Should parents lobby for longer school day or year?
With the news today that academically troubled Gibbs high school will extend its school day by 35 minutes, I'm wondering if parents will start taking up this cause. There's already a Facebook campaign in Hillsborough County called Parents Against Half Days that argues the recent trend of shortening school days to give teachers planning time is coming out of the kids' academic time. In Pinellas County, parents tried but failed to stop a schedule that excuses students an hour early every Wednesday to give teachers planning time.
Add to that President Obama's speech earlier this week calling for a longer school year, maybe this is something parents need to look at because the number crunchers and the unions have not been too keen on the idea of giving kids more class time. What annoys me most in these debates is when parents' concerned about shortened class time get dismissed saying, "We're not your babysitters."
American children spend the least amount time in the classroom when compared to other modern countries (180 days vs. 243 in Japan). I think there just might be parents alarmed by that statistic who aren't looking for babysitters.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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