Even though summer feels like it's still in full swing, kids across the country are gearing up for a return to the classroom. If nothing else, the back-to-school sales at every store are a sure sign that classes are resuming soon. So when does school start in 2018 for American kids? This simple question has a lot of answers, because there are drastically different school start dates all across the US.
The day your kid's school starts back depends entirely on your district's own calendar. Plus, because there are over 12,000 school districts in the United States, each with its own laws and guidelines about start times, the date of that first day back to school is different for kids across the country, as explained in CNN. In fact, it looks like there's about a three month spread between school start dates. For instance, students in Chandler, Arizona went back to school on July 23, 2018, as noted by the Chandler Unified School District calendar. Meanwhile, kids in Allendale, Michigan don't start school until September 4, 2018, as outlined on the Allendale Public Schools calendar. Why are there such huge discrepancies in the start dates? After all, I can imagine kids in Arizona petitioning to move to Michigan for the month of August, just to get a little extra summer in.
Local laws and regulations are part of the reason behind these varying school start dates. For instance, in order to start before Labor Day, schools in Michigan must submit a waiver, as noted in The Atlantic. That post-Labor Day start date is regulated as a way to protect the state's resort communities, which count on summer tourist money. However, more and more Michigan schools are starting before Labor Day now, as noted by the Holland Sentinel. An increase in the required number of instruction days is behind the change. "It’s just preferable for parents, students and staff to start a little bit earlier instead of going to school until mid-June or have really short breaks during the year," said Jim English, assistant superintendent of business services with West Ottawa. It looks like changing educational requirements may put added pressure on the few areas that still celebrate summer until past Labor Day.
In other areas, starting the school year as early as July makes the most sense for helping kids' education. "It is a good thing for kids and a good thing for learners that we start school early and have a shorter summer," said Allison Carmichael, principal at Gateway Polytechnic Academy, Arizona, in ABC 15. Kids have less time to forget important lessons over the long vacation (AKA summer brain drain), hopefully improving learning for everyone. The drawback is that soaring summer heat in Arizona sometimes makes indoor recess a necessity.
Basically, financial considerations and educational requirements alike can affect a school's start date. But chances are high that your kid's school year will crank up sometime in August, so hopefully you're all prepared for that important return to the classroom. Just remember that your kid is not alone. Although they might experience it on different days or even months, children all across the US are doing the same thing.