall breaks, winter breaks, spring breaks and semester tests should all be set at the local level. Setting an earliest start date for K-12 public schools in Tennessee would continue to allow that.
- When the school year begins in July or early August, many school districts have low student attendance the first few weeks of school. School systems across the state were losing hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece each year due to the low attendance during the first 40 days of the school year when attendance figures were calculated and used to determine state funding. From an instructional point of view, it's obvious that even the best teachers can’t teach students who aren’t in class.
- Prior to passage of a late-August school start bill in Texas, research found over 250,000 students not in school on the first day of class. The year following the law’s implementation, attendance on the first day of school increased 60%.
- Schools are compared to each other based on students’ performance on standardized tests given in the spring. Tests are given at the same time statewide. That comparison is only fair if each school has the same amount of time to prepare students for those tests.
- Tulsa, Oklahoma Public Schools moved their school start date from August 19 to the day af-ter Labor Day and saved approximately $500,000 through reduced utility costs. When local school systems increase their operating efficiency, the savings become available for teacher salaries, classroom supplies and educational programming.
- Studies in Texas and North Carolina have found early school start dates cost their economies hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
- Giving children their summers back would also raise revenues without raising taxes. A South Carolina study estimates over $8 million in lost state and local tax revenues due to early school starts.
- In the summer of 2004, the North Carolina legislature passed a law requiring schools in that state begin classes no earlier than August 25th. North Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia and Texas all enforce school start date laws. Many other states are considering them, including, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota, Arizona and Alabama.
- Federal law requires parents be notified of the academic status of their children’s school before school starts so they might transfer from failing schools.
- Kids today no longer need to attend classes on the agriculturalbased school calendar that our grandparents remember from the early 1900s and the Great Depression, when schools were regularly closed down in the spring and fall so children and teachers could work on farms and help with the planting and harvesting.
With minor adjustments in scheduling, Tennessee school systems can save money, help give children and families more opportunities for learning and growth, help grow Tennessee’s economy, increase government revenues without increasing taxes, ensure continued receipt of federal dollars for education, provide parents and students with the information and options promised them by federal law and still complete fall semester before Christmas if they so desire. All this can be achieved with no negative impact on student achievement.