Does new spring break shrink justify possible student boycott?


As the school year is upon us, students are noticing major changes to the school calendar. On Aug. 31, 2016, Governor Larry Hogan established an executive order for the time frame of the school year. The new calendar, although designed to improve the educational needs of Montgomery County Public Schools, creates difficulties throughout the year such as a shortened spring break.
The new calendar gives additional days off for Muslim holidays. School also starts later, which is appreciated by some students. “I like the new calendar because we start later and I like that we get days off for religious holidays because I would have to miss school, if they didn’t,” junior Amy Kraft said.
Although students get to start later and get days off for certain holidays, teachers are suffering from the new calendar. There are fewer teacher work days during the year. Teacher had five teacher work days before school started and in 2017, teachers had eight days before school started to prepare for the school year. “I do like that school starts after Labor Day and ends in the middle of June, however it gives teachers less professional and planning time during the year and I am fearful we may lose spring break,” sociology teacher Barbara Barry said.
This year, spring break is only four days. Last year, spring break was six days long. In some cases juniors and seniors utilize spring break to visit colleges they are interested in. Since students are not given enough time to travel, visit colleges, or just relax, they may have to miss instructional school days. “I was really upset when I heard about the new calendar, because I was planning on going on college visits during spring break but now since it’s shortened, it will be more challenging to plan and I won’t be able to visit as many as I would like or I will have to miss school, which will mean I will fall behind,” junior Sabrina Shah said.
The new calendar only gives two emergency closing days. If there are more than two emergency closing days, the school board will cut into summer or spring break. The Board of Education has to decide if make up days are necessary and the days in which they would take place. “I am not a huge fan of the calendar because I love having snow days but I don’t want the school board to take any days away from summer or spring vacation,” junior Yuvi Singh said.
Although the new calendar does not please most students, there is not much students can do. As long as Larry Hogan remains Maryland governor the new calendar will not change. If students are upset about the calendar, they could boycott the spring break days students should of gotten off. But that means students would miss important instructional school days. Students and teachers should accept the new policy and understand that it was created with good intentions.