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Branstad wants a later first day of school

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Iowa Governor Terry Branstad wants school districts to stop making the first day of the school year so early.

Schools in Iowa start during the week in which September 1 happens, but many districts across the state get waivers that allow them to move the first day of school earlier.  That means some districts begin classes in mid-August – a practice Gov. Branstad is anxious to halt.

“I believe the Department of Ed is intending to move forward with new rules that would change this policy,” the governor said.  “I believe the present policy has been too lax and has not been fair to the tourism industry in Iowa.”

Branstad also said he has seen studies that show starting school earlier does not improve academic achievement.

“In fact, academic achievement has gone down in Iowa compared to other states like Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and a lot of other states in other parts of the country that have a much later start date,” Branstad said.

Davenport Community Schools plan to start classes Monday, August 12, 2013.  Bettendorf Community School District also plans to start classes August 12.  Classes begin for students in the North Scott district on August 13.  Pleasant Valley plans to start classes August 14.  Classes begin for students in Muscatine Community Schools on August 15.  The first day of classes for Clinton Community Schools is also August 15.

Branstad said the Department of Education has a rule-making process through which it will go to make the change.

Any change to the school year start date would take effect n the 2014-15 school year.

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