Friday, March 14, 2014

Don't just write off school days; Full year benefits students, even parents

This from H-L:
The cavalier attitude toward depriving Kentucky children of 10 days of school should dismay taxpayers and parents.

Yes, it's been an awful winter and it's not over yet.

At least seven of the 173 school districts already have missed six weeks of instruction or more because of roads made impassable by snow and ice.

But many children don't get enough to eat or have a safe place to stay on days when school is closed.

Parents, working one or two low-wage jobs to support families, aren't going to get any weather-related waivers and sure can't shorten their work calendars without financial penalty.

Conventional wisdom is that not much learning takes place after the barrage of standardized testing ends in the spring.

But in the hands of creative educators, time outside the shadow of testing could be a great opportunity.

Both chambers of the General Assembly are moving bills that would ease the process for waiving the requirement that schools provide at least 170 days or 1,062 hours of instructional time, allowing some districts to eliminate up to 10 days.

The public would have a lot more confidence if educators, lawmakers and Gov. Steve Beshear showed as much concern for children's welfare as they are showing for adults being able to firm up their vacation plans.

The traditional school calendar dates to an era when most Kentuckians lived on farms and were needed to work crops in the summer.

As Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, said, it's time to start thinking about year-round school, especially in rural places where children are falling behind because they live where school buses can't go for weeks during bad winters.

Read more here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think she means "year round school" unless they are considering significantly increasing the number of days we teach children. Sounds like she means spreading the school year out beyond the traditional mid August to end of May configuration which some districts already do.

I just can't help wondering if we really need the legislature monkeying around with district calendars? Right now districts can alter the calendars to as low as 170 days as long as they get in the 1062 hours with minimum 6.5 hour days. We currently have some districts intentionally having longer instructional days in order to build in extra time (banked time) to make up for possible missed days.

We seem to have gotten folks to divest themselves of the "can't start until after labor day" mentality but have had less success on the other end with memorial day.

Basically, folks just don't want to make up their days, and I am not sure why any educator would embrace 5, 10, 15 or 20 days less of instruction for their students.