This story has been making the rounds down here in Alabama. A bill going through the Alabama Legislature would force school systems all throughout Alabama to not start school so early in August. The bill would mandate schools to start within two weeks of Labor Day. And the school year must end by the Friday before Memorial Day. The thought is that tourist areas especially in Mobile and Baldwin Counties would see more people taking vacations which would generate more tax revenue. But I am afraid if this bill is signed by Governor Bentley it will cause kids to become even more bored and parents will have to spend more money on day care for their kids. Not many of us can afford to take extra vacations down at the beach right now. So I do not know why the legislature would even consider such a bill.
At the same time this bill is being debated. A report has come out saying that most high school students are not ready for college when they graduate. Some of these figures are shocking. http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/05/alabama_chool_superintendent_t.html
Last year, 85 percent of 11th-graders passed the math portion of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam. However, on the ACT college entrance exam — required to get into most Alabama colleges — just 32 percent scored well enough in math to be considered college and career ready.
Eighteen percent of the state’s students scored high enough in all four categories of the ACT — English, reading, math and science — to be able to do college-level work, with 24 percent of white students and 3 percent of black students meeting the career and college readiness standards. Meanwhile, more than 95 percent of students who take the state’s graduation exam pass it.
A report released last week showed that 35 percent of Alabama’s high school graduates must take at least one remedial course when they enter public two- or four-year colleges in the state. Graduation rate in Alabama’s high schools is 65%.
So why are we wanting to shorten the school year in Alabama just to please some business owners in the beach areas? Are they addicted to cheap teenage labor? Do they think that having a longer summer vacation will make them more money. Or do they watch too much “Phineas and Ferb?” I think this bill is a huge mistake for the kids in Alabama. And there is another way to do things so that kids can have a successful future.
Schools needs to be in session longer throughout the year. That means summer vacation might need to be shorter. Alabama needs to stay competitive in a global economy. If anyone went to schools in China or Europe they would see how different things really are. Plus I would look on how taxpayer money is spent in schools. Do some school systems have too many overpaid administrators. Can some smaller school systems be combined to save money? How easy can it be to fire bad teachers? Or could some activities such as sports be cut back to save money and make kids learn better? Alabama has got to try new things so that kids can perform better in school!
This article by Marty Nemko is long but a good read on how to fix schools.
- Alabama school Superintendent Tommy Bice wants overhaul of state’s testing regimen (al.com)
- Report shows many Alabama high school graduates unprepared for college (al.com)
- Bill changing school start date has districts across Alabama scrambling to save student, faculty holidays (al.com)
- Alabama Proposal to Shorten School Year (wtok.com)