PTA Leader Says Extra School Hours Plan Would Have To Be Funded

Friday, July 13th 2007, 2:21 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Even though it might be a good idea, the president of the Oklahoma PTA said Friday she is not ready to get behind a proposal to add an extra hour to the school day and more days to the school year.

``It would have to be funded first, that is our concern,'' said Keven Rondot of Broken Arrow. She said the Legislature ``notoriously is great about giving mandates without the funds.''

Earlier this week, Sandy Garrett, state school superintendent, proposed extending the school day by an hour to help prepare students to compete in a global economy.

Garrett also suggested adding five days to the 175-day school year in place in most districts. She said the current length ranks behind other states in the region and far behind Asian countries.

Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, said student class days should be expanded by 15 days and he plans to introduce legislation to do that.

He said Oklahoma has one of the lowest mandatory school calendars in the nation and it affects student performance.

Wesselhoft said he opposes giving teachers more pay to compensate them for the extra teaching time, but said his plan would add to school costs for such things as utilities and janitorial service.

Rep. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum, a former school superintendent, said just expanding the school day and adding an extra week to the school year is not enough by itself to improve student achievement.

Cannaday said educators have found that expanding class time ``does not correlate to additional learning if a teacher does not add at least two different teaching strategies to the extended class period.''

Rondot said her organization has not taken an official position on the proposed expansion of class time, but agreed that ``European and Japanese models have proven that with a longer school day and year, children academically tend to be more advanced.

``However, for us to be fully supportive, the money would have to be there.''