A new state law in Texas has been enacted that could change the number of days children must be in school. Instead of making it mandatory that children are in school for 180 days, with three days of staff development, it is now mandatory to have 75,600 minutes of attendance instead.
This law came into existence because of district-wide, weather-related school shutdowns encroaching into the summer. When children and teachers missed school due to weather conditions, they would have to make up the day at the end of the year, or during holidays. However, under the new guidelines, time can be tacked on to the end of school days instead of making a separate day altogether necessary. Parents have previously been upset to have it mandatory for their children to be at school during holidays. This law solves that problem.
Many schools in Texas have already adopted this new law into their curriculum. Some schools have had to extend their school days by as little as 10 minutes to ensure inclement weather will not affect their graduation schedules. Such small changes will prove useful later in the year, when possible snow shuts down schools for a couple of days. However, if schools do not need to close for weather this school year, the extra minutes mean summer vacation will begin two days earlier than usual.
Other schools are less willing to enact the new law. They are hesitant to make an official change to their school calendars before having all of the information. However, everyone agrees that this new law is worth exploring. It accounts for weather days and, depending on how it is used, it can also give staff and students vacation days in the middle of long months that before did not have a break. This could be useful in combatting school burnout and giving the teachers more time to prepare their materials and grade papers.
This new Texas law is working to revolutionize the way school schedules are made. Education officials in their districts are no longer tethered to a specific number of school days. Now they are able to finagle their schedules in a way that works better for teachers and parents.
For more information on the new Texas school length law, read ABC’s take on more potential for days off in Texas schools.