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.