Written by Amanda Angulo
Former County Board of Education Member Mark Powell recently wrote an opinion article on why school districts need to place an extension on the academic school year. On Good Evening San Diego, he said that the Los Angeles Unified School District is currently considering the option and urges that San Diego Unified should also consider it. Powell says the shutdown and virtual learning has really affected the underserved population of students in California.
He goes on to explain that these children deserve the opportunity to catch up to the one year that was missed out on their education due to remote learning. Going to school a couple of days a week for a limited amount of hours or being offered tutoring and summer school is not going to do enough to help students catch up.
Currently, the United States has a national average of 180 days in a school year. China has 245 days a school year, Japan has 210, and Mexico has 200. This already puts these countries one to two months ahead of us, without the extension. In addition, Israel has extended their school year by 20 days due to the loss caused by COVID-19.
In order to make these students competitors for the job market in the global economy, our students need to catch up on the year they missed, go back in person, and learn from a teacher that is physically standing in front of them in the classroom. Kids need to be prepared for high school, college, and the workforce.
In addition, many of these children have trauma due to the shutdowns and have developed anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues. There are teachers, counselors, and nurses at schools that can help them address this and do something about it.
For all the reasons mentioned above, and others, Powell proposed that at least elementary school districts should extend their school year to catch up on critical learning.