Mandan News

Pushing school past Labor Day

Layout 1 (Page 1)I have the urge to remind those who think our government of, for, and by the people is a sham run by rich politicians, of something called the initiative and referral process.

North Dakota’s constitution allows its citizens to initiate their own laws and refer laws made by their elected bodies (legislature, local commissions). To do either requires that enough citizens sign petitions to get the issue on the ballot. Anyone can create a petition, and the Secretary of State will help with the process of getting them in order, as well as verify that enough citizens signed them. So this would be a good time to ask, ‘where are you going with this Dan?’

Well, since you’re still with me here, I’ll assume your curiosity got the best of you. For quite some time, I’ve been harping about school starting before Labor Day, and it looks like we all will finally get a chance to vote on the issue. Last week, petitioners handed in enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. At this writing, the Secretary of State still has to verify the signatures, so there’s a slim chance the issue might not make it to the ballot.

But that’s never stopped me from prematurely hopping on my soapbox to express how I feel about school starting before Labor Day … I think it sucks.

This year, our neighbors in Bismarck decided to start after Labor Day, and Mandan decided to start during the last week in August. The school board members I have lobbied over the years on this issue just think it’s impossible to start after Labor Day, so my pleas have essentially been ignored. Thus, I’m looking forward to voting to make it a state law that school in North Dakota can’t start until after Labor Day.

My kids are no longer in school, but summer seems to end for all of us once school starts. More than likely, you know that winters really suck around here because they usually consume over six months of every year. On the other hand, summers last three months, with June being the most questionable month (it’s cold and rainy in June). So, summer really doesn’t get underway until July, and it usually lasts into early September, with August being the best month of summer.

And school starts in August? Hmmm, lets’ see, that means that families have to cut their vacations short or take them during a more inclement month. Medora, Ft. Lincoln and many other tourist destinations have to close before Labor Day because their businesses rely on summer help and family attendance.

So, we’re told that kids participating in sports, probably less than 20% of the kids in any school district, have to begin practice in early August, so school has to start earlier than Labor Day. I disagree, those kids can practice without having school start at the same time they do.

We’re told that schools need days off to conference/train their teachers, I agree with that. School boards also tell us they just can’t fit the required school days between Labor Day and Memorial Day … BS!

My limited observations of school days indicate that they have more days off than we ever had. My grandchildren have more four day weekends than I can count … it seems to me that schools can figure out how to fit required number of school days between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Maybe they should consult their math teachers to help with the arithmetic.

So, as you may now know, I think it’s time for those of us who think school should not start until after Labor Day to stand up and do something about it … remember to vote this November. Here’s hoping that whenever you stand up, you don’t find yourself out standing in your field.