Christie Wants Longer School Day

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

School Lunches

Updated 11:44 a.m.

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is open to hearing more about Governor Christie’s longer school year/day plan, Save Jerseyans, or so NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer claims in a Tuesday morning release:

“I welcome the opportunity to sit down with Gov. Christie and the Department of Education to discuss the benefits and challenges of implementing an extended school day and school year. That discussion must include educators and parents as well, to ensure that all concerns are taken into account and it should be based on research and evidence.”

Oh goodie…

Original Post

Governor Chris Christie will propose a longer school day (and year) for New Jersey’s public school kids during today’s State of the State address, Save Jerseyans.

“Our school calendar is antiquated both educationally and culturally,” said Christie in #SOTS excerpts reported by NBC News. “Life in 2014 demands something more for our students. It is time to lengthen both the school day and school year in New Jersey.”

The idea itself is old and five other states recently reached similar decisions; Governor Christie mentioned longer school days as recently as last April at Bergenfield town hall. “They don’t want a longer school year,” said Christie, referring to parents in opposition, since “they like having the summer off.” I remember Governor Florio backing year-round school, too.

“In Japan students go to school 243 days per year, in Germany students go to school 240 days per year, in Austria students go to school 216 days per year, in Denmark students go to school 200 days per year, and in Switzerland students go to school 195 days per year,” trumpets the national Department of Education’s website.

Bye bye, summertime? Would this move really help our kids learn? Or create more taxpayer-subsidized day care?

The cost question is an interesting one. What about the 2% cap??? Longer hours will equate to higher salaries and other add-on costs.

I also remember school days being pretty long as-is… and what effect would shorter (or no?) summers have on Shore tourism?

It’s worth noting that longer school days are frequently pushed by common core supporters of which Governor Christie is one. In case you’ve forgotten.

What would’ve gotten my attention in today’s speech (and that of national conservatives): a statewide pilot voucher program. That would’ve been something new and bold and unambiguously helpful. There also seems to be a growing majority supportive of these reforms as the public sector unions’ power wanes.

After all, shouldn’t our aim be increasingly quality of time in the classroom? Teachers saddled with intransigent parents, classified children and little administrative support  won’t accomplish much more with a couple of extra hours over a couple of additional months. Misguided policies – including this administration’s anti-bullying legislation and affinity for testing – haven’t empowered teachers and returned control of the classroom to where it belongs.

Frankly, folks, this longer school day/year pitch feels like something… more? Not much else. And I’m pretty sure that’s not a substitute for reform.

I understand the political calculus: fall back on his strength (fighting the teachers’ unions) at a time when Bridgegate is hurting his brand. Policy-wise it’s a rotten egg.

Stay tuned…

26 thoughts on “Christie Wants Longer School Day

  1. I don’t see why this would be a bad thing at all. Allows kids to learn longer, allows parents to worry less if they’re not able to not work and be home… just make sure the union thugs aren’t making any more money.

  2. “allows parents to worry less if they’re not able to not work and be home… ”

    So you mean it’s taxpayer-funded daycare.

    No thanks.

  3. I think he’s on to something. Maybe, instead of the day longer, make the school year longer. There would be more time for kids to learn the material, thus, less stress on standardized testing which seems to take alot of unnecessary time.

  4. This piled on to Common Core is a path to more Government intrusion and them mandating what is best for our kids. No thank you

  5. Bill, many of these schools do not have air conditioning. You cannot extend the school year.

  6. Good idea! More school buses on the road during afternoon rush hour traffic. Did someone say traffic jam? How about paying teachers more money for more hours? Would you work more hours with no pay increase? looks like even higher property taxes if this idea went through.

  7. Longer school days??? We already have two hours of homework per kid per night, also two hours or more with sports and practices.

  8. School all year requires every school to have air conditioning. That will generate work.

  9. If the length of the school day or of the school year were the problem, districts such as Haddonfield and Moorestown would be underperforming. But that's not the case. Those districts excel.

    One has to wonder whether Christie's Dream Act and this latest school proposal are merely part of a calculus — which has been going on for many, many months — to keep the Democrats off his back. Political expediency at the expense of the NJ taxpayer. Sad.

  10. You have got to be kidding Theodore!!!! Teachers make more than people who work 12 months a year with little time off, not to mention all their time off for the little they work!!!!! Our kids are not getting the education they should. Just as they get back to learning, Oh it’s time for more time off so why bother starting something new!!! GIVE ME A BREAK!!!! Life time Health benefits and pensions!!!

  11. on top of that . 2 snow days of snow or a Presidents weekend union approved and sanctioned holiday for the teachers gets the kids 50 pounds of homework the next business school day!

  12. whoa! the extreme parents strike again! extreme parenting pisses me off. they live in a world of a full time at home parent that doesn’t work for a living.

  13. I think lengthen school days and the school year is a horrible idea and should have been thought out more carefully. My child does not get home until 4:15 p.m. Everyday and that’s long enough and homework is sometimes one or two hours long. I want to spend as much time with my children as I can and summer time is family time to spend together. Making school longer does not make children smarter. There is so much bulling in schools now that it will make things worst for some children and make them more stress out. Life is to short and I want to spend has much time with my kids that I can. So please governor Christie ask parents and children how they feel about this idea. You will find out how many disagree with you. I am a working mom and still find time to raise my children and they are the best kids. Everybody who meet my children say how wonderful polite and caring they are that’s because of all my love I give them. Teacher even say boy I wish all my students were like him or keep up the good job. All parents should take time out of there busy life to listen to there kids and play board games spend time with them. Enjoy them now because before you know it life will past you by but the world will keep on going and your children will have memories that will last a life time. Remember your only smart as you want to be.

  14. I think longer school would be horrible! In my middle school everyone has to get up early to get to school and now we’ll have to stay even longer? We have clubs after school and some end at five. Wat time would those kids get home. I have after school some days and can’t even finish homework before ten. Sometimes I stay up until twelve. I would probably be up until one O’Clock. I wake up at six thirty. How would we retain information only having that much sleep. Kids already complain. I also have activities not related with school that I would miss if schools were longer. Some kids walk which was caused by Christie taking our buses. My dad has to drive thirty minutes from work. So much pollution too. There is always traffic. The walking kids could be walking in the dark which is dangerous. You never know who is out there. Teachers could quit because they’re not being payed enough. Kids need time to be kids. We don’t need grown up problems yet. We’d have so much work we should be played. Extending school would be every kids worst nightmare. I would even move to another state to not have that long school day and year. I might start a petition. We just don’t want this to happen.

  15. Terrible idea. The days are long enough. School throughout the summer would be brutal. No AC in these schools around here. Some days it gets so hot in the summer it would not be tolerable without AC, or safe for that matter. Absolutely the most ridiculous proposal made by our governor.

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