Government and Politics

Hogan’s Back to School Order Means a Time Crunch for Many Maryland Districts


back-to-schoolOnly about eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually accomplish those goals, but New Year’s isn’t the only time to make resolutions.

Back to school season is upon us, and teachers and students alike are setting back to school goals for the year. However, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order requiring schools to push back their start dates may make it difficult for both educators and students to reach their goals this academic year.

Earlier in the summer, Hogan put forth an executive order for schools to postpone reopening until after Labor Day. However, with the postponement, teachers are faced with cramming an entire year’s worth of material into a now shorter time frame.

Many students may not see the importance of first-week materials, but it’s a crucial time for teachers, who now must speed up the process.

Not only that, but Hogan’s executive order also requires that all schooling be done no later than June 15.

Many schools are worried that the cut in school days will force them to shorten student breaks and even cut teacher training days throughout the year.

“You really force those districts that are currently starting before Labor Day or going after the 15th to compress the school year,” Jennifer Steele, an education professor at American University, told WTOP.

The situation may cause particularly bad headaches with those districts that have gradually lengthened their school year over time.

“We don’t support this change,” said Chris Lloyd, president of the Montgomery County Education Association. “We have concerns about the extended summer vacation.”

Under the new mandate, summer vacation would be extended to 11 weeks instead of the traditional eight.

Some students may be rejoicing, but with the new changes, they may be facing more difficult learning challenges than ever before.

Fortunately, some students were already off to a great start this school year with free haircuts from the Kids Safe Zone.

During their second annual Back to School Festival, local barbers offered free haircuts to students going back to school.

“For us, it is doing everything we can to help these families, produce better students, produce better people,” said Ericka Alston-Buck, founder of Kids Safe Zone. “We know when children feel better about themselves, they do better. So a new hair cut will have these boys feeling better about themselves, and a positive attitude towards school.”

After the festival ended, the Kids Safe Zone transformed from a summer rec facility into an after school program.

The organization aims to provide a safe space for children in the Baltimore area, as well as a space where they can continue to learn outside of school.

Meanwhile, efforts are being made to oppose Hogan’s new order.

“The time and money spent on these negotiations would be better spent on educating our 870,000 public school students,” the Maryland Association of Boards of Education said in a statement.

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