Governor should leave school start date up to us

Our View

This school year has brought with it some major changes to Cedar Falls High School. From power hour to the proliferation of new clubs, many changes have been home grown initiatives that have made each day better; however, one new change was neither home grown nor for the better: the change of the dates of finals due to the governor ordering later start dates for schools. Although it made sense to some at the state level and in communities with bigger agricultural connections to have the school year start a few weeks later because of conflicts with participating in the Iowa State Fair, at this point in the semester, the later start has wreaked havoc on our school routine.

We believe that finals should be before winter break. It makes sense for all parties involved, sans those few who wish to attend the state fair in the summertime. The fact that finals are after break creates major problems for both students and teachers.

For students, having finals right before break means that they can finally relax after intense periods of studying. We think that it is a little absurd to allow a week-long break from learning and then demand that students take difficult exams that can impact their grades soon after. In addition, holiday break is definitely not being used as a time for studying. Rather, the holidays are a time when families get together and when students can take a break from thinking about their schoolwork.

The effects of the new dates of finals are counterproductive for CFHS students. They can have difficulty retaining information they learned previously. They can also have difficulty focusing so intensely on school after not having that school routine and rhythm over break.

The changes also present obstacles for teachers. Instead of having winter break to not only relax but also get in some quality grading time, teachers now are forced to grade all of their student’s exams in a mere couple of days. This adds stress to already stressed out teachers who are trying their best to finish their semesters with grace, not chaos.

We wish that, for a second, Iowa lawmakers and communities who value the fair over education would put themselves in our shoes. If they did, they would soon understand that the system in place is not a good one. Students and teachers alike have responded negatively to having final exams after winter break.

Governor Branstad and legislators in Des Moines, for the sake of the student body and the community of teachers at Cedar Falls High School, there needs to be another change in the schedule, but this time, back to the way it once was.

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