Summer vacation could be severely slashed for Vermont's kids if Vt. Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca has his way.
"How do we expect to address 21st and 22nd century issues when we're dealing with an agrarian calendar that was developed in the 19th century?" Vilaseca asked.
He says the required 175 days in a classroom is simply not enough. He wants kids hitting the classroom 200 days a year and he'd like that number to be 220 for teachers, with the difference going toward professional development and planning time.
The Vermont chapter of the National Education Association says it's a decision that should involve parents and educators.
"It's not something that can be mandated out of an office on State Street in Montpelier. It has to be something that is arrived at with the consensus of everybody who has a stake in the education of our children," said Darren Allen of the Vermont NEA.
The NEA also argues that paying for an additional 4-5 weeks of school will be a major challenge.
"Adding a month to the school year costs money. And you multiply that over the hundreds of school districts and local taxpayers will have a say in that, as well," Allen said.
Vilaseca says covering the costs could be doable, but would require significant cuts elsewhere.
"There are a lot of ways that we can save money in the state of Vermont if we just look at maybe some of the different ways that we organize our supervisory unions or our districts," Vilaseca said.
The NEA thinks consolidation efforts may not be right in all communities, and that for now, the focus should be on the quality of the education kids are getting within the confines of their existing school schedules.
Vilaseca knows getting his idea off the ground will be a challenge, but it's one he says the state can't afford to ignore.
"Our kids from Vermont are competing with kids from Singapore, Finland, South Korea, all over the world that have systems that have longer contacts time with the kids," he said.
Vilaseca admits it could take years to make any major changes to the length of the school year. It's also unclear whether he will be around to lead the charge-- starting next year the governor will appoint an education secretary. Vilaseca plans to apply for the job.
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:39 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:39:09 GMT
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Sunday, May 19 2013 8:38 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:38:13 GMT
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Sunday, May 19 2013 8:28 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:28:28 GMT
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Sunday, May 19 2013 8:27 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:27:13 GMT
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Sunday, May 19 2013 8:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:26:39 GMT
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Sunday, May 19 2013 8:17 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:17:27 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
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