Thursday, August 15, 2019

When do kids start school? As early as July or as late as September | Pew Research Center

When do kids start school? As early as July or as late as September | Pew Research Center

‘Back to school’ means anytime from late July to after Labor Day, depending on where in the U.S. you live

It’s the second full week of August, which means millions of American schoolkids are heading back to school or have already started. And depending on where you live, that statement might produce a reaction of either “That sounds about right” or “That seems way too early!”
When elementary and secondary students go back to schoolBack-to-school dates in the United States, it turns out, vary considerably by state and region, based on our analysis of a sampling of the nation’s 13,000-plus public school districts. By the end of this week, for example, nearly all elementary and secondary school students in the East South Central region – a Census Bureau division that includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee – will be back in school. But not a single district in the nine New England and Middle Atlantic states will resume classes before Aug. 26, and many wait until after Labor Day.
The prize for the earliest start date among the 500-plus districts in our sample goes to Arizona’s Chandler Unified School District, which serves part of suburban Phoenix. The 44,000 or so students in Chandler Unified went back July 23 (though they get the first of three two-week “intersession” breaks starting Sept. 30). At the other extreme are the Trenton, New Jersey public schools, whose nearly 14,000 students won’t go back to school till Sept. 9 – the latest opening date in our sample.
In the U.S., first day of school varies by region

Broadly speaking, earlier starts are more common in the South and Southwest: In a rough band of 13 states stretching from Arizona to Florida and up to South Carolina, 79% of the districts we examined will be back in school by the end of this week. Later starts are more common along the East Coast (from Maine to North Carolina), the upper Midwest (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan) and the Northwest (Oregon and Washington).
Historically, the tourism and hospitality industries have favored later back-to-school dates, arguing that they give families more time to take vacations and teenagers more time to work summer jobs. For example, since 1986 Virginia’s “Kings Dominion law” (named for the amusement park just north of Richmond) barred most schools in that state from opening before Labor Day. Earlier this year, the law was amended to permit districts to open up to two weeks earlier, so long as they also give students a four-day Labor Day weekend. Still, six of the 10 Virginia districts in our sample are starting their 2019-20 school years after Labor Day; two will open Aug. 26, one on Aug. 22, and one (subject to a special provision) on Aug. 12.
To get a sense of when students head back to school, we looked at the 10 largest local school districts by enrollment in each state (except for Hawaii and the District of Columbia, which have only one district apiece). We also examined additional districts in Texas, Florida and California, so that the final 509-district sample would include the nation’s 100 biggest districts. We excluded private and parochial schools, public charter CONTINUE READING: When do kids start school? As early as July or as late as September | Pew Research Center

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