Sunday, February 21, 2010

Every School Day Counts: The Actual Number

This from the Herald-Leader:

Legislative leaders on Friday defended a House proposal that would cut two school days to help balance the state budget.

The loss of two instructional days, which were added in 2006, would not impact a child's education, argued House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, during a joint news conference Friday morning.

"If you look at the actual number of instructional hours
that we're still allocating,
we exceed six of our seven surrounding states...

There is absolutely no evidence at all
that adding these two days
had any impact on the learning process."
---Greg Stumbo

And I'm not aware of any report to the contrary. So I suppose the Speaker is just sayin'.

What is clear, is that Stumbo's data is simply incorrect, at least, according to a 2009 report from the Education Commission of the States. Scroll to: Scheduling/School Calendar.

Updated: The actual data from ECS shows 175 days by statute for Kentucky. However, in 2006, the legislature added two more days by line item in the budget that was not picked up in the ECS report. I don't typically monkey with a source's data, but in the presence of knowledge to the contrary, it's kinda stupid not to in this case, so I have corrected the map above with an asterisk. Kentucky's 177 days includes 4 professional days - which are very important - but are not days when teachers are working with students.

Instructional days and hours refer to the amount of time students are expected to attend in a school year. Since the 1980s, the trend has been to increase the minimum number of instructional days (or hours) that students are in school: Fifteen states have increased the minimum number of instructional days while only nine states have reduced that minimum.

While state requirements vary on the number of instructional days and hours in the year, the majority of states set the school year at 180 days (30 states). Eleven states set the minimum number of instructional days between 160 and 179 days, and two states set the minimum above 180 days (Kansas and Ohio). Finally, eight states currently do not set a minimum number of instructional days. Instead, the school year in these states is measured in numbers of hours.

This from the National Center on Educational Statistics report Every School Day Counts:
Why Does Attendance Matter?

A missed school day is a lost opportunity for students to learn.

In this era of increased accountability for states, districts, and schools, the connection between student attendance and learning is being studied more than ever before. As a result, education agencies are asked with increasing frequency to report attendance data in a standard manner to allow comparisons across organizations and jurisdictions.

The primary rationale for high-quality attendance data is the relationship between student attendance and student achievement. Teacher effectiveness is the strongest school-related determinant of student success,1 but chronic student absence reduces even the best teacher’s ability to provide learning opportunities. Students who attend school regularly have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance. This relationship between attendance and achievement may appear early in a child’s school career. A recent study looking at young children found that absenteeism in kindergarten was associated with negative first grade outcomes such as greater absenteeism in subsequent years and lower achievement in reading, math, and general knowledge.2

Poor attendance has serious implications for later outcomes as well. High school dropouts have been found to exhibit a history of negative behaviors, including high levels of absenteeism throughout their childhood, at higher rates than high school graduates.3

These differences in absentee rates were observed as early as kindergarten, and students who eventually dropped out of high school missed significantly more days of school in first grade than their peers who graduated from high school. In eighth grade, this pattern was even more apparent and, by ninth grade, attendance was shown to be a key indicator significantly correlated with high school graduation.4

The effects of lost school days build up one absence at a time on individual students. Penalties for students who miss school may unintentionally worsen the situation. The disciplinary response to absenteeism too often includes loss of course credits, detention, and suspension. Any absence, whether excused or not, denies students the opportunity to learn in accordance with the school’s instructional program, but students who miss school are sometimes further excluded from learning opportunities as a consequence of chronic absenteeism.

1 Adelman, C. (2006). The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion from High School through College. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
2 Romero, M., and Lee, Y. (2007). A National Portrait of Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades. New York, NY: The National Center for Children in Poverty.
3 Hickman, G.P., Bartholomew, M., and Mathwig, J. (2007). The Differential Development Trajectories of Rural High School Dropouts and Graduates: Executive Summary. Phoenix, AZ: The College of Teacher Education and Leadership at the Arizona State University at the West Campus.
4 Allensworth, E., and Easton, J.Q. (2005). The On-Track Indicator as a Predictor of High School Graduation. Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Research.
Here's the rundown.

State [citation] / Minimum Instructional Time
  • Alabama [Ala. Code § 16-13-231(b)(1)(c)] 180 days
  • Alaska [Alaska Stat. § 14.03.030] 180 days (includes up to 10 in-service days)
  • Arizona [Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-341.01] 180 days
  • Arkansas [Ark. Code Ann. § 6-10-106; 005 19 CARR § 007(10.01)] 178 days (plus minimum 10 days (60 hrs) professional development/in-service)
  • California [Cal. Educ. Code § 46200(c)] 180 days
  • Colorado [Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-32-109(1)(n)] 160 days
  • Connecticut [Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-16] 180 days
  • Delaware [Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 1049(a)(1)] N/A
  • District of Columbia [D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 5, § 305] 180 days
  • Florida [Fla. Stat. ch. 1003.02(1)(g)]; [Fla. Stat. ch. 1001.42(3)(f)] 180 days
  • Georgia [Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-168(c); Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 160-5-1-.01] 180 days
  • Hawaii 180 days
  • Idaho [Idaho Code § 33-512(1)] N/A
  • Illinois [105 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/10-19] 176 days
  • Indiana [Ind. Code § 20-30-2-3] 180 days
  • Iowa [Iowa Code § 279.10] 180 days
  • Kansas [Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-1106(a),(b)] Grades K-11 ~ 186 days Grade 12 ~ 181 days
  • Kentucky [Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 158.070] 175 days (includes up to four days for professional development)
  • Louisiana [La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:154.1; La. Admin. Code tit. 28, § CXV:333] 177 days (plus two days for staff development)
  • Maine [Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 20-A, § 4801] 175 days (plus no more than five days for in-service education)
  • Maryland [Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-103] 180 days
  • Massachusetts [Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 69, § 1G; Mass. Regs. Code tit. 603, § 27.03] 180 days
  • Michigan [Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 380.1284, 1284b, 388.1701(3)(a)] N/A
  • Minnesota [Minn. Stat. §§ 120A.40, 41]
  • Mississippi [Miss. Code Ann. §§ 37-13-61, 63] 180 days
  • Missouri [Mo. Rev. Stat. § 171.031] 174 days
  • Montana [Mont. Code Ann. § 20-1-301; Mont. Admin. R. 10.65.101] N/A
  • Nebraska [Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 79-211, 212] N/A
  • Nevada [Nev. Rev. Stat. 388.090] 180 days
  • New Hampshire [N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189:1; N.H. Code Admin. R. Ann. Educ. 306.18(b) 1),(2)] 180 days
  • New Jersey [N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:7F-9] 180 days
  • New Mexico [N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 22-8-9(A)(1), 22-2-8.1] 180 days
  • New York [N.Y. Educ. Law § 3604(7)] 180 days
  • North Carolina [N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-84.2(a)(1),(d)] 180 days
  • North Dakota [N.D. Cent Code § 15.1-06-04] 173 days (plus two days for professional development and two for parent-teacher conferences)
  • Ohio [Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.48] 182 days (including up to two days professional development)
  • Oklahoma [Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 1-109] 175 days (plus up to 5 days used for professional meetings)
  • Oregon [Or. Admin. R. 581-022-1620] N/A
  • Pennsylvania [22 Pa. Code § 11.1] 180 days
  • Rhode Island [R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-2-2] 180 days
  • South Carolina [S.C. Code Ann. § 59-1-425] 180 days (plus three days for mandatory professional development)
  • South Dakota [S.D. Codified Laws §§ 13-26-1,9] N/A
  • Tennessee [Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3004] 180 days (plus five days for in-service and one day for parent-teacher conferences)
  • Texas [Tex. Educ. Code Ann. §§ 25.081, 0811] 180 days
  • Utah [Utah Admin. Code R277-419-3(A),4(C)] 180 days
  • Vermont [Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 1071] 175 days
  • Virgin Islands [17 V.I. Code § 61] N/A
  • Virginia [Va. Code Ann. §§ 22.1-79.1, 98] 180 days
  • Washington [Wash. Rev. Code §§ 28A.150.220] 180 days
  • West Virginia [W. Va. Code § 18-5-45(c),(e)] 180 days
  • Wisconsin [Wis. Stat. § 121.02(f)] 180 days
  • Wyoming [Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-4-301] 175 days


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these instructional days for other states.

Richard Innes said...

I think this needs some clarification.

By statute Kentucky has a 175 day year. However,I believe several recent budget bills actually funded and provided 177 days. That 177 day year had to be reapproved in each budget since it wasn't in na separate statute, but it was approved in several recent years.

The point is the actual school day's per year situation for Kentucky does not show in this table in the main blog.

That raises the question if the present situation in other states is accurately reflected in the table. The table just summarizes statutory, but not necessary actual, school day requirements.

Of course, this potential shortcoming in the table means Kentucky's true school days per year situation could look even worse than the table shows.

Richard Day said...

Sure. But clearly, Stumbo's data are not even close.

Anonymous said...

Remember when Stumbo mentioned school districts' contingency funds? This is just one of his backdoor ways of getting to it.