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Duval County Public School Children annually lose about six weeks of instruction

How did I come up with this number? Well according to the JPEF study on teacher satisfaction district teachers report spending 11 percent of their time disciplining students. Well friends that’s a little over 18 days and how easy do you think it is to teach while telling little Johnny to be quite or asking little Suzi to sit up in her desk? That’s 18 days of instruction lost right there and I guarantee you many teachers have to spend more than 11 percent of their time trying to get students many of whom have been devoid of consequences for bad behavior back on track.

Then there is the amount of tests that kids take. I am going to go on the low side and say ten days a year are lost to testing, 4 or 5 days to the FCAT depending on what grade you are in or tests you have to take and then 5 or 6 days throughout the year, spent on benchmarks, FAIR tests, practice FCATS and this tests and that tests. 10 days sounds about right.

Well friends that’s 28 days that children aren’t learning, then say a teacher misses 5 days over the course of the year well friends now we are up to over six weeks because I don’t count the busy work that most teachers leave as instruction. Six weeks down the drain.

How many kids almost get it but not quite? How many students need just a little more but didn’t get it for this reason or that? How many students are falling through the cracks because the district thinks it is acceptable their teachers spend 10 percent of their time disciplining and that tests are more important than instruction?

We are never going to completely eradicate discipline problems but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better, and Duval a district that nearly abdicated its discipline responsibilities, can’t do a lot better. As for tests, we should really get it down to 7 days or less, one day a nine weeks and then 4 for the big tests. Instead of missing 33 or more of instruction we should be able to cut that number in half and we could if we wanted to.

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