(Updated) An Idea for Students to Make Up for Lost Learning Time: Extend the 2020-21 School Year and Day

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Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman rightly closed all Arizona schools for the remainder of the 2019/2020  school year because of the Coronavirus.

A legitimate worry has surfaced with how students (especially English as a Second Language and  Special Education Children) will make up for the lost learning time for the last quarter of the school year they have missed.

Going to digital instruction for the remainder of the school year has encountered hurdles because of inconsistent internet hotspots, especially in rural areas, and the need for 100,000 students to have access to a laptop to complete their schoolwork.

If summer school is not a viable option, one potential solution for local districts (the state does not set the school calendar for Arizona’s schools) to consider is to expand the 2020-21 school year or school day.

For example, instead of starting the school year in the first week in August and ending it the week before Memorial Day Weekend, local school districts convene a board meeting and adjust their new year calendar, maybe starting on July 21 and ending on June 11 if the health situation permits.

Another solution may be extending the school day by increasing class periods by ten minutes each for the 2020-21 school year.

Obviously, school stakeholders like administrators, teachers, and parents need to arrive at a consensus moving forward on an agreeable solution.

Teachers, Administrators, and staff would have to receive increased compensation for the increased time.

Extending the 2020-21 school year or prolonging the instructional day during that period are viable solutions that stakeholders should consider to help children catch up.

Most children, who are probably bored at staying home, and parents, who never appreciated the custodial aspects of education until now with the kids home all day, would probably welcome these ideas more readily than expected.

Hopefully, education leaders across the state will consider this solution.

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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.

1 COMMENT

  1. How about just starting the whole year over? Finishing high school a year later than originally planned would allow for a more thorough education and keep the graduating students off the job market for a year. That might help with some of the surplus of labor that we are almost surely going to see. As I recall (from a History of Education course years ago) much of the pressure to extend the compulsory school age came from the labor movement that wanted a smaller supply of labor.

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