More instruction, not less

Editor, The News:

Re: Trustees favour two-week spring break (The News, March 11).

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is recommending a two week spring break, an altered calendar holiday and adding a few minutes to every school day to make up for the instruction time lost.

This totals six less instructional days of school, in addition to six professional days, which already occur throughout the school year.

The researcher they hired found that simply adding hours to the school calendar does not improve performance and that more or less time has little impact, in reference to increased or decreased time in each day.

So how does the school district   plan on making up for the lost days of instruction time?

It doesn’t, and this instruction time will not exist. Teachers and students will have to cover the same curriculum with six days less of instruction time.

The district says the research indicated this would not have a detrimental affect on student learning. I couldn’t find anywhere in the report (available on the website) where it said that days of instruction have no value.

I value the time teachers spend with my kids and I know how hard they work to provide our children with a great education. I would prefer they have more instruction time, not less.

Does the school district think so little of a teacher’s day of instruction that it feels six days less will have no effect on a student’s education?

Gary Rupert, an education  professor at the University of B.C. said in a newspaper article that this decision is the equivalent of saying you’re going to have an extra piece of bread tonight, but you’re not going to have any dinner at all tomorrow.

Other school districts, (Chilliwack and Abbotsford) want to go back to a one-week spring break after extending their spring breaks to two weeks. They feel the reduction of instruction days has an impact on students. It was done as cost saving measure, but it is not a direction they want to go long-term.

So learn from the mistakes of others and don’t compromise our students’ education for the sake of saving a few dollars.

There is a survey on the SD 42 website and a meeting on Tuesday, March 29 at Thomas Haney secondary to provide your input. Please take the time to have your say.

Karen Georgi

Maple Ridge