Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Five minutes? Expand the school day by 30 minutes!

The Wake County Board of Education is thinking about adding five minutes to the instructional day to accommodate the opening and closing days of traditional schools. Start and stop dates come from the General Assembly in an effort to protect tourism, primarily beach tourism. The later public schools open for the year, the later parents will schedule beach trips for their family, and the earlier the schools dismiss at the end of the year, the earlier the beach trips will take place. In other words, not really caring about the overall education of the attendees (children), the legislature voted in favor of beach trips.

The 2016-17 calendar is causing problems with the number of hours required for attendance, so the Wake County BOE is considering adding five minutes to the day-long schedule, which should be an easy fix. But this is a slap in the face for education. Five minutes? Give me a break. That’s adding less than one minute to the length of a class which will do nothing to further education. It just helps satisfies the annual requirement of 1,025 hours of education. Over a full year, an additional five minutes a day is about two full days of instruction, but the extra 45-seconds for a class for 183 days is lip service when it comes to instruction. How much more can be taught in 45 seconds?

Hands are tied at the local BOEs (Mecklenburg County is considering the same as Wake County) because of the legislature in the name of tourism instead of education. But, instead of just trying to satisfy a requirement, the Wake County BOE should doing something to better the education of the students? Suggestion: Add 30 minutes to the day instead of just five minutes. That makes the day about six hours of instruction. That reduces the total number of days to about 170 which means the traditional calendar schools could start later (after Labor Day) and end school earlier (before Memorial Day). Or spread the 170 days of instruction over the maximum days available and allow for more teacher work days or allow for more weather make-up days and still get the school year in under the legislatures start and stop dates.
-------------------- word of the day
syzygy (noun) [siz-i-jee] an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and the moon

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