Our Opinion: Missed school days must not simply disappear

With snow disappearing amid warming temperatures, do we allow educational responsibilities to vanish as well?

State Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall and a former public schools superintendent, has advanced a proposal to forgive snow days accrued during the blizzard and its aftermath, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. His plan would excuse schools from making up those missed days, alleviating the need to reduce spring break or extend the school year.

“I consider it a compromise,” Aull said. “I think make-ups are important. I think attending a good number of days is important. But I think you have to decide, where do we get to that level where it’s counterproductive?”

Aull’s proposal was precipitated — pardon the pun — because winter weather had caused some school districts to exceed the number of makeup days built into their schedules.

State law requires districts to complete at least 174 school days to receive their total allotment of state funding. Districts are required to make up the first six snow days. Thereafter, they are required to makeup every other missed day, up to four additional make-up days.

The Jefferson City School District, for example, has missed nine snow days this winter. Its 174-day calendar, however, includes six make-up days. Among the remaining three missed days, two of them (the first and third) must be made up.

Under Aull’s proposal, four days missed by the local district would be forgiven and, barring added snow days, scheduling problems would be alleviated.

The lawmaker’s concept may offer a quick and easy fix, but it is hardly the best solution.

Much discussion has focused on where our nation ranks in global education.

Although many educational components must be considered, time spent in class is an important one — and one where the U.S. lags behind many other nations.

In addition, Missouri’s 174-day requirement is among the lowest in the 50 states.

We encourage educators — and district patrons — to pursue providing students with the requisite number of school days.

Anything less cheats them of the education they need to compete in a global marketplace of ideas and intelligence.

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