Extending the school year is wise

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2005

To the editor,

Alabama State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton’s recent announcement that he will seek an extra $96 million in the next legislative session to lengthen the academic year by five days has received mixed reaction.

Alabama’s law requires public school students to attend classes 175 days.

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However, some school districts are in session longer than the minimum number of days required.

The national average for pupils attending school is 180 days.

Proponents of an extended school year argue that it aids to improve student academic performance.

They cite the examples of Japan, China, England, and many industrialized countries of Europe where students attend school from 220-240 days.

Opponents of an extended school year say research has not shown conclusively that longer time spent in school increases student performance.

They suggest a modified school calendar as a means to increase student productivity.

Our current school calendar is obsolete because it is based on the days when America was an agrarian (farming) nation and students were let out of school to work on the farm.

They also contend that the summer vacation is too long and it leads to student learning loss.

Lengthening the school year does allow for more student learning opportunities; but, quality time spent on instruction is paramount, also.

Alabama should extend the school year.

There are only four other states in the union that require fewer student attendance days.

Gerald Shirley


School of Discovery Tennis a great part of the city