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Survey from New Mexico Reveals Third of Instructional Time Lost to Non-Classroom Activities

Survey from New Mexico Reveals Third of Instructional Time Lost to Non-Classroom Activities

A new survey from New Mexico has revealed that a third of instructional time in the state is lost to less-than-favorable circumstances.

According to Education Week, “[s]taff analysts for the Legislative Finance Committee presented the findings to lawmakers Tuesday at the state capitol. The survey of teachers and principals found that late starts, recess and subsidized breakfasts also offset instructional time while being counted as productive learning hours.”

State requirements, the survey found, significantly cuts instructional time as schools struggle to comply.

The state’s Education Department responded to the survey by criticizing it for not considering "the value of work by highly effective teachers during formal teaching sessions and in between," the article said. 

It also argued that school breakfasts inclusive of nutrition lessons should be considered instructional time.

New Mexico is a state that is determined to increase the meaningful instructional time students receive; it has already extended the school year by 25 days over the years to provide more instructional time to high-poverty schools.

The survey is intended to provide further recommendations for how the state can continue to extend instructional time, including, said Education Week:

  • extending the elementary school year to the same length as middle and high school.
  • discontinuing the practice of counting parent-teacher conferences and home visits as instructional time
  • investing more funds into efforts for high-poverty students
  • an audit commissioned by the Education Department to determine much time is spent on tests and test prep

Read the full article.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

5/11/2016

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