Board considers changes as Minneapolis students denounce longer school days
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – As longer school days begin this week in Minneapolis schools, students again spoke out against the change at a school board meeting on Tuesday.
Students say the extension of the school day for each school is not unique, as some schools are already staying longer.
As part of the change, each school extended its school day by 42 minutes. At the same time, the district extended the school year by two weeks. The district says the changes must make up for the 15 days missed during the teachers‘ strike and meet state-imposed requirements for school days and instructional hours.
“Why are you punishing us because teachers were fighting for decent salaries,” said student Knadija Ba.
While the district and union have agreed to the plan, students say they haven’t had a say and that not all schools and grade levels will fall short of state requirements despite the wasted time.
They argue that elementary schools, for example, will meet the minimum hourly requirements without the added extra time. Parents and teachers say that two days into these longer days, younger learners are struggling particularly hard.
“They go to school from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with lunch and a snack,” kindergarten teacher Soraya Valedon said. “The next day they are tired.”
Two weeks ago, Superintendent Ed Graff walked out of the school board meeting when students began shouting profanity over the same issue.
“And if you’re willing to stop a conversation because you don’t like the way you’re spoken to, then you’re not an educator,” said teacher Léa Laurent.
Any changes must be negotiated between the board and the union. Council President Kim Ellison told FOX 9 that they have spoken to union representatives and hope to be able to make the changes requested by the students.