Recommendation number three reads:
"Transform and extend the school day and year to expand quality learning time for students, especially in underserved communities"Great. I'm all for it. I especially agree that a longer school year could work. Really, there's no reason students need to have two full months off. I'd even compromise. North Carolina has an option for students to come for nine weeks, followed by three weeks off- but they come year round. It works out to a similar amount of school days as your traditional year. The benefit though is that you never lose your students for more than three weeks at a stretch. No summer slide?
I think the realities of extending the school day are a little harder. Younger students I think are already tapped by three p.m. Older students have jobs, baby sitting, and athletic events. Yes, I agree, athletics are extra-curricular. But here at 43 degrees north latitude, daylight is an issue. If your October soccer game doesn't start by 3:30 or so, you're playing into the gloom.
Lastly on this issue: NY is still has a unionized education work force. A work force which has demonstrated over the last couple of years a commitment more to maintaining traditional union values- work day, salary steps, retirement benefits- over making meaningful change. The point is: show me the money. This is not the type of change our unions will buy into without being bought.