Instructional Time: First two weeks

The schoolday at Denison begins at 9:00 AM and ends at 4:00 PM   To fairly calculate time actually available for Curriculum & Instruction, I propose the following daily schedule as “basic”

9:00 – 9:15  Arrival, attendance, lunch count

9:15 – 11:45  Curriculum & Instruction

1145 – 1:15  Lunch and Recess

1:15 – 3:45  Curriculum and Instruction

3:45 – 4:00  Dismissal (includes bus loading)

This basic schedule provides for 5 hours of Curriculum and Instruction daily.  Because of Union rules about Teacher Planning time that must be allotted, students leave the classroom 4 hours each week for “Specials,” which at our school this year are 2 hours of Art and 2 hours of Physical Education or Gym.  Therefore, a “Perfect Week” of Curriculum & Instruction would afford a teacher 21 hours for Curriculum & Instruction.

Total time for Week #1 of Classroom C & I  =  19.75

Total time for Week #2  = 19.75

Mitt Romney and friends have launched a campaign for “Strong Schools” that argues for more rigor in our schools to improve our competitiveness internationally.  One of his strong points is that our school day is shorter and our school year is shorter than most other “high-achieving” nations.  When I look at less than 20 hours a week in time allotted for Curriculum & Instruction in my classroom, it looks like he is making a reasonable argument.  My questions are about how additional time in school would actually be used.  Would teachers’ pay be increased so that they could be in the classroom longer hours or more days OR would there be more daycare programs after school with supplementary staff.  Then the schoolday would only appear to be longer, but without more quality time for curriculum & instruction.  How would additional time figure into the expectations and accountability machine that is already out of control?  Would we just be making more time for tests?

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