In addition to briefly discussing “Bridgegate” and other proposals in his State of the State speech yesterday, Governor Chris Christie proposed a longer school day and school year for New Jersey students.
Christie began talking about “some great progress” in education in the past four years and listed “a record amount of school aid, long-overdue reform of our system of teacher tenure, the high school graduation rate increased by a full percentage point, to 87.5%—t, to name a few. But then he went on to discuss what he believes is key to improving our schools:
I believe we need to take bigger and broader steps to adjust our approach to K-12 education to address the new competitive world we live in. Our school calendar is antiquated both educationally and culturally. Life in 2014 demands something more for our students. It is time to lengthen both the school day and school year in New Jersey.
If student achievement is lagging at the exact moment when we need improvement more than ever in order to compete in the world economy, we should take these steps – every possible step – to boost student achievement.
And one key step is to lengthen the school day and the school year. So, working with Commissioner Cerf, I will present to you shortly a proposal to increase the length of both the school day and the school year in New Jersey. This is a key step to improve student outcomes and boost our competitiveness. We should do it now.
Many of our new initiatives recognize a core feature of modern American life: that the quality of education and the quality of life in our communities are inextricably intertwined.
That is why this year, we need to be more aggressive, and bolder, in fixing our failing schools – and delivering a choice to those for whom today the only option is a bad option: a failing school.
This is a moral obligation. We must give every New Jersey child the chance to graduate from high school, to be ready for college and to prepare for a career. If we fail to meet this obligation, we compromise the life of that child, and we hurt the quality of life in our communities and in New Jersey. So failure is not an option.
What do you think? Are you in favor or against a longer day and school year? Take our poll: