Why must school year be 180 days long?

It seems the biggest problem with starting school after Labor Day is getting all the other competing needs for days off to fit in the 180-day mandated school year (“Baltimore County’s ‘common sense’ school calendar,” Nov. 8). Why is 180 days required? Illinois requires 175 days, Michigan 165 days. California requires 180 days, but each district has flexibility to go to 175 if needed. Some states have no “mandated” number of days.

No one could argue with a straight face that Maryland students are “better educated” than students from Michigan, California or Maine (175 days). It’s hard for a rational person to believe that 180 days per year is the precise recipe for educational success. Maybe more would be better. Why not 200 days?

Make the school year 177 days. The students could start after Labor Day, the teachers could have professional days and students could observe the Jewish holidays. And the students’ proficiency with basic math and verbal skills will be no worse than it is now.

R. Mark Schulz, Salisbury

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