Hogan Orders Schools To Open After Labor Day

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As expected, Larry Hogan issued an executive order commanding all state public schools to delay opening until after Labor Day.

Larry Hogan said Wednesday he will issue an executive order requiring Maryland public schools to begin after Labor Day starting next year, likely launching a political fight.

“Most people think this is long overdue,” Hogan said. He added that local school systems that want to begin the year before Labor Day must apply for a waiver with the Maryland State Department of Education.
“School after Labor Day is now the law of the land in Maryland,” Hogan said.

If by “most people'” Hogan means Peter Franchot and Ocean City mayor Rick Meehan, then he’s correct. Otherwise, not so much.

A coalition of school officials and lawmakers have already promised to try to upend the effort.

One state senator has asked the state’s attorney general for a legal opinion on whether the governor has authority to issue the executive order. Another, the chairwoman of the committee that repeatedly killed legislation to mandate a post-Labor Day start, predicted the Democratic-controlled General Assembly would pass a law returning the school calendar decision to local districts.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a Calvert County Democrat, called the executive order “legally questionable.”

The state teachers union also had a few choice words for Hogan’s action.

“When it comes to our public schools, there’s one word that Gov. Hogan thinks of: cuts. Cuts to school funding, cuts to the school year—he prioritizes cuts over developing real, detailed strategies to reduce over-testing, close achievement gaps, and expand proven reforms like pre-kindergarten, after-school programs, and community schools.

“Forcing all schools to begin after Labor Day won’t help students do better—and research shows that it can worsen summer brain drain among students from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s abundantly clear that Gov. Hogan is more interested in grabbing headlines than employing research-backed solutions that could make a difference for students. Cutting back the school year and extending summer is not a solution to any education problem—it’s just another Gov. Hogan school cut. And it’s not only a cut—it’s a summer tax on the thousands of working families who don’t have the extra money or vacation time to spend in Ocean City but who will now be forced to scrape together hundreds or thousands of dollars annually to cover additional child care costs from a longer summer.

I highly doubt we’ve heard the last of this issue. It’s going to linger for many months, what with lawsuits, legislative proposals to undo Hogan’s action, and lots of bombastic oratory from all sides.

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