This is an unusual topic for a middle school debate, an issue that would not ordinarily seem to be controversial because to the best of my knowledge, all states mandate the length of the school year for ail school districts, and while I have heard of plenty of instances in which school districts wanted to lengthen the school year, week, or day, I am not aware of any movements to shorten the school year. Having said all that, I think there are pros and cons to the issue.
One argument against this is that local school districts might be in agricultural districts, with economies that require more help from students during certain seasons. Another argument is that in today's economy, students often want to or need to work to help their families. So, a state-wide policy that restricted the needs of individual school districts could make things difficult for school and families. Also, in the world today, there is a stronger emphasis on developing work skills, and an individual school district might want to meet that need by allowing a shorter school year that would enable students to take jobs that would help them prepare for the real world. Another factor is the cutbacks that are taking place in most areas. Sometimes a school might want to have a shorter school year to save money and not have to raise taxes.
On the other hand, if the state does not have a minimum school year requirement and each district can do as it pleases, there would be many situations in which students would not receive even an adequate education, much less a good one. In my state, there is an 180-day requirement, which all schools must adhere to, whether they are public or private. Given how poorly prepared students are for work or college, what is to be gained by allowing students to go to school less?