Task force recommends change in the way school days are figured


October 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The state task force examining the time kids spend in the classroom wants to require a new minimum number of classroom hours each school year, instead of the traditional 180 days. Superintendent Leonard Griffith with the Paton-Churdan School District, says schools would be required to offer one-thousand-and-eighty classroom hours each year regardless of the weather. “The snow days where you only got a couple hours in, that used to count as a school day even though we know that here wasn’t more than a couple hours, and now there will be, so that’s good. And it allows a lot of flexibility,” Griffith.

Districts that had added days to the end of the school year in the past to make up the days lost to snow or heat could adjust their schedules to get in the require school hours. “It leaves it up to the local district to direct their day to how they need. It even opens the window if you do have those weeks of heavy snow, you might go to four longer days the next week,” Griffith says.

The panel cites research suggesting student achievement increases when classroom time is extended. The change is one of several recommendations the panel will make to lawmakers to extend school time to boost student achievement. There are nine task forces that are making recommendations as part of the effort to reform the state education system.

(Radio Iowa)