At the present time here in Iowa we are experiencing a debate over when the school year should start. Unfortunately it has become politicized to the point that no one seems to be able to think straight.
It would seem that the major concern of school systems over the school start date is that student’s scores on testing will decline if tests are taken after winter break. Being of the old school of teaching three things immediately come to mind. First, if the students forget the material in two weeks they didn’t learn it in the first place. Second, If they did learn it and they can’t pass the test over the material after two weeks then the test was either poorly written or included such minutia that it didn’t really matter if they learned it anyway. Arcing over both of these points is the absolute truth that for many children not all learning takes place in school.
It is a terrible indictment of our schools that the driving force behind so many of our educational decisions are test driven rather than driven by real learning. It is not a coincidence that as the government gets more involved with education that the test scores have declined further. When did the decline in test scores begin to occur? What was the causative factor?
Get the government out of the classroom and let the teachers teach and test scores will improve, until that happens, no matter when school starts, test scores will continue to decline.