LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock School District is considering making the elementary school day longer.
The proposal is meant to close achievement gaps by giving kids more instructional time, but not everyone is on board.
“So that we get the most bang for our dollar of having our staff engage with kids in very structured ways to support their learning,” Mike Poore, LRSD Superintendent said.
The starting time would stay the same, but the school day would end around 3 p.m.
The Little Rock Education Association, said this proposal feels like a slap in the face to its members.
It released a statement that reads, in part:
“It indicates a need for control and force changes from the top down. The wording of this proposal sends a clear message that the administration does not believe the educators are working hard enough or long enough, especially in elementary.”LREA
“This is not about teachers not working enough, it’s just about re-structuring their time a little bit so that we get the greatest impact of their skills,” Poore said.
Some teachers take issue with having to work more hours, for the same pay.
“And if you’re increasing someone’s work and not accompanying that with a pay raise, that’s also not fair to those teachers,” Megan Prettyman, LRSD teacher said.
Others are concerned about how a longer day will affect their students.
“But we cannot expect just to throw another hour on there and not add in some extra time for them to get up and move,” Kristy Mosby, LRSD teacher said.
There are also logistical issues like bussing, childcare, and after-school activities.
Until a decision is made, Poore said teachers shouldn’t feel snubbed.
“It’s honoring the fact that we believe in them and think that there’s no better way that we can impact achievement for kids than to have them with kids,” Poore said.
The Little Rock School Board will decide on this issue at their board meeting in June. If approved, the new hours could go into effect as soon as this fall.