Early release days

Q: What is your opinion on early release days?

Our teachers argue that early release days are critical to their ability to provide quality teaching to our students, as they afford our teachers time to collaborate with their peers, meet with parents, and obtain professional development.

However, the periodic early release days reduce classroom instruction time, wreak havoc with parent schedules, and arguably compromise learning for the entire day, especially at the middle school level.  Is early release time bad for our students?

President Obama is the most visible of our leaders calling for an increase in classroom time for our students.  He argues that American children must have more quality time in the classroom to be able to learn 21st century skills, in order to compete with other nations on the worldwide stage.

Absent budget considerations I would scrap early release time.  The school day would be left intact, and teachers would extend their workday to fit what they do now during early release.

But we do have budget considerations.  Is there a meaningful compromise here?  I would try to find balance by reducing but not eliminating the number of existing early release days, especially at the middle school level, and lengthen the teacher’s work day.