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Are Children Spending Enough Time in School?

The November calendar shows a short month for students in the Easton Area School District.

The complaints are numerous.

Parents in the Easton Area School District are wondering why their children aren't in school so much these days.

They complain about it at parent pickup. They moan about it on Facebook. And they express unhappiness about trying to find childcare for half-days and off days because they are working full-time jobs.

One parent even told me that when you count up the days, children will only be in elementary schools -- at least in Shawnee Elementary School where my son attends -- for nine full days during November. OK, I count 10.

But still. Are children spending enough time in school to learn anything?

By state law, children must go to school 180 days throughout the school year.

But November seems to be a lost cause.

There are plenty of reasons for this, of course. And really, after the Christmas holiday, children will start spending much more time in classes.

For one thing, you can blame Hurricane Sandy.

She stole two school days -- Nov. 1 and 2 -- when the Easton Area School District had to cancel classes because many people were without power in Palmer and Forks townships and Easton.

Then, after one day back, students were off for Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 6. We can blame that on a presidential election that makes Election Day a national holiday.

They did go to school for five straight days -- Nov. 7, 8, 9, 12 and 13 -- before the calendar called for parent-teacher conferences.

So Shawnee students got half-days -- which are counted as full days -- leading up to Thanksgiving, another off day. Technically, that would swell my 10-day figure, but come on, these are half days.

The same goes for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. And why not give everyone off Monday so they can have a long holiday weekend.

That leaves four full days on Nov. 27-30.

And that ends November. The school calendar doesn't lie. That's how this ball bounces.

Of course, most children are thrilled. It was never like this when I was growing up. Seems like we were always in school learning something.

There's been calls over the years that the school year should last longer because our pupils are falling behind other countries as far as test scores and the skills they are learning.

Of course no student wants to hear that. And teachers probably don't either.

Anyway, just food for thought -- food that I can serve on a plate when my son comes home for lunch after another half-day of school.

Rasterone December 07, 2012 at 06:45 PM
With administration handing out substitute pay in the 70,000 -80,000 /yr per person pro rata by day range PLUS benefits EASD may run out of more than days all too soon? NO this is NOT the teachers fault!!

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