Alabama lawmaker pushes for longer summers while school officials push back

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Some Birmingham teachers and staff are prying for more information after a proposed new school calendar for schools in Alabama went viral on social media, posted by Huntsville City Schools requiring longer summer vacations that could lead to longer school days by two hours.

Rep. Steven Hurst, R-Huntsville, plans to sponsor some sort of legislation mandating summer break run from Memorial Day to Labor Day. But he calls the idea of going to school until 5 p.m. asinine.

“I would never want children to go to school for eight hours,” Hurst said.

Hurst said that there is no current proposal to extend the school day by two hours. Hurst says the draft promotes Governor Kay Ivey “Work Initiaitive” for students.

CBS 42 got a copy of the draft that states: “Each local board of education shall have local control of establishing its school calendar, setting the number of instructional days, and developing holidays and breaks for the schools under its jurisdiction. The calendar shall comply with general law and shall provide a summer break such that the last required instructional day for students of each school year is no later than the day before Memorial day and the first required instructional day for students for each school year is no earlier than the day after Labor day.”

“We’re hurting these kids, and they can’t get an opportunity to learn a trade without going to a trade school somewhere,” Hurst said. “They can’t learn a trade in summer months when their trying to help mom and dad make a little money. If they can work a bit in the summer, it’ll do two things. They’ll learn work ethic and they learn discipline.”

Currently, the school year runs anywhere from 174 days to 180 days among Alabama’s school districts.

“How can they work, be in school for a long period of time, and then have an extended school year,” Center Point High School Principal Van Phillips said. “When would they have the time to work?”

Hurst said he met with Eric Mackey, the superintendent of the Alabama State Department of Education, in Montgomery Thursday and plans to meet with Mackey again next week. Hurst said another draft with revisions will likely come soon.


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