Pharos-Tribune

February 12, 2014

OUR VIEW: No choice is a popular choice


Pharos-Tribune

---- — The phones at Logansport Community School Corp. were likely ringing off the hook Tuesday morning after an action taken the night before by the school board.

In case you missed the story, the board approved the addition of one hour to each school day from Feb. 17 until April 30 at the request of Superintendent Michele Starkey.

We doubt it was a decision school officials wanted to make. They had to know a fallout was coming. But, in their defense, a fallout would have ensued no matter the decision. Decisions that affect schools and education are often met with personal reactions from parents, students and the community as a whole.

But, this was a decision that had to be made. Logansport schools have missed a total of 11 days because of the prolonged winter. State officials waived two of the missed days and one will be made up by attending school on Presidents’ Day. That leaves eight days to make up.

The state has given schools a few options in how to make up the abundance of missed days. They can extend the school day, be in session on Saturdays, or push the end of the school year further into the summer. If we were parents or students, none of those would sound appealing to us. But that doesn’t change the fact that the State Board of Education requires 180 days of instructional time.

While pushing the school year back further into the summer sounds like the least offensive option now, it doesn’t help students prepare for the impending ISTEP+ testing. By extending the school day though, students will have more instructional time before taking the important exams.

Sure they could get more instructional time before the exams by being in session on Saturdays. We can’t speak for school board members and why they made the choice they did, but we have to imagine an extra hour a day is better than trying to get the attention of students who only get one day a week off. As adults, we love our weekends and don’t function so well when they’re cut short. We imagine it’s the same for the younger folks as well.

After considering all the alternatives, we can see why the board chose an extended school day over the other options available. That doesn’t mean we like the idea any more than the parents likely do. We also doubt schools officials and teachers are excited about working late.

The point is this, school officials are doing what they have to do to be compliant with the law. If you don’t like the law — whether it be the laws requiring such high-pressure testing or mandatory instructional time — we hope you’ll take the fight up with those who make the laws and not those trying to follow them.

THE ISSUE Logansport schools decision to extend the school day OUR VIEW There is no clear winner on how to make up the missed instructional time.