Why NC Schools should start earlier in August
North Carolina has a rich tradition of tourism. From our sandy coast to high peaks in the mountains, to the Triangle, there is a lot to see and do in North Carolina. In 2012, the NC Senate introduced a bill to change the start and end dates of the school calendar. These changes were put into effect for the purpose of tourism. Due to these changes, school is pushed back further and further. In my opinion, school should start on August 13.
Senate Bill 187, passed in 2012, added many new additions to school calendar requirements, these mostly requiring a change in educational days from 180 to 185. However, according to Bill 187, public schools can start no earlier than August 26 and end no later than June 11, but Senate Bill 187 was not the start of this change. The major change occurred in 2004 when House Bill 1464 was introduced. House Bill 1464 began the change to the calendar for Public Schools. Senate Bill 187 is a predecessor to HB 1464. The larger issue from all of these bills though is the school start date.
While a start date two weeks later may not seem like a major issue, it is important to break down its effects. To begin, students break from school on December twenty-first with classes still in session. The use of session in this case means active grading and actively learning. Depending on the start date of the year, exams would not take place until January 12. This is a potential factor in low student performance. If schools would start just two weeks earlier, exams would be done before Christmas break, possibly resulting in a longer break. Starting two weeks earlier would also result in schools letting out by Memorial Day. This modified calendar was put into place for tourism as I stated above.
When looking at Buncombe County that encapsulates Asheville, NC, I observed the change in county revenue from the years 1991 to 2013. Economic growth had been positively increasing up until 2004. Upwards to 8.6% had seen an increase from the year before. Even after 2004 there was growth, but it’s important to understand that the percentage increase was minimal. The most growth at any point was a 1.77% change. From 2008-2009 economic growth actually decreased, -7.88%.
When we take a long into Brunswick County, we can see the same pattern. Economic growth that is sustainably noticeable, and while a massive increase spiked in 2004, this could be many factors. These could include new properties, attractions, and events. The data we are taking into account is not specific per interaction such as tourism. This adds all of the county revenue into one number.
The last county I studied was Carteret County. The county includes Morehead City, Newport, Cedar Island, Cape Lookout, and many more major tourist destinations. Looking at 2000-2004, there was no large growth for the County. In fact, there was a 5% increase in revenue every year, even after 2004.
If we take all of the data above into account, it is obvious that the state made a poor decision on moving the calendar start date. The fix to this would be moving the start date back to its original day. This would allow for better student performance, a longer Christmas break, and an overall happier State.
North Carolina Department of Commerce Travel Economic Impact Model
North Carolina General Assembly