Saturday, August 05, 2006

Everything old is new again

A few decades ago, it would have been unthinkable for Alabama's public schools to start back before Labor Day. But lately, due in large part to a desire to cram in as much book-learning as possible before the high-stakes standardized tests that politicians treat like the be-all and end-all of education, some systems barely wait for July to end before filling their classrooms anew.

Many state parents and teachers are fed up and are pushing the Legislature to bar local systems from beginning before at least mid-August. Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, has emerged as the point man on the plan, which, as he notes, would cut down on utility costs and help the tourism industry. One drawback, of course, would be the danger that longer summers could increase students' forgetfulness, but as a longtime teacher noted, the two months many students get off now is still plenty of time to forget things.

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