There should be 175 days each school year — get with it, NJ!
Winter doesn't seem to want to let go. Storm after storm delivering snow and ice making roads impassible and canceling schools across the state. School districts are now scrambling to meet the state legal requirement of schools being open 180 days each school year. Thanks to some out-of-the-box thinking on the part of the superintendent's office in the Pascack Valley Regional School District, kids there will be able to make up the time online. The work around for the legal requirement that the buildings are open will be some staff reporting to school for the day while the kids report online. Ok, good idea and at least someone is thinking and looking out for the students and families who are taking Spring Break for vacation and certainly don't want the school year extended into Summer. That said, shame on the New Jersey legislature. How have they not stepped up to eliminate an antiquated requirement based on time and not results? So many politicians were willing to push the PAARC tests even though it didn't actually match the curriculum of many schools. Pushing PAARC was all about accountability and results. Rankings and testing knowledge. OK, then why no action on the seemingly arbitrary day count requirement? The virtual work around should not be necessary. Did you know that some schools snow make-up days are scheduled AFTER graduation?!?
In Colorado they require only 160 days. In Kentucky 175. How about New Jersey reset the number so we can avoid the ridiculousness of having students come to class after they graduate? How about we reduce the costs of school by reducing the days? Let's focus our education on results. Performance. Testing measurements. Our education system is one of the best in the nation. It's not because we require students and teachers to be in class for 180 days. It's the quality of the teachers and the families that participate in their kid's learning.
Remember, there are plenty of private and parochial schools that have excellent results in terms of graduation rates and college acceptance and they do not have to comply with the 180 day rule. Let's not make it a radical change. 175 should probably do the trick.
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