Sen. Hawkins’ Bill Looks to Extend School Year in WA
Twelfth District Washington Sen. Brad Hawkins (R) has introduced a bill that he says is a first step in realigning the state's school year.
"This bill, SB 5505, aims to address learning loss by expanding the school calendar by five days," explains Hawkins. "So my proposal is to add five state-funded school days to the 180-day calendar, which would bring it to a total of 185 days."
Hawkins says ideally, the school calendar should be closer to 200 days in his opinion, but that SB 5505 is an initial move in that direction.
He adds that the model for Washington's current school year is out of touch with the times and needs updating.
"The academic calendar in our public school system is based on an archaic, agrarian model that has kids taking three months off in the summer. It seems very inefficient to me to be starting, then stopping and restarting our teaching every year. And because of the extended break, a lot of teachers need to spend most of September re-teaching."
Hawkins also says he supports a break in the school year but that its current number of days needs to be reduced to streamline the best value for the state's tax-funded education system.
"Given the vast investments that tax payers are now making into K-12 education, what we're doing now by taking such an extended break doesn't seem like the best return on our investment. I am a supporter of summer break but I think perhaps a two-month break would be more ideal for the state."
SB 5505 has eight co-sponsors, six of whom are Democrats, including Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee Chairwoman Sen. Lisa Wellman (D) of the state's 41st Legislative District, as well as Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D) of District 3 and Senate Republican Leader John Braun of the 20th District.
Hawkin's bill is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education today.