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Extended school time is not the answer to raising performance

While we applaud the Lewis County Board of Education for arranging to have high school students take basic skills classes to increase student performance, we question the need to extend the school day for all students by 15 minutes to do so.

School Board President Willie Parker says the elementary and middle school students will have to be there 15 minutes longer because of the way the school buses run. Other counties could be getting into the act, as well.

Considering the almost-impulsive drive to consolidate schools in many counties, in a rural state such as West Virginia, many students must spend additional time on the school buses, especially those who reside in the most remote sections of the various counties.

For example, for a student who already spends 45 minutes on the bus en route to and from school, the extra time is only adding to an already too-long school day.

Heaven knows, students involved in extra-curricular activities and their parents have been doing their share of time-juggling to allow for balanced meals, quality time with family, a good night's sleep and, of course, study time.

We are not advocating in any way the curtailment of education for students. Again, Heaven knows that in West Virginia proper schooling must be of the highest priority. But it is our belief that educational experts should do their homework to bring about a better quality of education, using already-existing time in as resourceful a manner as possible, shy of putting teachers on each school bus.

Robert F. Stealey

Telegram Editorial Board chairman

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