200 Day School Year

teacher eternity

This morning, I shared a funny, (yet strikingly sad) story that was shared on Facebook.  It started was written by Meredith Menden:

Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or ten months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do — babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage. That’s right.  Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and planning — that equals 6-1/2 hours).

So each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585 a day.  However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!!  I am not going to pay them for any vacations.


That’s 585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries). What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6-1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!  The average teacher’s salary (nationwide) is $50,000.  $50,000/180 days = $277.77 per day / 30 students = $9.25 / 6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student — a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)


Of course this was written as a satirical piece, but today, the governor of New Jersey proposed a 200 day school year and extended hours to the school day.  Will this ever take effect here in New Jersey?  Hard to say, but it is happening in other states around the country.  As a teacher, I see the positive aspects of it for sure, less time to forget what they learned the prior year, academic benefits….but what about the drawbacks?  Limited time for camps and sport programs and more time inside a classroom means less time being active and outside in the warmer months.

Of course, both my boys CRINGED at the thought of it but I’d be curious to hear from others who already are using the extended school year.  Positives?  Negatives?  Benefits?  What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “200 Day School Year

  1. Mary January 16, 2014 at 4:37 pm Reply

    Great post, Claire! I love the idea of not knowing how far learning extends. I feel like teachers plant seeds that have the potential to grow forever.
    As for the topic of the post, here’s an interesting perspective:
    The author’s points ring true to me. I am very skeptical of all the people who claim there is a ‘crisis’ in education since it seems to be a way to privatize and corporatize public education.
    For working parents, a long summer vacation is easier to plan for than many smaller breaks during the year. Also, I think children thrive in situations where there’s a clear routine and having more breaks in the year will be disruptive and perhaps counteract any benefit of the briefer pause in learning. We all need to recharge, teachers and students alike, and I worry that a longer school year will cut into that in ways that would be counterproductive and actually decrease learning and retention.

    • clairesinclair January 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm Reply

      I think that the recharging is a huge issue. Brain breaks!! We all need them – not just the kids. Routine is also key! Thanks for responding Mary!

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