Governor Sununu says requiring all school districts to start the school year after Labor Day would help bring the state's education system into the 21st century, and help the economy.
“We talk about innovation in schools; we talk about 21st century – well, I think it's time that we start looking at the calendar,” he said on The Exchange.
Sununu sparked a statewide discussion recently by proposing the legislature consider mandating all districts to start after Labor Day. He says he's heard from many who support his idea: “I can’t walk out of the statehouse without someone grabbing me on the street, saying how much they like the idea.”
Seasonal businesses would see many benefits, Sununu said, potentially boosting the state's economy. “Does it help the tourism business? Of course it does. Find someone down on Hampton Beach that wouldn’t love this idea. It would put tens of millions of dollars into our economy. It would allow kids to keep their summer jobs longer.”
He said many educators agree with him. “I've had a lot of teachers come up and think this is a great idea…they've told me, ‘Well, the first three days are just these kind of warm-up days, nothing really happens.’”
But Meghan Tuttle, of NEA-NH, disagreed.
"Those three days in the beginning of the school year…I can tell you as a teacher, there is a lot that goes on. You're building rapport with the kids, you're setting up the climate for the rest of the year, and you are doing things with them. It's not three days of just sitting there and looking at each other. There's a lot of work that actually goes into those three days.”
Tuttle said education considerations should come first when considering such a change.
“It has to come back to what is the best for the education of the kids in New Hampshire. And, yes, this is going to help business, I don't think anyone would disagree with that --but what is best for the education?”
For the full conversation, which includes discussion of a severe bus driver shortage affecting the state -- causing one community to delay the start of school for two weeks and another to begin class at ten o'clock, click here.