28 Comments

  1. A later Labor Day means fewer insects, if you live in a latitude where they start to die off around now.

  2. While we’re at at, how about moving Thanksgiving up to October, like in Canada? Not for me, for the retailers. They need another five or six weeks of “Holiday season”. Amazon is hitting them hard, and going outside to shop in October is less rainy and freezy than December.

  3. How could you lengthen the span between them without moving the end later OR the beginning earlier (people cook out on Memorial Day weekend, too, so fewer bugs might apply then) OR both. He pretty clearly is not suggesting that more days could be created in between, since that’s not what they did with daylight saving – they moved both ends.

    He’d probably be more interested in extending the summer vacation from school, which generally starts after Memorial Day (everywhere I’ve had experience of public schools in the US) and very often starts before Labor Day (not quite as usual in my experience). But he is of course trying to disguise the self-interest.

  4. What MJSR said… Plus, I’ll add that Michigan public schools are forbidden to start class before Labor Day.

  5. Wisconsin schools were forbidden to do so, also, but districts could request a waiver. So many districts requested waivers, that I think that idea was dropped. It was done mostly so tourist attractions (read: Wisconsin Dells) could keep their teenage workers employed through Labor Day.

  6. The U of Minnesota (main Twin Cities campus) can’t start classes before our St.Paul campus abuts on the grounds of the Minnesota State Fair, which ends on Labor Day, and traffic, parking, etc. would be a nightmare.

    Yes, education is sort of importantish too, for us poindexters, but we’re talking bigtime corn dogs and mini-donuts and Spam on a Stick here! Get real!

  7. And that should have said in part “can’t start classes before the day after Labor Day because our…”

    Sorry; I tend to words out.

  8. Even though JP turned feigned ignorance of the usage into a fairly good joke, I wonder what percentage of the population could be expected to know that “OZ” is “down under” slang for “Aus.” = Australia. Is this something that everyone has already heard, or is it only known by people with Australian friends?

  9. @ Bill – I’m not sure whether “here“=”within a 100-mile radius of NYC” counts as a representative sample of the American population. I knew about it only because my dad has a large number of friends from Australia.

  10. A book I heartily recommend, whether you’ve been in OZ, or just want to learn about the country (and have some good LOLs whilst doing so): Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson.

    Also: For a rather skewed but still pretty accurate version of OZ, there’s The Last Continent, by Sir Terry Pratchett.

    Funny story . . . All thru our time in OZ, I would see adverts in bar windows for XXXX. Well, we KNOW what THAT means (in the US), so I told myself, ‘Self, it’s a different culture and who are you to judge.’

    Turns out, when I finally mentioned this to Hubby, that XXXX is a beer. D’oh. Which makes Sir Terry’s name for this Lost Continent, Fourecks, even funnier to me.

  11. “Wisconsin schools were forbidden to do so, also, but districts could request a waiver. So many districts requested waivers, that I think that idea was dropped. It was done mostly so tourist attractions (read: Wisconsin Dells) could keep their teenage workers employed through Labor Day.”

    Still state law in Wisconsin, it appears, and the department of public instruction can only grant a waiver if there are “extraordinary reasons for granting it”.
    https://dpi.wi.gov/cal/commencement-school-term-school-start-date-information

    School start dates vary a lot, apparently:
    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/14/back-to-school-dates-u-s/

  12. Since retiring from KUSD#1(and only) in 2005, I haven’t really kept up with the ins and outs of school start dates, except when they make the news. Haven’t kept up with WI news much since I left in 2015.

  13. Circling back to the original point:

    “Starting in 1971, it became the last Monday in May.”

    Since Caulfield is less than 48 years old, he’s somewhat justified in considering the present scheduling of Memorial Day to be “how it always was”, since he’s never known anything else, and possibly neither has either of his parents. I’m inclined to give him a pass on that one.

    I mean, I’m in favor of womenfolk being able to vote… partly because they’ve “always” been allowed to, meaning for my entire life. Yes, there was some time back in the 19th century when women categorically couldn’t vote, but that’s so far before my time I don’t take it into account. Women have been allowed to vote for well over 100 years*.

    *read that carefully before you decide to correct it, and make sure you understand what it says, and what it doesn’t say. First rule of Internet pedantry… make sure you are more correct that the person you are correcting.

  14. Michigan schools can also get waivers to start before Labor Day and around here I think most of the school districts do start before Labor Day.

  15. I just did a tour (of the Thunderbird Lodge on Lake Tahoe) and our bus driver was (self-titled) Rozzie the Ozzie. I had just been thinking I should ask her if she was Strine when she said that. Strine is the nickname I’d use, but I do recognize Oz/Ozzie. Never been there, never had a close friend from there, no idea where I learned it but both have been familiar to me for many years.

  16. jjmcgaffey, the name/term “Strine” does appear in the title of that humor / language book I referenced a little earlier, “Let Stalk Strine”.

  17. MJSR – I always thought that all US schools started the week after Labor Day and ended at the end of June as that is how the schools in here in NY are – and NJ and CT seem to be about the same. It was only when I started reading comics online that I found out that it is not true – I would ask why the cartoonist was rushing back to school or end of school in a strip.

    Even here there have been changes. Standard was that schools in NYS (at least on Long Island) started the Wednesday after Labor Day and NYC started the Monday after (a week after Labor Day). When I asked why this is as a child, my dad (my expert on everything that existed) explained that most schools need to have an extra 3 days in case they have to close school for snow, but since in NYC the children live much closer to their schools (due to density of population was the implication) or if they go to, what is now called a magnet school they take the subway and the subway never stops running, so NYC does not need snow days.

    And life continued as same. Then with the recent multiple snow storms for about a decade and for Sandy,the subway has actually been shut down as have schools in NYC. In addition the school districts – NYC and suburban – have added more holidays for those of different religions and ethnic backgrounds.

    When Robert was exec director of a children’s agency that followed mostly a school year, he would go crazy trying to fit in the national, Christian and Jewish holidays – it has to be worse to fit in Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Asian new year… One year the spring vacation which would normally cover Passover and Easter had to be split into 2 part weeks as the two holidays were not at the same time. (Chanukah is not a holiday that needs off from school so it does not make a problem as it wanders separately from Christmas.) Schools need to have 180 of instruction each year, 3 of which can be teacher education days. Days do not have to be full days – any part of a day that school is open counts as a day. One year to fit in enough days due to snow, the agency gave homework for the 3 education days so they could use 3 of the days that the school was closed as same and then use what would have been the education days as class days. One year the heat went out in the building on a freezing day – the buses came with the children – they took attendance on the bus and turned them around and sent them home – after calling to make sure that there would be someone home for the children. End of school this year had to be June 26 or after as the state Regents exams did not end until then. (Required for a high school diploma.)

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