Gov. Jay Nixon visited Nixa, MO, last week to sing the praises of John Thomas School of Discovery and the Nixa School District’s Early Learning Center. He noted in his visit that Missouri students should be in school longer.
The state's required school year is 174 days—the fourth shortest in the country. Nixon would like to extend the school year to the national average of 180 days. And at the John Thomas school, the year is 194 days.
In a news release, Nixon said students should be in school as long as "their peers in other states."
"My budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include resources to support additional school days," the governor said. "Investing in our public schools is the right thing to do for our kids and our economy."
Nixon's announcement comes in the shadow of what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes as a "new rating system for Missouri’s school districts (that) will intensify pressure on low-performing school districts to improve, while exposing even the best schools to new scrutiny from parents and the public."
If the new, more rigorous rating system were imposed today, the newspaper said, it's effect on accreditation for Missouri school districts would mean 31 out of 520 districts would receive "provisional accreditation." That's up from 11 now.
Also last week, Education Week ranked Missouri schools 41st in the nation.
Do you agree with the governor that one path toward improving Missouri schools is a longer school year? What's the downside? Is there a good reason not to?