Your View: Back to the drawing board on longer days for teachers


To the editor:
Currently, I teach Kindergarten in Prince George’s County as a corps member for Teach for America. Although I agree with extending the day for teachers by 30 minutes to examine achievement data, visit other classrooms, etc., I would be curious to see how that would play out across the entire school system. 
I understand Prince Georges County is different from Alexandria.  However, when there are so many budget cuts and positions being slashed, how would it all fit in? As a teacher, I don’t know if an extra 30 minutes a day would be that helpful. I only get 30 min of planning a day on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the only planning time I get otherwise is in the afternoon when children have left or during my short lunch period. 
The achievement gap exists as a result of low expectations, poor leadership and a billion other things not an issue of time. It is not developmentally appropriate to keep children inside for so long. They need to play. To add yet another hat to the heads of teachers already wearing so many would be more of a burden than helpful.  
Professional development often is a joke and doesn’t inspire, motivate, nor help. Most teachers don’t collect data and even if they did, cannot transfer it to the classroom effectively. In the end, the extra 30 minutes will be a waste of money and time. Good teachers will continue to stay after school, plan, assess and interpret data, regardless of the extra 30 minutes. The bad teachers will not use the time effectively anyway and will still receive compensation. 
If there were a way to compensate those teachers who could prove that they analyzed and used data, went to professional development classes, etc., then I would propose such an idea. That way, those who are already doing it will be rewarded. Those who dont will not be penalized.     And, hopefully, those who dont will be inspired and motivated to do so in order to receive the extra compensation.