Education Policy Courtesy of the Hospitality Industry

How serious is Virginia about preparing itself for the globally competitive knowledge economy? Serious enough to jack up state support for K-12 education year after year with no accountability, but not serious enough to repeal the Kings Dominion law. As Joe Rogalsky at reminds us in an end-of-summer piece:

Virginia is the only state in the country that prohibits public schools from opening before the Tuesday after Labor Day without permission from the Virginia Board of Education. Local school systems and education advocates have urged legislators for years to remove the restriction. … The Richmond-area amusement park and other tourist attractions are major proponents of delaying classes until September because they rely on student workers.

Some day Virginia will get serious about education, but it won’t be any day soon.

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7 responses to “Education Policy Courtesy of the Hospitality Industry”

  1. Norman Leahy Avatar
    Norman Leahy


    I’m not convinced the amount of time children sit in a classroom, let alone when they begin or end their sentence, denotes how serious Virginia is about education.

    Rather, what matters most is how that time is spent. Right now, the majority is devoted to preparing kids for their SOLs. As my son begins the third grade (after Labor Day), this devotion will become all-consuming.

    I’m not at all convinced this is the best use of students’ time, teachers’ time or taxpayer resources. And I’m even more sure of this having witnessed the scatter-shot material Jack had to cover in the first and second grades. It was depressing, and maddening, to see the materials he brought home as it looked as though each new area of study was geared to a specific question on a test.

    But I suppose that’s what happens when the state decides to get “serious” about educating kids (itself an oxymoron because the state educates no one — teachers teach, kids learn and parents had best play their part to make sure both do their jobs).

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    More than 70 school districts have received waivers, but it still restricts the largest and they shouldn’t have to beg for permission. Several started actual classes on Aug. 20. Every teacher can tell you that the weeks after Memorial Day in the spring are a total waste of time for most students — they have mentally checked out. It’s time to end this farce and let the school districts decide for themselves.

    Wait, never mind — there is a wetback over there! That’s more important! Let’s go get him! (This is how they distract us…)

  3. Groveton Avatar

    Are the King’s Dominions of the world really trying to keep kids as employees or kids as customers?

    It seems to me that few high school aged employees of these theme parks live very far from the theme parks. So, why a broad based restriction on starting school?

    I assume that it’s more about keeping high school aged customers than keeping high school aged employees.

    Looking back on my own life, having a job while attending high school (and college) was as much of an education as the classes I attended and the tests I took.

    I am very much in favor of high school aged children holding jobs of some type (summer, part – time after school). However, I am not in favor of companies meddling in school policies in order to sell to high school aged students.

    Regarding the SOL – I like that program. I see that effort as putting some kind of structure around Virginia’s educational efforts. It also tries to establish a level of accountability that has been sorely lacking in education at all levels and in all places.

    People who oppose the SOLs never seem to have a better plan – they just don’t like the SOLs. Many educators want to return to the “mushroom management” approach used to manage parents and taxpayers – Keep them in the dark and feed them manure. As a parent (of 5) and a taxpayer, the old “mushroom management” approach is unacceptable. I am open to a new approach but I am not open to a return to the days of “Just trust us” from our politicians and educators.

  4. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    In Alexandria VA were serious about school. Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School students started on July 26.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Isn’t thsty why we have children — cheap labor?

  6. People who oppose the SOLs never seem to have a better plan – they just don’t like the SOLs

    I’m opposed to treating children as one heterogeneous unit. Some suits around a conference table in Richmond get to decide what every kid in VA should know at any given age, and you see that as healthy?

  7. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    No COD, suits in Richmond decide what knowlege a student should have at a given grade level. Big difference.

    And yes, it’s ‘healthy’ to have some accounting for what happened to $140,000 per child. Virginians got tired of (literal) illiterates with diplomas. The SOLs stopped that; diplomas mean something —something that can be measured— now.

    SOLs aren’t the perfect solution, but far better than what existed before. If you don’t like them, come up with a better way. I’m still waiting to hear better suggestions.

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