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Having questioned the current school year calendar for several years, 12th District Senator Brad Hawkins has moved forward as co-sponsor with Senate Bill 5505 that would add more days to the school year by 5 days in an effort to address learning loss. That would take the total number of school days from 180 to 185.

The bill was presented to the Senate Committee for Early Learning & K-12 Education, of which Senator Hawkins is a ranking member. He's surprised that the school calendar has become commonplace and goes unquestioned. Hawkins would prefer a 200 day state funded school year where districts spread their days.

Some like 22nd District Sen Sam Hunt, also a co-sponsor of the bill wonders if students still need summers of for agricultural work in North Central Washington, something Hawkins acknowledged that juniors and seniors in high school do work during the summer. Support of the bill include Tyler Muench from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mike Hoover with the Washington State School Directors Association, and Dan Steele with the Washington Association of School Administrators were all in attendance to provide testimony in favor of the bill.

The bill does have its detractors...Jeannie Magua with the Conservative Ladies of Washington says the bill doesn't fully address the sheer amount of learning loss students were facing and was too general. She suggest adding a few extra days to the school year doesn't begin to address learning loss experienced by kids who have had their whole lives disrupted. She would rather see funding extended to parents to use for private tutors instead of extending the calendar. Should the bill pass, it would take effect August 1, 2023 and affect all grades K-12.

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