EGP wholeheartedly agrees with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s decision to start its 2015-16 school year one week later.
Starting a new school year during August, the hottest month of the year, was never a good idea, but at least now students will have one less week to contend with it.
For generations, the traditional start of the new school year was in September, after the Labor Day Holiday. The earlier start date keeps students and their families from enjoying the end of summer as a unit, which is not a good thing.
More importantly, while a majority of LAUSD schools are now equipped with air conditioning, oppressive summer heat, 90-degree plus days, are not conducive to ideal learning conditions, before, after or during school hours.
Many homes lack air conditioning, especially in low-income communities where in today’s expensive housing market it’s not uncommon for multiple people, sometimes more than one family, to be sharing cramped living spaces. Trying to study and keep up with schoolwork when it’s cool outside is tough enough, but even harder when the heat is on.
We understand the argument that starting earlier is intended to better align student’s schedules with college application deadlines and to end the first semester before winter break.
But it seems to us there are other options available, including limiting in-service and pupil free days and extending the school year later into June when temperatures are milder.
In any case, we don’t think students are up to doing their best work when subjected to boiler room conditions and poor air quality, always worse during the summer.