Must a snow day be a non-instructional day?

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s been a tough winter for school systems in West  Virginia. Multiple snow days. Mix in a week of water crisis for many school systems and you’ve got a formula for not reaching the required 180 days of instruction.

Fewer instruction days translate to fewer opportunities for students to learn the subject matter, reduced retention of material taught and possibly lower test scores in the standardized tests — which, rightly or wrongly, are used as a measuring stick for the quality of the state’s schools.

But in this age of ubiquitous technology, why must snow days still be non-instructional days?

Chances are, most middle-school and high-school students are spending their snow days with a smart phone in hand, texting and trading messages and stories on social media.

Why couldn’t there be a system for them to use their smart phones to receive assignments and interact with their teachers? Does every student have to be transported to a brick and mortar building in order to learn?

The kids are learning something — the question is are they learning lessons that build upon their future education?

The answers are more complicated than the questions, obviously, but certainly an empowered group of students, teachers, administrators and policymakers could develop a workable system to continue the education process when the ability to transport students to school is interrupted.

It’s time to think differently about education…

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