Other Voices

When should Texas kids start school each year? Answer: at the same time

Monday, Aug. 13.

Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Monday, Aug. 20.

Thursday, Aug. 23.

This isn’t just a random list of weekdays; it reflects the patchwork of 2018 school start dates scattered across the state of Texas – from San Antonio to Lufkin, from Austin to Weatherford.

If, during the month of August, a family moves from one Independent School District to another — and even, perhaps, to the one next door — a child may suddenly be two weeks behind his or her new peers.

For years, the academic calendar has gradually encroached on summer by starting earlier in August and ending later into June. This unpredictability has serious consequences on dedicated family time, a child’s ability to participate in personally enriching activities during the summer, and seasonal businesses that rely on high school workers and crowds of tourists.

House Bill 233 would bring uniformity to the Texas school year by bracketing it between Labor Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, ensuring that students are guaranteed the months of June, July, and August to enjoy their summer break and providing the stability and predictability necessary for families and businesses to plan ahead.

Furthermore, Texas must remain a business-friendly state, and a uniform school start date boosts the state’s tourism and travel industry by creating jobs, encouraging family trips during the height of the summer, and bolstering demand for services, such as summer camps, that would normally be forced to close up shop early once kids are in class.

If you’ve ever been to a shopping mall or a Buc-ee’s on both a weekday in July and a weekday in mid-August, you can see the difference in action – when school is back in session, crowds and revenue dry up almost instantly.

Those who fear a loss of instruction time need not worry; school districts have plenty of time between Labor Day and Memorial Day to complete the required academic hours of a full school year, and studies have shown that the fear of a “summer slide” in students’ abilities is overblown and unfounded.

Our children receive an education from not only their teachers, but also their parents, and the summertime presents the perfect opportunity for kids to enjoy the experiential learning that classrooms are often unable to provide.

I have filed HB 233 in part because I know that our time with our children is precious, valuable, and never lasts quite long enough.

My five kids keep my wife Jennie and me quite busy during the summer months, but I would never have it any other way.

Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, represents District 93 in the Texas House of Representatives.