PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When the school year began only three of Allegheny County’s 42 public school districts held their first day of class after Labor Day.
State Rep. Bob Godshall, of the 53th District, north of Philly, thinks no one should be in class before Labor Day and has introduced a bill to make that law. He says Mansfield University did a study, “and it was overwhelming. The people of Pennsylvania said this is what we want.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” says Dr. Linda Hippert who heads up the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, which works with the public schools in Allegheny County. “For many children, including those in some of our poorer school districts, the worst thing we can do is delay education and let it start even later than it does.”
Rep. Godshall says the Labor Day weekend is a big family vacation time and young people who have to go back to school in August miss out on good summer jobs.
“If they can’t pledge to work the whole season they don’t get a job,” he says.
Dr. Hippert says the change would push more districts schedules into late June and negatively impact summer programs. But Rep. Godshall says the districts have enough spare days in the year to absorb the August days without extending school.
Dr. Hippert says there may be some areas that do this but, “it’s like going back in time, and we need to think about education differently.” In fact she says schools should be moving towards less summer vacation, “so that less academic information is lost during that break.
This is not the first time Rep. Godshall has introduced this same measure, but has never gotten any traction for it in the past.
HB72 is not in committee and there’s no indication whether there is enough support to get it passed.