Christie's plan for longer school day would be expensive venture, officials say

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reaction among educators to Gov. Chris Christie’s call for a longer school day and year was mixed Tuesday, with some citing research linking more class time to higher achievement, while others saying the quality of instruction, and not the quantity, is paramount.

But teachers and education advocates agreed on one key point: The idea is a costly one. "This is an expensive venture," Gloria Bonilla Santiago, founder of LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, which has used extended day learning for 15 years. "If he’s going to do it, he has to support it through funding."

Education featured prominently in Tuesday’s State of the State address, with Christie touting teacher tenure reform, growth in charter schools and "promising" results from new policies in Camden and Newark, two urban districts under the state’s control. But after reviewing his successes, Christie proposed bigger and broader steps" to ensure New Jersey students remain competitive.

Changing an "antiquated" school calendar is a start, he said.

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