The Duncan Banner


August 5, 2007

Longer school days proposed

WAURIKA — WAURIKA — Do public school students in Oklahoma need to be spending more time in the classroom?

Sandy Garrett thinks so, and as the state superintendent of public instruction hits the stump, pushing for more and longer school days, she has at least one ally in Waurika.

“Personally,” said Waurika Superintendent Roxie Terry, “I agree with Sandy that we need more classroom time for our students. It’s probably time to look at longer school days and more days of school — not just in Oklahoma, but nationwide.

“We need to re-evaluate how much classroom time is going on.”

Terry was one of many state educators paying close attention when Garrett told approximately 2,500 teachers and administrators, and business leaders, that for Oklahoma to become more globally competitive, more instruction time is necessary.

“I submit to you that our state must move to an extended-day plan of one additional hour and adding at least five more days to the instructional year,” Garrett said, during a “State of Education” address in Oklahoma City.

Stressing that schools must also do a better job of effectively using time already available, Garrett has appointed a task force to study the issue of scheduling reform in Oklahoma schools.

When Waurika students report for the first day of classes on Aug. 16, they’ll begin a 2007-08 school year that includes 175 days in which students receive classroom instruction. Compared to surrounding states, Oklahoma’s instruction calendar is short of the 178 days of classroom instruction in Arkansas, 180 days in New Mexico and Texas, and 186 days in Kansas.

Oklahoma’s 175-day instructional period is about seven days short of the national average.

“Some things we’re doing now have been added to the curriculum that are not education-based,” noted Terry. “But high school graduates now need to know seven times more than they did 40 years ago, and we’re trying to teach (students) seven times more in the same amount of time as in the past. That’s not logical.

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