Monday, August 23, 2004

More time to teach to the test 

This is humorous: Because of high-stakes testing, schools in Maryland are opening earlier.
Not so long ago, school districts throughout the country waited until after Labor Day to summon their charges back to class. Not anymore. With standardized test scores increasingly determining a school's success or failure, more districts are starting classes earlier in the summer to give students additional time in the classroom before state exams.

Waiting until Labor Day -- or even a week before -- would be far too costly to Prince George's students, said schools chief Andr� J. Hornsby. The extra week gives teachers more time to cover the material their students need to know by the time state standardized testing begins in February, Hornsby said.

No doubt teachers will be requesting a raise for the additional time taken. Question: was there anything magical about opening after Labor Day before? Is there any reason to believe that students might need to study more now than thirty years ago?