180 days mandated in Hawaii

Hawaii decided to furlough students and even tried a 4-day school week during this recession.  And they took a lot of criticism for it and now I read that they have passed a law mandating 180 days of instruction (instead of the 178 they wound up with).

It sounds like peer pressure:
"Hawaii is the only State in the nation that does not set by statute the minimum number of hours of instructional time a public school student should receive. Our families, principals and teachers deserve a public school system that ensures our students have the tools and classroom time needed to succeed" said Aiona. 
Hawaii students attend class an average of four hours and 43 minutes per day, behind the five-and-a-half to six hours per day of instructional time in most states.
A laid-back Hawaiian schedule isn't necessarily too little time spent to be effective. Germany, at least until recently, had shorter days and Finland, the star of testing mavens, boasts a later start and less instructional time than other countries. (This article links to a study that finds no correlation between instructional time and achievement, i.e., high test scores.)

There are many states, grappling with extreme weather events and sudden snow events that make then lose days and require attendance at other inconvenient times, that would do well to allow more flexibility in the number of days of instruction.  But people want to do what their peers do and Hawaiians felt their kids were losing out, somehow, instead of gaining.  No one wants to feel they have lost something and I'm not blogging about cutting anything against anyone's wishes:  I think only parents and families should make these decisions.  But I question some of the underlying assumptions that a lot of my fellow citizens may not see as easily as a longtime homeschooler and someone who has thought about education and what's wrong from a mother's point of view. Many people actually embrace wrong-headed ideas, borne of the factory school experience, like this one:
"We really do hope that we can make a difference because how can you say that quantity is not important. If you spend an extra hour a day reading a book, you are going to be a smarter person. You spend an extra hour a day in school, you're going to get better grades, you are going to know more. We are really hoping that this is going to be one of the keys that is missing," said Melanie Bailey, a concerned parent of two public school kids.
I was thinking that Hawaii, if had continued its 4-day week over a longer period of time, it might have found that the kids scored higher on tests.  I actually believe that would happen due to reduced instruction time especially less time for tests.  I have seen that happen in homeschooling and I am convinced it would happen on a 4-day week if studied. This is because the factory structure of contemporary schooling works against the way we learn and grow. The community structures that mitigated these aspects of mass schooling have been eroded for working-class and poor kids.  And middle-class kids are showing the stress as well.  Basically, we need less schooling and more fun for everyone to be smart and talented and productive.

But states do not need to cut services which is yet another one-size -fits-all approach controlled from the top. We could move toward a structure that allows the families themselves to make choices and drive where the dollars go. Many families actually need more daycare services and schools should be able to provide that: from early preschool to after-school and weekends and nights.

I do think that if we ever did provide families with real and substantial choices and support for leading their families learning journeys, that most families would find over time that they use less in quantity but use a wider variety of learning services and that these many and myriad adjustments would not only save money and share resources but they would increase the quality of life and learning experiences for children, make happier and stronger families and smarter, more involved citizens.
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