Post-Labor Day start hurts students

Does Maryland's governor realize the harm he's causing students?

I would like to thank The Baltimore Sun's editorial board for stating its disapproval of Gov. Larry Hogan's executive order requiring Maryland public schools to begin school after Labor Day ("Labor Day madness," Aug. 31). You did an excellent job stating the reasons why this executive order would not meet the educational needs of Maryland students.

But there are two arguments against the executive order you failed to state. First, the longer the summer vacation the more skills and content students lose. This is particularly true for elementary students who are trying to master basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic. A longer summer vacation means teachers will need to spend additional time at the beginning of the school year "re-teaching" skills and content instead of jumping into the new curriculum.

Second, not only will longer summers impact what students retain, they will also impact the physical well-being of our students. For many students in Maryland, the free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch they receive at school may be the only complete and nutritional meals they eat during the day due to their families' economic hardship. The reality is many Maryland students will not be able to take advantage of this extended summer vacation because their families are unable to afford the luxury of a vacation to Ocean City.

I am beginning my 30th year as a Baltimore County school teacher, and I feel Governor Hogan's executive order to extend summer vacation until after Labor Day will not be beneficial to the majority of my students.

Carolyn Dickerson, Forest Hill

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