Editorial: More days for school is an idea to consider
Minnesota's superintendents want to add five weeks to the school year over the next four years, while shortening the summer break. This proposal is one worth some serious consideration by the Minnesota Legislature. The Minnesota Association of Sc...
Minnesota's superintendents want to add five weeks to the school year over the next four years, while shortening the summer break.
This proposal is one worth some serious consideration by the Minnesota Legislature.
The Minnesota Association of School Administrators adopted a legislative platform Wednesday that calls for a gradual buildup to 200 days of school per year. Teachers would work a 230-day schedule to provide additional development and student evaluation time.
The current school year calls for 170 to 175 days per year. The superintendents have a very good point when comparing Minnesota's school year length to that of other states. More than 30 states have school calendars with at least 180 days.
There is one major reason for strong consideration of this proposal. Minnesota's school year is falling far short of other countries. The Associated Press reports that China, England, Australia, India and Japan all have school years longer than 200 days.
As a result, China alone graduates more than 200,000 engineers every year, while the United States graduates only about 60,000 per year.
This is not the first time Minnesota has tried to extend the school year. In the early 1990s, the Legislature actually approved a longer school year, but within two years repealed the law leaving it up to local districts.
There are factors which need to be addressed, such as air-conditioning needs and longer contracts for administration, teachers and staff.
And the longer school proposal would likely add 12 to 14 percent to school funding costs. However, the extra cost is an investment in the future of our children and this state.
If education is a priority for Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislative leaders, the superintendents' longer school year proposal should be given strong consideration.