Parents, NJEA weigh in on Gov. Christie's State of the State proposal of longer school days

Gov. Chris Christie says he wants to improve student achievement in the Garden State, and become more competitive in the world economy, by extending the public school day. (1/14/14)

ABERDEEN - Gov. Chris Christie says he wants to improve student achievement in the Garden State, and become more competitive in the world economy, by extending the public school day.

"Life in 2014 demands something more for our students," Christie says. "It is time to lengthen both the school day and school year in New Jersey."

Christie did not offer specifics on how much longer the school day or the school year would be under his proposal, nor did he talk about any costs involved.

READ MORE: Education Stories

"I'm wondering what that would look like and how he would fund that," says Monmouth University Prof. Kerry Carly Rizuto. "It's problematic for me to just get behind that wholeheartedly right away."

Parents at Strathmore Elementary School in Aberdeen have mixed opinions. "I'm for a longer school year," says Megan Serrano, of Aberdeen. "They need more time to play though after school. They need a little free time. But a longer school year sounds good."

Dana Sirota, also of Aberdeen disagreed. "They go at 9 a.m. and by the time they get out it's 4 o'clock," she says. "By the time you feed them, you know, it's a long day. It really is."

Ashna Shah is in the fourth grade. She loves school and the governor's idea, but she knows not all her friends will. "Some people don't like school," she says. "They wouldn't like a longer day. They would like a shorter day."

In a statement, the President of the New Jersey Education Association, with which Gov. Christie has frequently clashed, welcomed conversation on the proposal. "Many students of all ages are spending far too much class time preparing for high stakes standardized tests, rather than engaging in real learning," says Wendell Steinhauer. "They may not need a longer school day but rather better use of the instructional time already available."
 

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