letter to the editor | http://lat.ms/ozaUFz
12 July 2011 - Re "Keeping pupils' skills sharp," July 7 | http://bit.ly/nVyqwY
With 2 1/2 months off, of course students lose a lot over the summer. The assertion that drop-in-the-bucket, feel-good grants by some corporations to school districts to "close the achievement gap" make a significant difference obscures the central issue.
Why does any state embrace the antiquated agrarian calendar for education that caps learning at 180 school days? Increasing the school year to 216 days and mandating that there are no breaks of greater than three consecutive weeks would have a significant impact on reducing student retrenchment.
To do so would require increasing education funding, which the U.S. Department of Education can do in the form of a per capita block grant. It's time to make education a federal priority to provide equal opportunities for all.
But if we want more education we will have to pay for it – and there is no popular enthusiasm for paying for more – instead+regretfully we are merrily on track for settling for less.
- LAUSD has cut instructional days per year – (the state didn't say we had to, it was an an option we chose) and adds furlough days at every turn.
- Testing reduces instructional days.
- And the new state budget will further reduce instructional days if revenue targets are not met – and they are currently not on track to do so.