School’s back in for many Southern California districts — test scores prompt earlier start

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Kids walking to school. For some Southland school districts, the academic year has already begun.

So much for waiting until after Labor Day — for some Southland school districts, the academic year has already begun. The race for higher test scores has altered the traditional end of summer for the backpack set.

That means the Inland Ontario/Montclair Unified schools opened a week ago. It's carpool time again for Burbank and Baldwin Park Unified students starting Monday. For the region's largest public school district, Los Angeles Unified, Tuesday morning will be their turn to get on the bus.

It’s not about adding days to the school year, as many countries have. For many Southern California districts, the number of instructional days remains the same. Standardized tests before winter break are one reason many districts have changed the start of the academic year. The more time students have to prepare, officials say, the better they’ll perform.

So despite grumbling that August is too hot, or too disruptive of family time, or just too darned early, school systems are embracing the trend.

Students in other Southland districts don’t have long to gloat. Santa Ana, Glendale, Santa Monica, West Covina and Pasadena all start school within the next 10 days.

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