Editorial: Back to School

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Most kids are enjoying their last couple weeks of summer, before heading back into the classroom and hitting the books. But how much longer you have depends on what town you're in. Cleveland schools start back on August 14th and now it seems like a different district starts each day…Akron schools start August 30th. Why can't all school systems be on the same calendar? There are a couple ideas that might work…

Personally, I like the plan at Columbia Local School in Lorain County. They're switching to a Labor Day to Memorial Day schedule. Superintendent Greg Bansek says they are making this possible by increasing the school day by 15 minutes AND by having fewer additional days off during the school year, which he hopes helps parents with babysitting issues. Bansek adds this will save the district around $50,000 a year.

All that makes sense to me, but others are making a compelling argument for year-round school. Kids in year-round schools attend classes for anywhere from six to nine weeks in a row, broken up by two- to four-week vacations. Around 3,000 schools in the United States are NOW on the year-round schedule. Here in our area, there are eight specialized schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District that do it that way.

Education experts say there are pros and cons to going to school year-round. The National Education Association says students tend to forget a lot during the summer break, so a shorter time away from school might help them remember more. It's a more efficient use of school space As WELL, BECAUSE OTHERWISE buildings are unoccupied during the summer. Some parents like year-round schooling because it is easier to schedule vacations, among other things.

Either idea seems to make more sense than the patchwork plan the area works under now, and if it really is a summer vacation, then trotting kids into schools that we have to pay to air-condition or don't have air conditioning in the second-hottest month of the year seems to be the worst of all plans.

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