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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Is It Time To Get Rid Of Michigan’s Law Requiring Schools To Start After Labor Day?

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

The 2005 law was established to boost Michigan tourism and extend the time available for families to vacation in the state.

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Crain's Detroit Business Senior Editor Chad LivengoodCrain's Detroit Business
Crain’s Detroit Business

Crain’s Detroit Business Senior Editor Chad Livengood

For a generation of Michigan school children, Labor Day has always marked the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Michigan is one of only three states in the country with laws mandating a post-Labor Day school start. 

The 2005 law was established to boost Michigan tourism and extend the time available for families to vacation in the state. The extended summer and later school date was initially a boon to tourism. However, the most recent recession reduced the boost as fewer families were able to vacation. 

Many school districts are also having difficulty meeting the 180-day school requirement due to the prevalence of snow days. Increasingly, those school districts are turning to waivers to meet their requirements, and  “more than two-thirds of Michigan counties utilize waivers,” according to Crain’s Detroit Business Senior Editor Chad Livengood, who wrote about the issue in the most recent edition of Crain’s.

Livengood says he set out to answer the question, ”Why is this law still on the books if it’s becoming pretty much irrelevant?” he tells Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today.

With fewer vacations and the prevalence of waivers needed to meet requirements and avoid education loss, does the law still make sense? 

Click on the player above to hear Crain’s Detroit’s Chad Livengood discuss Michigan’s school start date law.


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