North Carolina’s long summer vacations are being challenged

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A 2004 law mandating when North Carolina public schools hold summer vacation is facing its strongest challenge yet from educators and legislators who say more flexibility would improve student performance.

Tourism officials and a parents’ group are trying to keep summer like it is, with schools starting no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26 and ending no later than the Friday closest to June 11. North Carolina is one of two states that mandate both start and end dates.

Dozens of bills have been filed seeking calendar flexibility for certain districts or statewide. Educators say local control is best, and differentiated calendars could benefit low-performing students.

Defenders say the law preserves summer vacations for families and enables hotels and restaurants to retain young employees for the entire season.