Quality — and quantity — matter in education

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram 

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — As you read this, it’s June 23 and the school year isn’t officially over in West Virginia.

As MetroNews reports, four counties’ school systems had to remain in session this week to reach the state-mandated 180-day school calendar.

 Raleigh County finished up classes Monday. Logan County will conclude sessions today, while McDowell and Wyoming counties will end the year on Wednesday, making for some of the latest closings of schools on record.

Those four counties, as well as others that extended their school years past the normal ending date, had to balance safe travel during inclement weather with the new 180-day mandate for children in school.

Actually, the 180-day mandate isn’t new, just the enforcement of it, as lawmakers and education leaders decided in 2013 to start requiring that mark to be met in the 2014-15 school year.

Of course, as state and county officials point out, just because classes are being held doesn’t mean students are in attendance. Parents are opting not to send students in some counties, prompting some officials to estimate that only about 50 percent are in class.

The end result: Students still aren’t in class for the mandated total of days.

As strong advocates for education, we supported the 180-day mandate. But we have to wonder if the current system is working any better than the former one…

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