Md. Gov. Larry Hogan chooses tourism over education — again
Gov. Larry Hogan has doubled down in his bid to force Maryland public schools to fit 180 days of instruction (not to mention professional development, holidays and weather-related closures) into a school year that begins after Labor Day and ends by June 15. The policy — similar to Virginia’s so-called “King’s Dominion law” — was first introduced in August via executive order and described as a boon to tourism that would give families more time to relax on the beach. After school districts understandably balked, he issued a second executive order last week, making it more difficult for district officials to obtain waivers to his rule.
As education researchers, we condemn the governor’s interference in education policy and question the impact of extended summer holidays on the thousands of Maryland youngsters who do not spend the warmer months vacationing at tourist sites.
The potential economic bonus to Maryland’s beach communities by extending summer holidays through Labor Day comes at a substantial cost to young children. Disparities in achievement scores are seen as early as kindergarten. During the school year, children learn at the same rate, regardless of their families’ economic status — not so during summers.