School start dates are back in the news. Radio Iowa reports “Branstad’s Department of Education to crack down on early school start dates.” More from Radio Iowa:
Administrators argue an early August start date allows for longer holiday breaks and lets schools in college towns synchronize their school schedule with the college. Branstad appears unmoved.
“All the studies and statistics I’ve seen show that having an earlier start date has not improved academic achievement,” Branstad says. “In fact, academic achievement has gone down in Iowa compared to other states like Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and a lot of other states in other parts of the country that have a much later start date.”
Last year, the Instructional Time Task Force was unable to reach a consensus about the start date issue although a majority favored local control of the start date.
A rules change could be in effect as early as the 2014-15 school year and would affect most Iowa school districts; The Gazette reports that ” in the past school year all but eight of Iowa’s 348 public schools were granted requests to begin classes in August.”
Update: The Gazette reports area administrator reactions.