- School starts in August or even July for many schools
- Educators say test prep and learning patterns are improved by earlier start dates
Daphne Sashin is a producer with the CNN social discovery team. Reach her on Twitter @dsashin.
(CNN)First came the summer camp promotion from the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, crashing like a brick into my inbox June 17.
OK, so when did August become the new September?
Why start before Labor Day? Do schools hate summer?
- An earlier start date gives teachers more instructional time before statewide assessment tests in the spring. Several experts agreed that this is one of the biggest factors pushing calendars back.
- Beginning in August allows students to complete the first semester before the December holiday break, rather than taking tests and turning in big projects after two weeks off. Teachers don't have to spend time reviewing material in January when they should be starting new lessons. Those were some of the reasons given by the Los Angeles Unified School District when it moved up its start date in 2012.
- Starting early allows for a fall break in September or October and a winter break around February, in addition to breaks around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Teachers are happier and kids behave better when they have more breaks throughout the year, said Rebecca Kaye, the Atlanta Public Schools policy and governance adviser, who makes the yearly calendar. "Learning is hard work, and teaching is hard work, and people need breaks," Kaye said. "We have gotten feedback from our employees that they need that time."
- When you start after Labor Day and end school in June, that last month is simply not taken as seriously. "That end of the year is perceived as being time that is sometimes not used to the maximum value," Kaye said. And in fact, when Atlanta schools ended in June, a lot of kids simply didn't show up after Memorial Day. "Even though we were having school after Memorial Day, people had it in their minds that school ended. It may seem ridiculous, but that's what happened."
- Many graduating students and staff members take summer courses at colleges and universities. Ending school around Memorial Day creates fewer conflicts for them.