Save Tennessee Summers

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Recently we told you about some parents in Kentucky who are trying to push the start of the school year back to late August or after Labor Day.

Now, a similar grass roots effort is gaining momentum here in Tennessee.

Cathy Van Meter is concerned about how early her kid's go back to school.

"We're frustrated," she said, "why is school getting earlier and earlier and more vacation days and staff development days during the school year."

Cathy's frustration is shared by the many moms and dads she's spoken with this school year, and it's not just here in Tennessee.

"Georgia, us, Kentucky, and South Carolina," said Amy Olson who is also concerned about how early her kid's go back to school.

Oklahoma and North Carolina also have movements for change.

Texas has already made the switch to begin school after Labor Day.

It's hot August days in the classrooms that have helped fuel the effort here in Knoxville.

Cathy Van Meter's children attend Sequoyah Elementary and Bearden Middle School.

She says its their trip into school that can be the worst.

"My kids are on the bus and sometimes the bus is three-to-a-seat," she said. "It's over 100 degrees on the bus and it's just not safe for kids."

Governor Bredesen agrees.

"Having kids go to school certainly under safe conditions, under conditions not quite as the 104 degree days we were having in Nashville, is probably a good idea, and I think it's something the legislature will take up," he said.

For many educators, the current calendar is set like it is for many reasons.

"And probably I think the most important thing has to be student achievement and how we can better use the calendar to make it possible for students to have opportunity to succeed," said Athanasios Bayiates, president of the Knox County Education Association.

These parents believe there's a way to see their students succeed and save the summer, too.

"We just feel like parents have a right to show their concerns and have some input into it, too," said Amy Olson. "I think there's wiggle room for both sides to get what they need and want out of it."

The number of petitions collected in Tennessee is pushing 2,000.

The Knoxville Chapter of Save Tennessee's Summers plans to appear before the Knox County School Board at its next meeting on Tuesday (9/4) at 5:00 PM.

You can read about Save Tennessee's Summers and sign their petition by clicking on the links below.


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