Since Governor Chris Christie’s remarks on Tuesday in his State of the State address proposing to expand learning time in New Jersey schools, a statewide discussion has broken out. We are happy to see the enthusiasm and energy about creating more opportunities for all students. Here are some recent thoughts in favor of expanding school days and school years:
- Senator Teresa Ruiz, chair of NJ’s Senate Education Committee, is one person excited at the news that Gov. Chris Christie is calling for a longer school day and a shorter summer break. “The extended (school) day becomes a productive environment,’’ she said while emphasizing that all of the stakeholders, such as the teachers union, must be involved in figuring out the framework.
- Through mixed reactions with parents, students, and teachers – here is one student who responds positively to Christie’s proposal, “I think it will be fine ‘cause you get more education and I love school.”
- “You cannot just tack on an hour to the day and expect you’ll have an educational impact,” says Jennifer Davis, a TSC Signatory and co-founder and president of the National Center on Time & Learning. “What we recommend and hope schools and districts do is be thoughtful, and in the redesign of schedules ensure that every minute counts.”
- “There are certainly some parts of the country where it (extending the school year) is done, and done successfully...” -Red Bank Regional High School Superintendent Jim Stefankiewic. “For more than 30 years, research has shown that increased instructional time is a key to greater academic achievement,” the New Jersey School Boards Association Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod said in a prepared statement.
While this is just one side of this debate, it is exciting to see people engaged in the conversation about expanded learning time.