Last month in Edina, there was a tug of war between the school district and parents.
On one side, administrators want to start the school year one week earlier; on the other side, some parents want to have as many summer vacation days as possible with their children.
Parent Laurel Fishbach, who presented a petition reportedly signed by 385 district residents, said, "We need to know if we're going to give up a week of summer that it's really going to make a difference for getting into college and being a better learner.
"If the teachers need those days, every one of us are willing to give them up at Christmas, Thanksgiving and around President's Day. Please let everyone enjoy the month of August."
The Edina School Board ultimately decided to start the 2013-14 school year after Labor Day and the 2014-15 school year before Labor Day.
KSTP reported that after the board made their decision, parent Johnna Reich said, "It is our family, our memories, they just took that from us without a community vote."
For the 2012-13 school year, the Minneapolis Public Schools moved its start day to the Monday before Labor Day, in order to give teachers more teaching days before high-stakes state exams are given midway through the year. This year, the district is proposing an Aug. 26 start date for the same reason, and the school board could vote on the issue as early as Feb. 12.
In December, Northfield Public Schools discussed starting the school year in mid-August and ending it around Memorial Day. In January, the School Board decided to leave the school calendar as is—with school starting after Labor Day.
KARE 11 reported, "the Association of Metropolitan School Districts has long rallied for an earlier start date to the school year to give students an academic edge in an age of achievement gaps."
"The Minnesota Department of Education has tracked a rising trend of schools starting earlier over the past decade," according to the KARE story. "In the 2013 school year, 59 Minnesota districts started before Labor Day, it's more than double when compared to the 2003 school year, with 21 districts starting early."
A Star Tribune story said tourism leaders also are against an early school start. They say, "the August start will cut into prime resort traffic and State Fair attendance."
Now that you've read both sides of the debate, what do you think? Vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.