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Shortened school year weighed

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Jan. 26, 2011 at 9:54 am with 9 Comments »
January 26, 2011 9:56 am

With school closures and program eliminations threatened as more state cuts hit already battered school districts, (see Debbie Cafazzo’s weekend story for an overview) one alternative under consideration is holding fewer days of school.

The idea of reducing the mandated 180-day school year, perhaps by three days, is getting some attention in the Legislature. Rep. Kathy Haigh, the top budget writer for education in the House, said it’s the best of many bad ideas.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily the right thing to do, but it might be the fair thing to do,” said Haigh, D-Shelton. “There are those who really disagree with that, but we’re pretty desperate.”

Giving students the entire week of Thanksgiving off, for example, would cut three days at a time when students aren’t learning much anyway because of the upcoming break, Haigh said.

There are all kinds of hurdles. The calendar is part of contracts with school employees, so unions would have to agree in contract negotiations, Haigh said. “At this point I would say it’s a stretch,” she said.

The Legislature’s decisions could even affect the current school year. A bill introduced today by Rep. Christine Rolfes, co-sponsored by four Democrats and one Republican, would let districts apply to state Superintendent Randy Dorn’s office to reduce the 2010-2011 year by three days.

The Bethel School Board is discussing the idea of cutting days, and Bethel union president Tom Cruver told Cafazzo that while it would hurt teachers, at least it would be more transparent than program cuts.

Bethel would save about $3.5 million by cutting five days.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. TheOutlawJoseyWhales says:

    The Department of Education is a colossal failure. Take a look at the Mathnasium type private education outlets. They can do in 3 weeks what the education system can’t do in 12 years.

  2. Raindancer10 says:

    This is NOT the answer to a better education in a world with high technology and college is needed. If the days are shortened through the year a system to allow online classes is needed. The lawmakers are failing our children by reducing days needed to educate them for the real world upon graduation. Oh by the way was wondering will this reduce the taxpayers monies devoted to education…looks at politicians pockets and winks.

  3. mr_sandman says:

    And take away recess for elementary too? That has been talked about and not mentioned in the article. I’m sure that will go over real well with parents.

  4. Clarktribnet says:

    Hate to say it. The parents are just going to have to start paying for public education. They pay cable, electricity, rent, etc. might as well ad another 100 bucks a month. Those without kids already pay plenty in taxes towards education.

  5. tommy98466 says:

    “Giving students the entire week of Thanksgiving off, for example, would cut three days at a time when students aren’t learning much anyway because of the upcoming break, Haigh said.”
    So let me get this straight. If kids are not learning anything during those three days before Thanksgiving, why are we paying teachers to be just babysitters? What about the 3 days before Christmas break? Aren’t they learning anything then either? This is idiotic. Pathetic.

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2011/01/26/shortened-school-year-weighed/#ixzz1CB6XgI5Z

  6. commoncents says:

    mathnasium works because the parents are already motivated and involved in their children’s education. The process can’t necessarily transfer to the larger population. I’m sorry but the issue is not the curriculum or what we are teaching but instead is how do we motivate our students. If we had 30 motivated students in a classroom then they would exceed expectations but we don’t…we typically have 5 motivated students and 25 who are only there because they have to be. We have to get to those kids and get them to understand the benefits of an education and then actually provide those benefits. We as a culture are really good at denigrating others career choices as some less worthy of compensation as our own. However, that’s another topic entirely.

  7. In the State of the Union President Obama talked about education, competiveness, innovation as a way for the U.S. to once again be 1st and not 9th in the world. He also said that this is America’s Sputnik moment to begin again to achieve. If anyone thinks that a shortened school year is a solution, they are seriously disturbed. Parents need to step up and get involved, place more emphasis on their child’s education and not think that educating students belongs solely to the teacher. Learning in this country and our state needs to be a higher priority. As President Obama said in the SOTU, if we can celebrate the superbowl, we can celebrate the science bowl. When it comes to teachers, hire the best teachers and get rid of the rest.

  8. t_Johnson says:

    Let’s get back to basics and make the kids go half days all year round. I dont care if it’s the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours… half days.

  9. moms4marijuana says:

    “…when students aren’t learning much anyway…”

    That’s the understatement of the year.

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