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Lengthening the School Year So Our Kids Can Compete

Raising Expectations for Alaska Schools and Alaska Students

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) introduced legislation (HB155) to improve student success by lengthening the minimum school term from 180 days to 190 days, giving students more time to learn.

“To prepare our children for good jobs, we must raise Alaska expectations,” said Rep. Josephson. “Other leading nations expect more and provide more schooling for their youth, and if our students are going to compete in tomorrow’s job market, we must give them the same opportunities.”

Forty states and the District of Columbia currently require more school days than Alaska. Thirty-three of those states mandate two weeks more instruction than many Alaska students receive. 

“The time is now to focus on our schools and education in Alaska. Our public schools need a lasting commitment, including resources they can count on year after year,” said Rep. Josephson. “That means money, but it also means time. This proposal ensures they have the time to innovate and strive toward excellence for our children and our state.”

Current Alaska law references a 180-day minimum term but allows ten of those days to be used for staff training without students in attendance. Rep. Josephson’s legislation would require a minimum of 180 instructional days plus up to ten in-service days by 2017.  This lead time will allow school employee contracts, and state and school district budgets to accommodate the change.

Read the report by the Education Commission the States compares states’ minimum instructional year: http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/95/05/9505.pdf

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