Hawaii middle, high schools ready for more hours

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HONOLULU (AP) - Most of Hawaii’s public secondary schools are ready to provide more learning time starting next school year.

Hawaii’s middle and high schools will have to provide a total of 990 hours of instruction a year. All but two high schools are on track to provide the increased hours, as mandated by a 2010 law to be in line with national levels. Kalaheo and Kailua high schools will need waivers because their schedules don’t meet the requirement, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://ow.ly/x6NYH) reported Wednesday.

The teachers union argues that instructional time should be collectively bargained and not mandated by law.

Increasing learning time has been challenging because of teachers’ contracted seven-hour workdays and other contract requirements such as teacher preparation time.

The state attorney general’s office provided a legal opinion that says instructional time is broadly defined and can include time such as study hall and homeroom periods. The teachers union has opposed that interpretation.

The Board of Education on Tuesday approved calculations for 39 schools on how they will meet the 990-hour requirement.

“The best decisions are made at the school level,” said board Chairman Don Horner. “I’m proud of the schools and the difficult process they went through in order to place a primary emphasis on student achievement.”

Under the law, elementary schools since last year have had to provide a total of 915 hours a year. Meeting that requirement has been less challenging at the elementary level because middle, intermediate and high school students have multiple classes and individualized schedules.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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