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LAUSD Approves Early Start To 2012-2013 School Year; Summer Vacation Slashed

October 27th, 2011 by Sarah Auerswald

Los Angeles Public School Families, get ready for the shortest Summer vacation ever!

Last week, the LAUSD School Board approved the early start to the 2012-2013 school calendar they had threatened last year. Classes will begin on August 14, 2012. The last day of school for the current school year is June 21, 2011, leaving LA kids with a net Summer break of only 7 weeks.

{UPDATE: it is now official. According to a letter from Superintendent John Deasy dated April 27, 2012, the school year will end for LAUSD on June 19th, 2012.}

I am flat out afraid to tell my kids – they are going to freak out.

Putting aside the fact that it just seems wrong to me to start school before Labor Day, let’s imagine what it must feel like for those families who plan way in advance and have already booked non-refundable tickets for a late-August trip. Probably not good, I’m guessing.

Sad days ahead for those Summer Camp operators as well, since they stand to lose 3 weeks of potential income next year.

But putting all of that aside, I have to say I wonder if this is an all-out attack on Summer Vacation as a concept. Time magazine ran a cover story in June 2010 called The Case Against Summer Vacation, where they quoted Education experts who fear the long break in between school years compounds the academic losses some kids suffer over the years, leaving them years below their grade level by the time they get to High School.

I am not unaware of the realities for kids in this country whose parents cannot provide adequate summer enrichment or academic intervention whenever their child needs it, for whatever reason, mostly of course related to poverty and access issues. Trust me, many of the children I know in my neighborhood are not served well by a long break from academics.

But I am also concerned about the over-reliance on education as the only answer to society’s ills and feels strongly that without a systemic overhaul and more options out there for kids of all academic abilities, we are in fact in the “Race to Nowhere,” a movie I highly recommend all parents seeing.

But I digress.

To be fair to the School Board (and I guess I can at least be fair, even though I’m not very happy about it), Summer break in 2013-2014 will be restored to its original 10-week length when school gets out on June 4, 2013.

I still wondered about why this decision was made, and contacted LAUSD Superintendent John Deasey’s and School Board member Steve Zimmer’s offices for comment. I never heard back from either of them, but the press release issued by the District talked about the need for High School students to start the year early enough to finish a full semester before the Winter Break.

I guess I understand that reasoning on one level, but what does it have to do with Elementary School kids? Or Middle Schoolers, for that matter?

Did they even consider making the change for High Schools only? That way, the year between 8th and 9th grade, you have a short Summer, but other than that you’ll begin after Labor Day. I wonder…

For the sake of the LAUSD and the kids it serves, I hope this change works out. I hope it brings up their Graduation rates, their Academic Performance Index, and generally makes everyone happy.

But I’m not so sure it will.

Enjoy your summer while it lasts, people.

When Sarah Auerswald is not crabby about the impending short Summer Vacation her kids will have from school, she blogs about video games and Tweens at Sarah’s Blog.


Sarah Auerswald (359 Posts)

Sarah Auerswald is the CEO and Co-Founder of MomsLA. She writes about life in LA while raising her 2 sons and is the founder of She was an English Major at Brown University, and yet nowadays feels free to ignore grammar rules anytime she wants. Like Now. She's married, uses a Mac, and grew up in Hawaii.


  1. Adrienne Van Houten

    A lot of districts made that move recently. To me I was surprised when I moved out here that kids started so late, we always started in Mid August and got out in late May back in Michigan. That way when you have your two week winter break you start fresh for the new semester.

    I actually prefer the YRE Year Round Education format of 3 months in school 1 month out. It is easier on childcare and allows the students to retain more information. It is however expensive because you then have to pay most Classified (non-teacher) Employees 12 months instead of 9.5

    • Good point about Michigan and other districts in other parts of the country, which is actually the point I want to make. In my perfect world, climate would be taken into account. Since June is invariably gloomy and gray and September and October are often hot beach weather, why not end school at the 4th of July and start in October or Late September? UCLA does that. This is another case of one-size-fits all mentality in public schooling.

      • I completely agree with you. Our actual summer in the L.A. area doesn’t begin until August, when temperatures really start to climb. Those very hot temperatures can continue through October, and even into November. Leaving the kids with no real “summer” to their vacations.

  2. I am perplexed that parents oppose to additional instructional days or having kids shorter summer breaks. The education system in our school is one of the lowest in the world and we are freaking out that our kids will get less time away from school? Just amazing. The busier our kids are, the better they will be off. Why do you feel sorry for the income of summer camps when you should be worried about the quality of education your kids are getting. It is crazy to have 3+1 rotation. No licensed aftershool would want your kid for 9 months out of the year. How is it better from the stand point of finding a childcare for a month when mom and dad have to work. I think we all need to consider what’s best for our kids and our teachers. What is it that we can do to help the teachers and make sure they deliver necessary curriculum to our kids.

    • I am dismayed by the changes because there’s more to an educating a child than sticking them behind a desk, especially during the summer when they should be (hopefully) spending time outdoors with their families.

  3. I guess I don’t understand why some are making such a big deal out of nothing. For one summer they have a short vacation, not like you didn’t have warning that it was coming. I think finishing the semester before christmas break is great. No more do we have to try to work vacation around getting projects completed. That fact that a parent would be afraid to tell their child seems silly. Children are amazingly resilient and what I’ve noticed is that if the parent doesn’t freak out and make a big deal of it, then neither will the kid. Let’s start preparing our kids for the fact that change happens. It’s not something to freak out about, it’s a normal part of life. Deal with it.

  4. I am a student at Walter Reed Middle School and I am excited that school is starting early this year. My adrenaline is rising up to the point were I will explode any minute now. My opinion is that some kids and parents should except the fact that your kids or even yourself will get an early start in education. I’m attending the eighth grade and I am excited. Now I am a straight A student and I’m proud of myself. Everybody I know is proud of me. So even if you don’t have good grades look it’s an opportunity to start fresh and buck up those grades. I love school and I think everybody should too. Thank you LAUSD for starting school early.

    -Suck it up and move on

  5. Im with you on this one, I was one of the parents that was very upset at the news that my kids who are in elementary school would have they’re vacation shortened. Now I am a stay at home mom so I enjoy this summer break myself, we go to alot of different places and enjoy this vacation and even though they’re at home I still read to them and do other educational activities with them while in vacation so I’m sure they’ll do fine when they go back whether it be 7 weeks or 10 I just wish it would’ve been 10!

  6. Wow I was shocked I didnt know any schools started that late anymore. Where I live in TN school starts August 1st and Alabama schools usually start back to school last week in July. My kids get about 8 weeks out in summer 1 week out in October then 2 weeks christmas and week in march

  7. IT IS ABOUT TIME! Summer is way too long, and NOW a days MANY parents work and children are left alone without care, and BORED! We have 12 Months in a year: They should go 3 Months…ONE WEEK OFF…3 Month ONE WEEK OFF…3 Months ONE WEEK OFF…3 Months ONE WEEK OFF…ONE reason is Teachers NEED breaks as much as the kids do, and this gives the WEEKS off just enough for a break and back INTO CLASSES ! WE have given too much TIME OFF all in one part of the year…MOST of July and Aug is too much! SO THANK GOODNESS SOME ONE FINALLY SEES REALITY…our KIDS (USA) are so far behind other countries. 2 months in SUMMER is TOO LONG!

  8. I feel very, very sorry for the kids and teachers working in stuffy old buildings with barely functioning air-conditioning. I doubt much learning will happen in August.

  9. For us the real problem is child care and summer camps do not start when LAUSD gets out and sadly for us her camp family does their sleep away when LAUSD starts back up… I personally think the weather should be taken into account with late August bringing some of the hottest weather LA has to offer it seems silly to send kids to school…it’s too hot!

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