A bill in the Ohio House would delay start of school year until after Labor Day as a way to boost the tourism industry in the state.
Certainly, students might favor this. Teachers, too; the dog days of August typically are hotter than early June, and not all schools have air-conditioning systems.
Yet some schools start before Labor Day in order to finish before Memorial Day. Next school year, scheduling 180 days of instruction after Labor Day would have students attending after Memorial Day, possibly into June, depending on length of spring break.
The bill's authors acknowledge this. That's why the proposal would measure a school year by hours, not days, spent in instruction.
This is where the bill may need to be revised. It would require students in upper grades to be in class at least 1,001 hours during the school year. Students in lower grades would be in class fewer hours.
Most schools now are in session roughly seven hours a day, including lunch. One school board member told the House Education Committee the bill would allow the district to shorten its school year by up to five weeks.
Students might rejoice, but the quality of their education could suffer as the quantity of time spent in class declines.
But, as it is written, the measure might not have much impact. It would allow a school district to set its own calendar by conducting a public hearing and having the school board vote on a date for classes to start. This isn't vastly different from the way school calendars currently are set.
If the goal is to increase educational time - and, thus, quality - and allow schools greater flexibility in scheduling, perhaps we need a bill that allows districts to plan year-round school. But this proposal seems to be aimed at maximizing summer vacation, when knowledge escapes idle minds.