HB2, News

House Republican compares economic losses of abbreviated school summer breaks to HB2

Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick

House Bill 389, a bipartisan measure that would test school calendar flexibility for up to 20 counties in North Carolina, may not include Rep. Frank Iler‘s Brunswick County district.

But the coastal North Carolina Republican is still fired up over the state House Education Committee‘s approval Tuesday of a proposed pilot program that would assess the academic impacts of shorter summer breaks in a smattering of low-income and rural counties across the state.

Iler said he believes the economic impacts on the state’s tourism industry would “dwarf” the losses of the state’s mega-controversial, anti-LGBT legislation HB2, which the Associated Press pegged this week at an estimated $3.76 billion.

“I hope we’ll think long and hard before putting 20 counties in a program like this,” said Iler, moments before most House legislators on the committee signed off on the measure.

Iler’s comments echoed a long-running debate in North Carolina over summer breaks. Since 2004, the state has mandated start and end times for local districts, after tourism and parents groups complained of dwindling summer breaks.

Yet, with researchers suggesting shortened breaks could speed performance gains in students, particularly low-income students, some K-12 advocates from both parties have been urging state lawmakers to back local flexibility.

And while a February report from the legislature’s nonpartisan Performance Evaluation Division bypassed recommendations for all of the state’s counties, the agency did suggest lawmakers review the proposal for low-performing districts.

Rep. Linda Johnson, a Cabarrus County Republican who co-sponsored the bill, said the three-year pilot program could help shed some light on the lingering debate.

“What we don’t have is data to tell us who is right and who is wrong,” said Johnson. “This bill will help us tell who is right and who is wrong.”

The program would begin as soon as 2018-2019 and would require annual state reports on the academic impacts, although lawmakers acknowledged the draft bill, even if it’s approved by the full House, could run into roadblocks in the state Senate.

The proposed legislation comes with more than 50 local bills granting calendar flexibility pending in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Another of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, said there is clearly a demand for calendar flexibility in the state.

“This one size does not fit all,” said Warren. “We do have areas that can support calendar flexibility.”

Check Also

Report: Home-schooling on the rise in North Carolina

North Carolina has one of the largest homeschool ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

The UNC Board of Governors is holding its last meeting of 2017 Friday, where the latest of its many [...]

Just south of Candler off the Pisgah Highway is a lovely piece of property on Little Piney Mountain [...]

Veteran North Carolina education policy expert Kris Nordstrom has authored a new and vitally importa [...]

When Joni Robbins, a section chief in the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, closes bidding next [...]

“All speech is free, but some speech is more free than others.” This seems to be the motto of the cu [...]

Trumpists prepare to raze another vital common good law It’s hard to keep up these days with the flo [...]

The post That’s how ‘Humbug’ is done appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

The solid citizens of Johnston County, N.C. – in a fateful quirk of geography – for several years ha [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more