Superintendents said bringing some uniformity to school calendars in Alabama could end some confusion over student days off and get test results entered on time.
Schools in the state's 128 districts now follow individual calendars approved by each school board.
Those calendars vary so much that classes begin over a five-week period, from July 17 when Houston County schools start to Aug. 21 when Mountain Brook and Decatur schools open.
Deputy State Superintendent Joe Morton told superintendents Tuesday that a uniform calendar could also help schools comply with the new "No Child Left Behind" act signed into law in January by President Bush.
Under the law, parents have the right to move their children from failing schools to better ones based on how the schools perform on state tests. This year, because test results did not arrive until almost the start of classes in most systems, parents had little time to make decisions about possibly moving their children to better schools.
Morton said calendar differences have killed a state effort to have one day devoted to parents visiting their children's schools.
In the first year of that effort, 100,000 parents visited schools on the same day.