Broken Clouds 53° Good Evening
Broken Clouds 53° Good Evening
Long IslandNassau

Mixed reaction on LI over Obama's longer school year proposal

Mineola Middle School eighth graders Mallory Brady, 12,

Mineola Middle School eighth graders Mallory Brady, 12, left, Olivia Sais, 13, and Julia Cataliotti, 12, said they are opposed to a longer school day. (Sept. 29, 2009) Photo Credit: Mahala Gaylord

A month into summer vacation is usually when Michelle Cagliano's two daughters grow bored.

The mother from Shirley tries to keep them entertained and educated, enrolling them in summer reading programs and enrichment courses.

She favors President Barack Obama's proposal for a longer school year, saying it would benefit her children, who are in the seventh grade and fourth grade in the William Floyd School District.

"Honestly, I wouldn't mind it at all; I think after about a month out of school they are bored and they are looking for something to do," she said.

Obama's proposal has drawn mixed reactions from parents, students and educators on Long Island. Some say a longer school day or year won't make a difference academically; others see it as a laudable goal.

James Evans, a junior at William Floyd High School, opposes both a longer school year and day, saying it would be too expensive for schools to implement, and he believes it would not boost achievement.

"I think it lies with motivation with each student and it doesn't matter how much time they spend in school," said Evans, 16.

Some middle school students in the Mineola district agreed. A longer school day would cut into a busy schedule of after-school clubs and activities, they said.

"They should keep it the same way; I think we are learning enough now," said Olivia Sais, 13, an eighth-grader at Mineola Middle School.

"We have hectic lives during the school year and we need to have that summer break to have that relaxing and catch up on sleep," said classmate Mallory Brady, 12.

April Francis, a social studies teacher at Lawrence Road Middle School in Uniondale, said students would benefit from a longer year.

"Academically, students would be able to compete with other countries such as Japan and China in areas such as math and science," Francis said. "Research has shown that [after] the two-and-a-half months students are off, teachers have to spend a lot of time just reviewing to get students up to speed."

Ward Melville High School seniors Shelby Lin, 17, and Kyle Seibert, 17, said schools should consider better time management under the current structure. "Making existing time more useful is a better way," Seibert said.

Lin noted: "There are things that could be done in the classroom to make it more useful."

Latest Long Island News

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.