A new change in school districts across Michigan may outrage students and their parents.
The State of Michigan has mandated that all Michigan schools that receive state aid will need to increase the school day from 175 days a year to 180 days. This change is due to school officials thinking that Michigan schools should have the same number of school days as the rest of the country, as most schools around the country have an average of between 175 to 180 school days a year. Another reason could be that they want the students to get more meaningful instruction.
“The additional instructional days are important and give schools the opportunity to provide real and relevant education to students,” said Randy Speck, superintendent of the Madison District Public Schools in Madison Heights. In Madison Heights, only three more days will be added.
While there are many variations of school calendars which fit the new requirements, one is especially intriguing. There has been a lot of controversy over a four day school week. One school in Michigan has put it to the test. The Republic-Michigamme school, in Republic, MI, switched from a five-day school week to a four-day school week 12 years ago.
According to the school’s website, “The Republic-Michigamme School has been conducting classes four days per week since the 2004-2005 school year. This has been an effort to reduce costs and save money. Our school has been saving money from having a four day school week.” This system could prove to be a good alternative to the increased number of school days.
Another option could be to eliminate a law that has been in effect for almost a decade. The law prohibits schools from starting before Labor Day. Some districts have been getting waivers that allow them to start before Labor Day, and the number of schools getting waivers has increased by 10 times as much since 2006. In 2006, nine schools were granted waivers, while in 2016, more than 90 schools were granted exemptions.
This year, the West Bloomfield School District decided to change the calendar in several ways, both to the delight and dismay of students. Significant changes to the 2016-17 calendar from the 2015-16 calendar include:
No school in the 2016-17 year on Tuesday, November 8th due to Election Day.
Two days (November 24th through November 26th, 2016) of Thanksgiving recess in the 2016-17 school year, rather than three days of Thanksgiving recess as in 2015-16.
Seven weekdays of break for Winter Break in 2016-17, rather than 10 days of Winter Break in 2015-16
Half days during every testing day during finals week (January 25th, 26th, and 27th in 2017, and June 14th, 15th, and 16th), unlike having full days the first days of finals week during the 2015-16 school year.
A total of 180 student instruction days in the 2016-17 school year, rather than a total of 176 student instruction days in the 2015-2016 school year.
Many students were excited about having half days during finals week, yet will miss the extra Wednesday off during Thanksgiving and the extra Winter Break days.