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NJ Bill Looks at Extended School Day, Year [POLL/AUDIO]

Gov. Chris Christie isn’t New Jersey’s only politician interested in extending the school day and school year. Democratic state lawmakers have been touting legislation with the same goal.

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Jeff J Mitchell, Getty Images

Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) reintroduced a measure this year that would create a 13-member commission tasked with studying the effects of a longer school day and year.

Turner called the current school calendar archaic, adding many families these days include two parents with full-time jobs.

“This is a time when we can bring our students to a higher achievement level by extending the school day and school year,” Turner said. “Not only will they have a better learning environment, but also their parents will not be worried about them being home unattended.”

According to the bill statement, the established commission would issue a final report of its findings and recommendations, including any suggested legislation, to the governor and the legislature within six months of its organizational meeting.

Turner admitted longer school days and school years could come with obstacles, including certain districts without air conditioning and children traveling on buses during peak traffic hours.

“One size does not fit all, so it could be tailored to different school districts,” Turner said. “We don’t want to have an extended day just for the sake of saying we have an extended day. We want it to be productive.”

Gov. Christie first hinted at his goal of more time in the classroom during his State of the State address in January. The Republican governor released more details with his budget proposal last month, which includes a $5 million pilot program for selected districts.

Turner disagreed with Christie’s approach, suggesting suburban districts would get a better shot at participation than urban districts.

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