A Shot Over the Calendar Bow

Friday September 14, 2018

Politics in Georgia is certainly picking up steam as expected following the Labor Day Holiday.  The GAEL Legislative Priorities Committee under the leadership of Superintendent Robert Costley of Butts County is putting together a concise position platform that represents the legislative priorities of all of GAEL.  We will share that document with you when in become available later in the month.

This past week Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, took a shot across the bow of school leaders when he called for legislation that would ban school systems from beginning school each year before August 26 and requiring that the complete the school year by the Friday preceding June 11. Gooch and the members of his legislative study committee cite the economic impact of having school children and their families being able to vacation through the month of August.  The fallacy of that argument is that students attend school 180 days (except for a couple of exceptions) and they have 185 days away from school.  Whether vacation and travel come in August or during an October fall break, or a full week at Thanksgiving, or an extended Christmas break, the travel industry reaps the rewards.  Whenever it occurs, families will travel and spend cash.  The effort to start the calendar in August was in an attempt to finish the first semester before the Christmas break for educational effectiveness and having the opportunity for a fall break in addition to Thanksgiving has been ecstatically received across the state.

The truth is that every community and every school system is different.  They should be permitted to do what is best for their children and what is best for their community.  That certainly includes deciding about which school calendar is best for all concerned.

You can expect to see the Gooch legislation in the 2019 General Assembly.