Jamie Kim staff writer
Unhappy with the date on which school starts, and hoping to push back the first day of school, a petition, called “Save our Summer, BHUSD” was begun anonymously on Aug. 31.
With 552 supporters as of Sept. 14, this petition claims that starting school in the first week of August is too early. One of the main reasons is that summer programs, which generally span from mid-June to mid-August, and summer vacation, which is from late May to early August, do not align.
The petition states, “Most quality programs begin at the end of June and go to mid-August…This is about the kids. It’s about not blocking them from participating in programs (educational, recreational and developmental) that have been proven to be integral to child development.”
Another concern the petition raises is that the new calendar benefits only the Advanced Placement (AP) students. One of the reasons the board started school two weeks earlier was so AP students could have more time to study and learn the material before the May AP exams.
According to the petition, “This calendar change solely benefits the AP and college bound students – and only to an extent. In reality, it doesn’t serve the other five-sixths of the school population (10th grade and down to kindergarten).”
School board president Dr. Brian Goldberg, to whom the petition is addressed, believes otherwise. He says that the changing the school year to early August to late May was issued for pivotal reasons, including matching the end of first semester with the start of winter break and helping AP students perform better.
“In the recent debate over calendar issues and the start of the school year, many misleading statements have been made with regard to Advanced Placement (AP) courses that I hope the following research [from http://collegeready.rice.edu/ap-and-college-readiness] will shed additional light on,” Goldberg said. “As I have said repeatedly, the early start in August [for] the next two years has nothing to do with my rationale for moving the calendar up. In fact, I agree that we can and we should look at starting no earlier than the 15th of August any year, but we do need to set the record straight regarding AP classes.”
In the comment section of the petition, numerous supporters explained why they were in favor of starting school late August/early September.
“[I decided to sign the petition] because my sister goes to a private school called Crossroads. They go back to school in September, which ruins our summer vacation since I go back to school in August…I’d rather start just two weeks later, so it would be a lot easier for my family,” sophomore Jackson Stewart said.
The petition sheds light on a different perspective on why this year school started Aug. 11, and why next year it will start Aug. 8, but Goldberg hopes that the community will understand why the current change was more favorable.
“As a professor of Political Science and an elected official, I support and encourage political participation but I do not make decisions based on petitions. I take the public’s comments into consideration but being an effective board member and leader sometimes means going against what is popular over what is in the best interest for the district,” Goldberg said.