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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

Our Opinion: Extend the minimum school year

Learning requires a commitment of both time and attention.

Gov. Jay Nixon last week endorsed lengthening the school year in Missouri to the national average of 180 days. Missouri’s minimum requirement now is 174 days in districts with classes five days a week.

Some public school districts exceed minimum requirements, according to the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

We favor extending the concept of extending the school year and await cost projections.

The governor said he will include funding for the additional school days when he presents his budget later this month.

The estimated costs and the sources to cover those new expenses will help Missourians – including legislators and educators – discuss and debate whether the proposal is cost-effective.

In making the announcement, Nixon said: “To stay competitive in today’s economy, Missouri’s students should be in the classroom as much as their peers in other states.”

Although we believe learning can take place in any environment, we agree that the classroom provides an excellent climate to facilitate learning.

In a school, children are called students. The classroom is designed as a place where students will receive instruction. Students are asked to be prepared and attentive.

Education is the priority and focus of a school of any type and at every level – public or parochial, elementary to university, preschool or trade school.

The mediocrity of U.S. students in comparison to their peers in other countries has been well documented.

If we are serious about improving the performance of students, we must translate lip service into action.

A starting point is for students to show up more frequently prepared to learn.

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