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Monday, December 5, 2022
FairfaxEditorial: Make year-round school a viable option

Editorial: Make year-round school a viable option

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Editorial: Make year-round school a viable option

Faithful readers will recall that, a week ago, this space gave a degree of praise to new(ish) Fairfax Superintendent Michelle Reid for calling out the elephant in the room during a forum in McLean.

Reid noted that the system in place to guide the stewardship and oversight of public schools – many private ones, too – dates back more than a century, to an agrarian society where the youth were needed over the summer to tend the fields.

(The only fields we suspect today’s local teens are tending are their personal stashes of marijuana. But, as often is the case here, we digress . . .)

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In noting that Reid successfully had ascertained one of the key reasons that public education today too often is providing (in our view) mediocrity as its best-case outcome, we challenged her to use her new position to impact the discussion and force some change. In other words, unlike some previous Fairfax superintendents who have been space-fillers and time-killers, actually do something – and stare down critics if they get in your way.

Because we’re in an expansive mood, we’ll even provide the first suggestion: Start moving more Fairfax schools into a year-round-calendar environment.

The state government clearly wants school districts to move in that direction, providing cash grants to support efforts at expanding the school year or going year-round, particularly in schools with achievement problems.

Going this route probably could add 10 to 15 percent more instructional time than today’s students are receiving, even factoring mini-breaks throughout the year and the requisite rash of holidays, snow days, teacher workdays, protest days and whatever else comes down the transom.

That 10 to 15 percent more time would go a long way not merely to catching up from the COVID learning loss, but helping Fairfax students begin to emulate to the performance of their counterparts across the globe, who live in countries (repressive though some of them admittedly are) that seem to value the education of their young people far more than do we in the U.S.

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