The North Carolina General Assembly met for a special session today to address what could immediately be done for the most affected counties in NC from the damage of Hurricane Florence.
In actuality, that would qualify about half of the state.
The most damaged counties asked that their school systems be allowed to have flexibility with their calendars so that students could make up the missed class time without having to cut into weekends and holidays.
Then this news came out:
Precisely Hui (the N&O’s education reporter) stated,
“Ten hard-hit southeastern NC school districts wanted calendar flexibility to go past June 9 to help make up time lost due to Hurrican Florence. Instead teh North Carolina General Assembly let them waive up to 20 days. Districts didn’t want to use Saturdays & holidays so how many days will they be forced to waive?”
The General Assembly pretty much said that the school systems had to end the school year on the same timetable as unaffected school systems.
But they can waive up to twenty days. That’s over ten percent of the average school year required by the federal government.
What those counties were asking for was TIME! Time for their students and families to still get an education and do well on the very tests that the state says they have to take.
They wanted flexibility to extend the school year so that they could physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually begin to heal from the disaster that was Hurricane Florence.
Weekends, holidays, nights, and early mornings are now used to rebuild and recover. If the state was serious about helping those schools, then they would allow for those school systems to have calendar flexibility to address the academic needs of their students in the time frame that would be best decided by the local school systems.
Forcing the schools to still end at the same calendar date (with the missed time) as other systems that never missed school days is forcing those students to take state tests without the same preparation time and affect school performance grades. That can be really severe to school systems who are already dealing with the after effects of Florence.
Those standardized tests being taken by a certain date in no way is even remotely as important as serving the needs of those affected schools and their students.
Do the right thing NCGA (and Mark Johnson) and give them calendar flexibility.