The Water Cooler – Going Back to School Before or After Labor Day?

August 1, 2014 12:00 pm · 46 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

A few years ago, schools in the MDUSD used to end summer break after Labor Day, but now, they return to school before Labor Day.

Which one do you prefer? Do you think summer break should be a couple of weeks longer?

Talk about it….

1 Dee August 1, 2014 at 12:07 PM

School should start after Labor Day like it had for so many years. People still plan on being away and so when they keep the kids out the schools money for that student is lost. In addition why just get the kids started and then take a 3 day break? Stupid!

2 Just need a change August 1, 2014 at 12:09 PM

I think school should be 9 week on then 2 weeks off ALL THE time.

I think having such a long time off in the “summer” is not good.

3 anon666 August 1, 2014 at 12:18 PM

I think school should go all year.

4 Silva August 1, 2014 at 12:19 PM

I no longer have a horse in this race, but when I did, and they changed the starting date in our district (Oakland Unified) my kid started late a few times. We were still on vacation.

5 CaliCole August 1, 2014 at 12:23 PM


6 Skyscraper August 1, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Back when school started after Labor Day, Thanksgiving week consisted of regular school Monday through Wednesday with Thursday and Friday off. The problem the school districts encountered with this in recent years were modern parents who took their children out of school the entire week of Thanksgiving for their personal convenience and at a great financial loss to the districts. The school districts responded by making Thanksgiving week an entire week off and adding the three days of instruction before the Labor Day weekend. You see, there is method to the madness and the bottom line is always “green” ($$).

7 Anon August 1, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Don’t understand why they go back end of August either, we always went back right after Labor Day, had a short week where you slowly acclimated and then you started full on the next week. A lot of people use Labor Day weekend as a shopping day or a last holiday before school starts. It’s weird to see them going back now.

8 Sherry Whitmarsh August 1, 2014 at 12:35 PM

School should start around August 15 and end around Memorial Day. Finals would be before the winter break and the students could actually enjoy the break. Also it would eliminate some of the summer homework because there would be more time for AP classes to do instruction. With the testing for all age groups, starting earlier would allow more material to be taught before the end of year testing.

9 puffandstuff August 1, 2014 at 12:45 PM


10 Nuttsie the Nutter August 1, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Yes, Sherry, let’s start school earlier so we can prepare for that all important testing. Do you pay attention to the illiterate comments on here? Our “testing” is a failure.

School needs to be a time when kids can be kids. They need play time after school. They need to learn basic skills but also they need to learn life skills and common sense skills. Those are things that are not on a test. But they are things that good teachers know how to teach, if only they were left alone to teach them.

Instead of trying to be “gold star” schools, why not try to be successful schools? Schools where kids can learn and at the same time have fun being kids.

11 Anon August 1, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Always about money and testing

12 The Summer Wall August 1, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Please take my kids back! Ahhhhhh!!! Ha ha.

13 bluebird August 1, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Testing so they will know at what level to teach to (you know, so no child is left behind). I hope they change thjs soon before my grandkids are in school.

14 Antler August 1, 2014 at 1:22 PM

When our children were in school, it would have been so much easier for our family unity and vacation planning had the elementary, middle schools, and high schools in MDUSD all had the SAME vacation days/weeks. That discrepancy caused the major problems, but we would have preferred that school ended on the last Friday before Memorial Day and then resumed on the first Tuesday after Labor Day.

Some parents decide to home school (certainly not for the faint of heart or mind!) so as to have freedom to travel. But then there are other parents (perhaps both working 8-hour jobs) who want the school to be their children’s teachers AND their babysitters, so they’ll want school to go year-round.

15 The Good Old Days August 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM

I agree with Sherry.

16 Concordejet August 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM

sure I like school, my favorite class is recess.

17 anon August 1, 2014 at 1:33 PM

I know high school student’s that can pass test’s but can’t tell the time of day. I guess that’s not important for their future.

18 Mr. Pink August 1, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Summer vacation should definitely be longer. Out in June and back in August? There aren’t even two complete months off.

19 SKS August 1, 2014 at 1:42 PM


Labor Day should be the last hurrah of a weekend before the reality of going back to school. .. plus it’s a shortened week so kids can ease back into the routine.

20 @Nutsie August 1, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Ummmmmm Why aren’t PARENTS teaching their kids “life skills and common sense”? And while they’re at it, throw in a little common courtesy, respect, kindness, hard-work ethic etc. Just because the parents gave birth, doesn’t mean their job is finished!!

21 @Antler August 1, 2014 at 1:58 PM

so typical to insult some parents. Some of us like year around school so kids can continue to learn. When they have weeks off they forget what they have learned and part of the next year is reviewing which is a waste of time. So rude to assume we think of teachers as babysitters.

22 PH Dad August 1, 2014 at 2:09 PM

I have two dogs in this hunt and think that MDUSD should start school after Labor Day. Make up the time by going back to a 2 day Thanksgiving holiday and shifting some of the teacher “in-service” days to the summer. If they need mid-year training, do it on a weekend where it doesn’t interrupt their work product, teaching children…

23 Hans August 1, 2014 at 2:14 PM

After. And how about they start school after 8:30am also, so they’re driving after work commute. The difference on the local street traffic is amazing. 10 minutes to the bart station during summer, 30-35 minutes during the school year. This is to go about 4 miles!

24 Antler August 1, 2014 at 2:35 PM

#21 ….. SOME parents NEED to be insulted! If you are not one of them, that is wonderful; and there is no need whatsoever for you to feel all battered on their behalf.

25 The Mamba August 1, 2014 at 2:39 PM

I derp undastan y they go beck to school so irly now either, I went back to skul after Labor Day every dam year an I turned out fine. U betta axe somebody.

26 Chevrolet girl August 1, 2014 at 2:45 PM

After Labor Day! Some schools start two weeks apart, cvchs, pine hollow, so you can’t go on vaca with one kid in school and one kid out. I hate having to be around for registration on the 6th of August and then school starts the 13th.

27 @ Anon # 17 August 1, 2014 at 3:14 PM

If the kids can’t tell time, that’s bad parenting.

28 Dorothy August 1, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Too late for my input. I, and my kids, all started the first Wednesday after Labor Day. My grandkids started near the end of August. Don’t see that it did my grandkids any good to start earlier. If given the chance to vote on it, I would go for the year round version.

29 Cuzzzzzzzz.............. August 1, 2014 at 3:19 PM

In this area I would say after. No need to bank days because of snow/bad weather. When I was in school we stated in August and almost every years got out the Friday before Memorial day as we rarely used snow days. Only twice in my “school history” were there snow days.declared

30 Sacto Rob August 1, 2014 at 3:27 PM

State law mandates a minimum number of school days per year. That used to fit in between Labor Day and Memorial Day, and left a long summer break.
But over the decades, the teachers unions have fought for more in-service days, more minimum days, more vacation days, and longer breaks at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So the school calendar has expanded, encroaching on the summer months.
I understand that with so many families having two parents working out of the home ( caused by an ever larger percentage of our incomes being drawn off for taxes, and an increase in single-parent families) the no-summer school calendar has become a relief, with parents not having to scramble for three solid months of child-care every year. And good for them. But don’t believe for one second the school districts give a fig about what parents want. It’s all about keeping the unions happy. Just like every policy in California government.

31 Just_My_Two_Cents August 1, 2014 at 4:14 PM

The families did take their children out for a few days at Thanksgiving.
The full week off happened when the teachers wanted the whole week. The school year had to be adjusted to more time at the beginning of the school year to make up for the time.

32 Magbe August 1, 2014 at 4:24 PM

I personally like school starting on the Tuesday before Labor Day. The kids get two 4-day weeks to ramp up after a long Summer of sleeping in until noon (teenagers lol). And I like having the whole week of Thanksgiving off. The 1-2 punch of one week at Thanksgiving followed by two weeks Winter Break balances out the Summer chunk, and I think the kids do better overall in school. An 8:30am start time would be wonderful and then out at 3:30pm. Year-round could be cool, would just be a physical-mental adjustment. I like the 9 weeks on 2 weeks someone mentioned.

Of course, we could do like Phoenix, AZ, schools and start early August and be out by mid-May 😉

33 @ Mr. Pink August 1, 2014 at 4:29 PM

MDUSD last day of school is Jun 13, first day Aug 25. The kids have off Jun 13 through Aug 24 = 73 days = 2 months + 12 days. Yes, they have at least a full two months off in the Summer.

34 Elaine August 1, 2014 at 4:39 PM

After labor day.

35 The Mamba August 1, 2014 at 4:41 PM

I’d like to change my answer to adults should have summers off as well. And Fridays.

36 Atticus Thraxx August 1, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Don’t care anymore. Feels good.

37 No Way August 1, 2014 at 6:14 PM

LIberty Union High School District has a great schedule….
Take a look at it.

38 Nice Nancy August 1, 2014 at 6:31 PM

I hate it that you have to register online and THEN take a day off to register in person yet again. They just want to pressure parents into donating money. (and plenty do even if they can’t afford it) $200 per student? We call it Running the Gauntlet. All this is usually a week or two before school starts. We’ve had to drive back from vacation in Monterey just to be there in person. (and then back again) Because of this pressure, I refuse to donate any money.

39 ccat August 1, 2014 at 6:34 PM

My kids would benefit with a year round program. For every 8 weeks of school, they get a week off. Summer could be shorter, 40 days, as it is plenty of time to travel and to be a kid. Two weeks off for Christmas Holiday, and one week for Thanksgiving. That is about 184 days in school. I know I’m dreaming.

40 Mary August 2, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Not all testing is bad. When you teach, you need to assess whether the students have learned. I don’t like standardized testing, and it’s been way to big of a focus in recent years. But that doesn’t mean we throw it all out. How do I know if I’ve been effective and students have learned if I can’t assess just because you don’t like the word “test”?

41 FormerConcordMom August 2, 2014 at 10:57 AM

SCHOOL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN VACATIONS PERIOD! Move to Oakley and your kids start in July! Best thing ever..if education is your priority that is…

42 Connie Dobbs August 2, 2014 at 12:30 PM

#41 Count the days, though. Last time I checked (a while ago, admittedly) Brentwood’s “year-round” school was a week shorter than MUSD’s session.

43 Off Pine Hollow August 3, 2014 at 1:29 AM

I really like Brentwood’s modified year round schedule. I wish our area would do it. They may have “only” a six week summer but they have a fall break that we don’t have. They have more opportunity to take family vacations year round. Academically their breaks occur between quarters and since the summer isn’t so long I would guess the students are retaining more info.

I hate how high schoolers have to study for finals during Christmas break on the MDUSD calendar.

44 Cowellian August 3, 2014 at 8:53 AM

The only time I ever started school before Labor Day was for freshman orientation for college. But times have changed, and Nashville schools are starting this week.

If summer vacations mean sitting around watching TV or finding ways to get into trouble, then the vacations are a waste of time. But if families make time to do things together, then vacations can be a part if an ongoing educational experience.

45 Anon August 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM

With all these inservice days, holidays, long weekends, etc. it seems like the kids are never in school.

46 RanchgirlCA August 4, 2014 at 7:01 PM

After, like when I was a kid. I don’t understand school starting early and not getting out any earlier. Makes not sense to me, maybe if every Wednesday wasn’t an early day…

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