An area school superintendent was relieved when a school reform bill last week eliminated extra days that were to be added to the school year.
Triopia school superintendent Adam Dean was watching the bill closely. The reason..there was talk of adding days to the school year for the next three years.
Dean wasn’t sure where Triopia would find money to pay for it.
“Basically there was a part of the bill with an extension of days for the next three school years. They were looking to add 20 days to the school calendar, and superintendents in our area started kind of calculating what that would cost.
Pie in the sky, I think this is an admirable thing to do. Some schools in the state have been closed since March and haven’t opened their doors, so they are trying to get kids into schools more. But when you start calculating the costs it’s concerning, especially for small districts.”
The bill proposed that 20 days be added to the school year over the next three years. Dean says small school districts would have been hit hard.
The issue was pushed by members of the black caucus who were seeing students outside the classrooms due to COVID. Dean says Triopia has lost only 5 days at the high school level to remote learning.
Dean says the others parts of the bill dealing with graduation, and other required new classes are a little easier to take.
“They have looked at graduation requirements, they are trying to, instead of just having science classes by 2024/2025 they want them to be lab sciences. They want computer literacy starting in the grade school and you can kind of tie that in with your regular curriculum.
Another thing that is kind of concerning with teacher shortages is by 2028/2029 they want foreign language as a graduation requirement for all of our students. We are lucky enough to have an excellent foreign language teacher but I know some districts in our area that do not have one so with the teacher shortage that is concerning. But we do have some time to kind of get that one figured out hopefully.”
If signed, the bill eases graduation requirements, imposes new requirements for computer learning at the grade school level, and sets in place a requirement for foreign language learning in the next decade.
Dean says the biggest challenge for the smaller school districts is the lack of teaching candidates. Dean would like lawmakers to add incentives to draw graduates to the teaching world.