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Lee Co. students not happy with proposal to lengthen school day

Posted at 10:34 PM, Mar 10, 2020

FORT MYERS, FLA — Student engagement and performance.

That's what the Lee county school board says is behind a recent proposal to lengthen the school day by anywhere from 30 to 51 minutes.

It's move that many students, parents and even teachers say they're not happy with.

Some have even started petitions to have the proposed change scrapped.

Groups of students who wanted their voices to be heard on this issue spoke up at Tuesday night's Lee County school board meeting.

"After school activities such as jobs, will be overtaken by homework considering we'll have seven periods everyday," said a Cape Coral High School student.

"If these changes go through, I believe that teachers will have trouble maintaining their current level of effectiveness," said Kevin Daly, the President of the Teachers Association of Lee County.

On Monday, the district received an update on the matter, during a workshop.

It revealed that they are considering four possible updates to the school day: a 4x4 schedule with 30 minutes added to the day, a 7-period day with 30 added minutes, a "blended" schedule with 30 additional minutes and a 5x5 schedule with 51 minutes added to the day.

As of now Lee County students have a 6.5 hour school schedule.

Presenters told the board on Monday that the increased school day, meant more time for students to interact with teachers. They pointed to data collected from school districts across the state as proof that the increased time would improve student performance.

But some kids don's see it that way.

"I believe and I am sure many other students would believe that it's quality over quantity," said on student Tuesday night.

There has also been concern among high school students in special courses, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) program or the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) program, who feel that the changes would cause them to lose their elective courses.

"The school district wishes to extend the schedule and not only that but take away an elective that many students rely on," said another student.

As of now, all proposals that the board is considering , will include at least one elective class for high school students.

Board members told students who came out that they were proud of them for speaking up and encouraged everyone to take a look at the full plan they're proposing.

"Go on and view the workshop and presentation that was provided to the board yesterday. I really think that it is full of a lot of information," said Dr. Greg Adkins, Lee County Schools Superintendent.

To view that full presentation, click here.

If these changes are passed, they would take effect next school year.