Keep length of school year intact

Somehow, a proposal that should have been relatively benign in regard to public schools became one that could reduce the amount of time students are being taught. That is the last thing West Virginians need.

Early in the Legislature’s annual regular session, Delegate John Kelly, R-Wood, introduced a bill intended to require that schools open no sooner than Sept. 1 of each year and end no later than May 31. Assuming some allowance is made for inclement weather, that should be achievable.

But during the legislative process, something happened to Kelly’s bill, which is HB 2433. An amendment was made, reducing the number of required days of instruction in public schools. The current mandate is for 180 days. Only 170 would be needed to comply with HB 2433, should it be enacted.

Proponents of that change argue it would not be detrimental to the education process. How is that possible? Cutting two full weeks of classes out of the schedule would have to have an effect.

Kelly’s bill is moving through the House this week. Some lawmakers want to pass it, but to leave the 180-day rule in place. Kelly, pointing out the 170-day change “was never part of my original bill,” agrees with the 180-day stipulation.

Good. Lawmakers should not enact HB 2433 in a form that gives teachers less time to teach.