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AZ Governor wants to add six weeks and longer days to school year
Daily Dispatch ^ | Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services

Posted on 08/24/2005 11:21:48 AM PDT by hsmomx3

PHOENIX - Gov. Janet Napolitano is going to unveil a plan today that could make summer vacation for students go the way of slide rules and clapping erasers outside the building.

The proposal being announced this morning in Washington seeks a 210-day school year, particularly in school districts with a large percentage of students who perform poorly. That is six weeks longer than the 180 days now required under Arizona law and six weeks longer than the national average.

But that's not all: The report by a national task force which Napolitano co-chairs also wants a longer school day. It does not specify a length but refers to a chain of charter schools where students attend from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. - and half a day on Saturday.

Panel members also are recommending full-day kindergarten, something Napolitano already is trying to implement in Arizona. But they also want preschool available for all 3- and 4-year-old children.

The report's authors acknowledge there is a cost: It puts the price tag for just beginning to implement the recommendations at $325 billion over the next decade.

And just the preschool proposal is figured at $11.6 billion a year, even if limited only to students from low-income families.

But the study says every dollar spent on preschool returns $7, both in terms of higher earning as well as avoided costs of crime and remedial education.

Other costs are not spelled out. But there are some guideposts.

For example, Arizona voters approved a measure five years ago to extend the school year by just five days, to the current 180. And that carries a price tag of $86.3 million.

And providing state-funded full-day kindergarten in Arizona is estimated to cost close to $200 million.

Napolitano told Capitol Media Services Monday night she has "some problems'' with the fact that students in Arizona are in school only 180 days. But neither was she ready to say that 210 days is the appropriate number.

"We need to identify the standards that an Arizona diploma represents and then calculate what that means in terms of students in seats, with qualified teachers, learning the stuff,'' Napolitano said. The governor stressed that if additional classroom time is mandated, it needs to be "time well spent'' and not just having students sitting at desks for more hours.

Becky Hill, the governor's education adviser, said panel members, who had hearings in several cities including Phoenix, studied the experience of charter schools which have more flexibility in their schedules.

"And the longer day and the longer year is something that repeatedly charter schools are seeing lots and lots of success with,'' Hill said. "And it needs to be applied in a broader, more global scale.''

She said this is particularly true for students who are falling behind who "need a little extra time to catch up.''

The task force was put together by the Institute for America's Future and the Center for American Progress. Toby Chaudhuri, who handles media for the Institute, described both as "progressive'' think tanks. But he acknowledged that both tend to lean toward Democratic principles, much in the same way he said the Heritage Foundation supports Republican causes.

But Chaudhuri noted that while Napolitano is a Democratic politico, the other two co-chairs are not: Philip Murphy, senior director of the Goldman Sachs Group and Roger Wilkins, a professor of history and American culture at George Mason University.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: education; idiot; napolitano; schools
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To: hsmomx3

If approved, it's only fair that the teacher's average 200k a year for their duty to humanity. After all, they could easily apply their education in the private sector and make multiples of their salary


41 posted on 08/25/2005 7:33:22 PM PDT by ElRushbo (Harley Riders against Elton John)
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To: hsmomx3

If they removed the time wasting PC activities from school there would be about 1 hr of actual learning. Our 11th grader's LIBERALATURE textbook is 80% politically correct, America/Christian bashing nonsense.


42 posted on 08/25/2005 7:36:28 PM PDT by Kokojmudd (Outsource Federal Judiciary and US Senate to India, NOW!)
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