Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Schools Rearrange Schedules To Add Extra Hour Of Reading

307 Florida schools must add an extra hour of reading instruction this year.

rhonddal / lickr

307 Florida schools must add an extra hour of reading instruction this year.

Florida schools are making plans for how to add a state-required extra hour of reading instruction, according to two stories out today.

In 2012, lawmakers required that the 100 schools with the lowest scores on the FCAT reading test add an extra hour of reading instruction to try and boost those scores. When the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability reviewed the results, the agency found most students at those schools improved their test scores.

So lawmakers expanded the requirement to the 300 lowest-scoring school this year (it’s actually 307 because some schools had tied scores).

In Pasco County, the Tampa Bay Times reports the school district said they are adding extra instruction time without changing the length of the school day at three schools. That’s because the district wants to avoid the $975,000 cost of rearranging bus schedules.

It’s not clear if the district can do this. From the story:

Senate Education Committee chairman John Legg said lawmakers intended more time learning in class.

“The idea was that perhaps in some of these schools they could benefit from an extended school day,” he said.

Lawmakers didn’t write any accountability system into the law, though. The Department of Education has no specific authority to monitor how districts implement the extra hour (unlike other programs where districts must submit plans and get approval).

“It is the districts’ responsibility to adhere to the law as approved by the Legislature,” DOE spokesman Joe Follick said.

While the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports some parents aren’t happy with the extra hour in schools.


  • ForeverTeacher

    To think that adding an hour to a day where students are already tired out, is clearly not the answer. From experience, I can tell you that younger students are so worn out that it is difficult to keep their attention until the regular end of the day. Schools that have added the extra hour already have NOT improved in scores. School grades are clearly based on the poverty level of the school. With the extra hour added, my planning time that I usually have after school is now gone. I know that is not going to help my students. I know that we have wonderful teachers and administrators at my school and we are all made to feel that we are totally to blame. Thankfully, I know that is not the case and will work hard to help all students that start out several years behind other peers their same age.

    • Toni K

      I so agree with Forever Teacher… I have been a reading teacher to students from elementary to high school ages… the teachers and school work very hard to try to catch kids up… but the problem is a social one that needs to be addressed.. putting more sanctions on the school is not the answer..!!!

  • Mary Niemeyer
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