The Education Commissioner Is Recommending All Schools Start After Labor Day

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CCT – While the immediate situation may require cancelation of religious holidays, professional development days for teachers or even April vacation, Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester has urged superintendents to also think about the future.

In a memo from his office, Chester encouraged school officials in cities and towns to consider schedules that can accommodate more severe winters and either start before Labor Day, if they don’t already, or consolidate February and April vacations into one week in March.

Chester late last week put out an advisory for school administrators, informing them that they should not expect a blanket waiver from the state on the 180-day requirement for schools, which also requires 900 hours for elementary schools and 990 hours in secondary schools.

“Although the commissioner has the authority to reduce the student learning time requirements in extraordinary circumstances, that has always been a last resort,” Chester wrote in his last weekly update. “Districts should be making a good faith effort to adjust school calendars for the balance of the year.”

So let me get this straight. The Education Commissioner has the power to adjust the required days for school under “extraordinary circumstances”, but instead of doing that his answer is to recommend starting school before Labor Day? You can’t get any more irrationally reactionary than that. We’ve been over this.

What, pray tell, would constitute “extraordinary circumstances” if getting more snow in a two week period than we have ever gotten in the history of recorded civilization doesn’t? Sending students back to school before Labor Day isn’t just a morally bankrupt thing to do, it also screws up Cape Cod’s most important industry. People hightailing it off of Cape Cod to get their kids back to school eliminates one of the biggest weeks of the year for us.

You can’t just go changing shit like this in reaction to the worst snowfall in history. If it happens to rain more than usual this summer should we start school later to make up for it? No, shit happens, there’s no need to get all frantic. Mitchell Chester needs to remember that a quarter of a million people down here on Cape Cod rely on school starting after Labor Day.

Labor Day weekend is sacred to us for a ton of reasons Mr. Commissioner, maybe you should consider your entire state before coming up with these knee jerk reactions to a once in a lifetime event. I guess using the power to shorten the school year under “extraordinary circumstances” just makes too much sense. We wouldn’t want you to make a rational decision in accordance with an already developed policy, that would just be way too much to ask from a government official.

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