Reducing School Days Met with Opposition

By: Ashley Conroy Email
By: Ashley Conroy Email

"It's not perfect. To be honest, I hate that I even have to be talking about something like this with you," said Education Chair, Sen. Videt Carmichael of Meridian.

Teachers could also see furloughs with this legislation to save the state and individual school districts money.

Chairman of Education for the House of Representatives, Cecil Brown, says the House will strongly consider the furloughs, but will probably bypass cutting days.

"I think it's unfortunate that something like this has to happen. It's inevitable, but I think it's better to be furloughed than lose your job," Brown said.

Sen. David Blount is among those who strongly disagree with this approach, saying it sends the wrong message.

"But the last thing we should do is cut the number of days our children go to school," Blunt said.

Meanwhile, State Superintendent, Dr. Tom Burnham, released a statement Thursday.

"I cannot support reducing the number of instructional days in any way," Burnham said. "Research shows that the two most important factors in student achievement are the quality of the teacher in the classroom and time on task. Mississippi is at or near the bottom in a number of areas, including academic achievement and graduation rates."

Carmichael says eliminating a few extra days won't interfere with students' education.

"There's no way you can make me believe that 5 days over the whole year is going to make that much difference in student outcomes," said Carmichael.

The Senate voted to pass this legislation by a 39 to 8 margin.

The House still needs to review these amendments to determine if it will accept this proposal or not.

The bill initially started as House Bill 1170.

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  • by Former MPSD Teacher Location: Meridian on Mar 11, 2010 at 03:55 AM
    The teachers I've talked to would be OK with cutting the school year 5 days if it means not losing classroom teachers. Yes, they would lose a little bit of salary, but if the districts lose teachers, that means higher numbers of students in each classroom. As the school year winds down, it's much more difficult to keep students engaged and learning. They know state testing is over and that grades are essentially already averaged and on the report cards. Don't get me wrong--teachers TRY to maintain order but I'm just saying that each day gets more and more difficult.
  • by Simple Solution Location: Newton County on Mar 9, 2010 at 07:53 PM
    The Money for teachers never got to them, the administration sucks it all up before it gets to the teacher. Mississippi has 152 school districts, thats 152 superintendants and assistants. The City of Los Angeles, California has more students than the whole state of Mississippi, guess how many Superintendants they have? ONE Thats right ONE, and we have 152 go figure why we don't have money for our teachers. This is where the problem is people, not the teachers. Figure up the Salaries for the Administrative offices and you will see where the money goes. Contact the Senators and Representatives and tell them we need 82 school districts instead of 152.
  • by Need teachers? Location: An area that will! on Mar 9, 2010 at 05:27 AM
    Think twice before cutting teachers! Here is a projected outcome: 2010/2011=teacher:"sorry students, I am going to have to furlough the treasure box for good behavior by a few weeks every year. I don't have the money to do it WEEKLY any more (this comes out of the TEACHER'S pocketbook). Also, you will have to bring your own pens, pencils, and paper...cutbacks." Looking ahead to 2021=legislature:"we need teachers!!! We have had a shortage since we decided that they make too much money and we cut them...AGAIN! People decided that any education job became an underappreciated job and decided to go into other careers that didn't require a college degree since tuition was also increased. On a positive note, our budget IS balanced since we only have school three times per week. By the way, isn't it time for another meeting?"
  • by Get Real on Mar 9, 2010 at 04:45 AM
    Let's cut the NUMBER of days that the House and Senate are in session, but lengthen them by two hours so we can save some money. Also, will central office personnel be cut? If the number of school days are cut, we won't need them either. In Meridian, seems as if we can save money by cutting the "public relations director" job. The reason that job was created doesn't exist any longer!
  • by John Location: Philadelphia on Mar 8, 2010 at 04:20 PM
    So many idiots forget that teachers are highly educated people with at least a bs degree to even think of cutting teachers pay is the STUPIEST thing anyone can mention how could you ever get some young person interested in becoming an educator I think minimum requirements for a Mississippi legislator should be at least a bs degree. You dumb _______ think a teacher can become a whipping boy for state legislators what a joke that is called Mississippi legislature
  • by Me on Mar 8, 2010 at 06:46 AM
    Paula, pop tarts don't cost that much. I am a single working mother too but don't take advantage of free lunches when I am capable of feeding my own child.
  • by Parent Location: Ms. on Mar 8, 2010 at 06:29 AM
    Start school right after Labor Day, Finish just before Memorial Day. Get all required day in during this time period. Yes, this means cutting out some of the holidays during the year. Every time I turn around my kids are out for some Holiday. Later start and end of May finish would save lots of money on utilities and transportation cost.
  • by Teacher Location: Mississippi on Mar 7, 2010 at 08:11 AM
    If 4 school days are lengthened so as to cut 1 day, teacher pay will probably not be affected, savings will be reflected in closed buildings and no buses on the road. However, if the school year is shortened by 5 days, I assume teachers' salaries will be cut to reflect the fewer days. Should that be "the direction", taking five days off the end would be the logical choice given that nearly all instruction is over after state testing and it begins to get more and more difficult to manage student behavior--the kids simply don't want to do anything. If we look at schools that have moved to a 4-day week with longer hours, most schools report fewer absences among students and teachers, and there doesn't seem to be any effect on education quality. Honestly, either course of action would be fine with me. What angers me is that our government has screwed the public over royally to put us in this position. Nearly every single one of our elected officials needs to be voted out in my opinion.
  • by Legislative support needed to improve MS schools Location: Mississippi on Mar 6, 2010 at 07:16 PM
    It is time that MS Legislators step up to the plate and make a difference in improving MS schools. Cutting 5 days or reducing the school week to four days will always be met with opposition by someone. But, both are excellent ideas that could address the economic crisis so we do not lose educators. This could work,if our system is restructured around this change the job can be done to adequately serve the students. We do not need to lose any of our career teachers. You need to show support and provide safe environments for them to teach in by making laws that punish those who disrupt the learning environment and hold parents accountable for their child if they disrupt the learning environment. Parents need to realize school is for educating children no matter how short or long it is. Parents need to be held accountable and show support to those who have gone into to the field to teach their children. SUPPORT EDUCATION and EDUCATORS! Encouragement in this field in this state is needed.
  • by Citizen Location: Mississippi on Mar 6, 2010 at 05:59 PM
    Schools could do a number of things to cut cost. A September start would cut down greatly on energy cost. Schools use to opperate without air conditioning. A four day school week has been suggested and would save large sums of money. All students should be required to pay something for meals even if it is just a quarter. We send the wrong message by saying everything is free. Things are not free and everyone needs to contribute something; that is what has put us in the predicament we are now facing! There are also, too many administrators with large numbers of office staff and not enough classroom teachers. We already have a teacher shortage in this state. We need to retain what we have and encourage more to go into teaching. Young people who do go into education do not stay long because they find this is one of the hardest jobs because the behavior of children is not being addressed. Discipline use to be dealt with by administration so teachers could teach those who wanted to learn.
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