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What you need to know...
Facts that will help you understand why SOS exists and why summers are worth preserving! We've asked, and we've listened. The items below are what are foremost on the minds of North Carolinians...parents, teachers and many other citizen groups.

Over 20,000 parents, grandparents, teachers and other concerned citizens signed the Save Our Summers petition asking the General Assembly for later school start dates.
Past polls have shown 70%-80% of North Carolinians support later school start dates.
Why?

The most common reason given by SOS-NC supporters was family time. Parents repeatedly stated that they viewed summer vacation as a time for family members to reconnect and spend quality time together.
Summertime allows for outside-the-classroom education. Camps, special summer learning programs (such as Governor’s School or Duke's TIPs), sports, church activities all provide learning experiences to children that parents believe are critical to child development. Summers in North Carolina were becoming so shortened that parents found that the first day of school was often scheduled before the last day of a summer camp. Several counties began classes before the last day of the state’s own Governor’s School.
   
Summer jobs... these are not only an important learning experience for teenagers, but sometimes can make the difference in being able to go to college or buy clothes and supplies for the next school year. In some counties, summer vacation became so short that local businesses did not consider it worth the effort to hire high schoolers for summer jobs
   
Daycare expenses place a heavy burden on family budgets. Daycare providers and parents know that finding or providing childcare for single days scattered throughout the school year is much more expensive than the week or month-long programs available during the summer. What is also true is that many families depend on summer scholarship programs that provide opportunities children might otherwise never experience.
   
Parents of young children are especially worried about school buses without air
conditioning
in the early August heat. Children with asthma are particularly vulnerable.
   
Kids playing fall sports in late July and early August, when temperatures still hover in the upper nineties, is another concern parents share. Football practice began on July 25th last year for many high school athletes.
A uniform start date across North Carolina’s school systems makes sense. It improves athletics scheduling and helps extended families coordinate time together.
   
Parents with extended family out-of-state found coordinating summer vacation extremely difficult when school started in early August. August is the traditional vacation month in many parts of the country, and with 39 states beginning classes the last week of August or the first of September, many North Carolina families had to forego traditional August family get-togethers and reunions.
   
Divorced families with shared custody arrangements found early school start dates especially difficult if one parent was out-of-state. This is an oft overlooked point that merits attention when one considers the quagmire it could cause in our courtrooms. It also has the potential to create misunderstandings and resistance in relationships that are already strained.
   
Families moving into North Carolina in the fall were shocked to realize that their children had already missed two or three weeks of school. As amazing as this sounds, most parents from northern or western states where school has always begun around the first of September never even considered that school would begin so early in North Carolina, and their children would actually miss weeks of school.
   
Many parents are extremely concerned about the increasing pressures of testing and stress their children are experiencing during the school year. Children are experiencing burn out at very early ages and parents believe that summers are an absolutely necessary way for their children to rejuvenate.
Teachers also support later start dates. One of the most important incentives for retaining and recruiting teachers is the summer break.
   
Teaching is not a high-paying profession. Many educators depend on summer jobs to make ends meet.
   
With a traditional calendar, teachers have the opportunity to further their education and professional development. When teachers had to report back to their classrooms in late July, many were unable to attend summer sessions at the state’s colleges and universities because those sessions did not end before public school classes began.
© Copyright 2007 by Save Our Summers NC. All rights reserved.