The op-ed below was placed in the Buffalo News, on February 6, 2013.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s new budget includes an important proposal that, if passed, will put New York at the forefront of an exciting educational movement to rethink the school calendar.
The proposal creates a $20 million grant program that will provide funding to select schools that significantly expand the school day, school year or both, increasing the amount of learning time by at least 25 percent. More time does not mean, though, that participating schools will just do more of the same. On the contrary, they will implement proven strategies that they don’t have time for within the constraints of a traditional school calendar.
For starters, schools will be able to provide a richer, more rigorous curriculum. Over the last decade, public schools have prioritized the tested subjects – reading and math – at the expense of other critical subjects, like science, history, civics, art, music and physical education. More time in school means restoring these subjects in a well-rounded curriculum.
With expanded time, teachers can regularly analyze student data to identify specific areas where individual students are struggling, and then provide more-personalized instruction. Recognizing that children learn in different ways and at different paces, this individualized approach helps teachers target support to children who need it.
Access the entire op-ed here.