January 7, 2013

Some locals support extending school time


---- — PLATTSBURGH — One of the New York Education Reform Commission’s ideas — extending the length of time children attend school — got mixed reviews locally.

Press-Republican Facebook readers were asked what they thought of the recommedation that teaching days and academic years be extended.

Here’s a sampling of the response.

Jim Carley: “I like it.. kids are so behind many other countries in education it’s not funny. I don’t see why kids aren’t going to school year round with more breaks instead of whole summers off. Kids should be in school from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a study hall added as a class and more time between changing of classes. Most teachers won’t go for it because most will want more pay, but, dang, we have to do something to get our kids a better education. And another initiative is let teachers teach their classes, not teach to a state-run testing system, like they do in Florida and a few other states.”

Mike Cassell: “Kids are kids only for a short time...They are too stressed as it is.. New York state schools are going to pot.”

Nancy Arsenault: “Longer school days are often executed so poorly that they do far more harm than good.”

Robert Littlefield: “Well, it depends on the length of the increases. The purpose of school is to mentally prepare the students for their next stage of life, be it college or workforce. I know in both cases, the year is longer and the days are why shouldn’t the kids be prepared for that in advance?”

Scott Henkle: “As long as they compensate the teachers, I think it’s a good idea. But Cuomo and so many governors want to have their cake and eat it too. Hiring freezes, budget cuts, cutting benefits for public employees ... who would pay for this? If this country wants a top education system, it needs to put its money where its mouth is and give real funding for both the operations and research of effective education instead of lip service and budget cuts.”

Sharon Spring: “What else are they going to do to teachers? Doing more with less resources, laying off teachers, trying to merge schools...I am not surprised.”

Amy Menard: “Agree 100% — these kids need to have more than 3.5 actual teaching hours per day and definitely could benefit from a longer school year.... poor teachers, boo hoo.”

Alex Berkman: “I often wonder how longer times in school will help students learn more ... Many students don’t learn now; how will longer school time help you learn more?”

Bethany Soucy: “I am about half way through reading (the commission’s report), and I think it is well thought out, with data and statistics. There are some excellent ideas, but if done, they need to be done correctly with proper funding. I personally am not a fan of extending the school day or year. Commission Member Karen Hawley Miles noted in her co-authored report for the Center for American Progress, Taking Stock of the Fiscal Costs of Expanded Learning Time, “As with simply adding more dollars to schools, adding time makes little sense unless it is part of an overall strategy for improving student performance.” In a comprehensive study done by the Center for American Progress of cities that lengthened the school day or year, the cost to implement expanded learning time varied significantly between districts because some districts established side contracts to shift teacher’s schedules, and some districts paid teachers more to teach longer.”

Amanda Trow-Racine: “Yes ... excellent idea... but you are in for a big union fight.”

Ann Jason Whalen: “If my kids were still in school, no way would I let this happen...home school for sure.”

Jim Jock: “Great idea, but schools are already broke. Where will the money to pay for it come from?”

Suzanne Andrews: “I don’t see how you can make the day any longer and accomplish anything of worth. The schools and the students that would benefit from the extra time are the ones whose students don’t attend as it is now or have family situations where school is not important because of more pressing issues at home or it’s just not important to them. State governments are laying off teachers left and right and requiring they become not only teachers but surrogate parents, police officers, social workers and bodyguards. They aren’t going to be able to find the money that is not only needed to pay for these extra programs, but will also be needed to fund the training for them, and the daily running of the building for things like electric, fuel, etc.”

Lori Sayah Kashorek: “Parents need to start reading to their children — from birth and for more than a few minutes a day. This would solve most of our education woes without an expensive and oppressive overhaul to the system. The years before a child enters school are the most important! (I am a parent and a teacher!)”

Michele Jock-Orlando: “Better to keep the same time but forget about the four years for high school. Go at the pace you can; stay longer if necessary.”

Tamara Burke: “Wow, longer days, these kids do all they can do just to be in school for six hours a day. Personally, longer days will result in more children quitting school.”

David Adams: “How about year-round school? The only reason we got into the habit of summers off was the family-farm culture many years ago. If the kids are working on the farms during their summers, then give them work credits and options for evening classes.”

Arin Burdo: “I would oppose longer days and a longer year for both my children and their teachers. I would support the State Dept. of Education decreasing mandates and testing so that teachers can use the time that my kids are already there to actually teach them.”

Adam James Deuyour: “Yeah, sure, sounds like a good idea ... let’s stress both the students and teachers out even more than they already are with longer days and more mandates.”