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.”
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.