Labor Day School

In the news: as school systems open their doors earlier and earlier in August, North Carolina 's tourism industry says their business is being hurt. Accordingly, the industry is backing a bill that would prohibit most schools in the state from opening back up before Labor Day. That's understandable. No doubt, it would have the backing of most students as well.

It's also understandable that the school systems see buildings that sit idle, books unread, and experiments not done for three months every summer as a waste. That's why some systems opt for what is called "year-round" school. That doesn't mean that students go to school all the time. It means they attend at different times of the year. That relieves overcrowding, and gets 100% use out of the building over its lifetime. (Year-round schools and those in the mountains, who must build-in "snow days," would be exempt.)

Summer vacation, as it was euphemistically called, grew out of the need for farm kids to be available as agricultural labor. Some of them, tired of cropping tobacco, chopping cotton, picking cucumbers, et cetera, were probably glad to see Labor Day roll around, so they could push a pencil instead of plowing. But, with schools operating until mid-June and then picking up again in late-August, that limits a family's options for a real vacation. And, it takes food off the table, so to speak, of people who depend on them to take one.