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School code changes could mean more opportunities for students

Over the next few weeks, the Illinois Board of Education will be talking to districts all across the state about the new options available to them.

That includes how a school day is defined, how long it is, and where it’s held.

“This is about moving away from the one-size-fits all,” explained Peoria Public Schools superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat.

“I mean, our education is over 100 years old. It was set up to prepare kids for the industrial era.”

Before 2017, a school day was defined as at least five hours in the classroom.

After the ‘Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act,’ was passed, the code dictating class time was allowed to expire.

Now, the main requirement is that schools must have at least 176 days of class in the year.

Dr. Desmoulin-Kherat says the changes better reflect the needs of an evolving job market.

“Things like your ability to listen, and your ability to problem solve, your people-management skills and your creativity. Those are the skills that employers are seeking.”

That flexibility means schools have the option to change their hours or days.

This concerned some parents on our Facebook page; one local mom said she would need to find someone to watch her kids.

Another, though, supported any changes, saying children learned at different speeds and it would help focus on their needs.

Other schools were intrigued. Bloomington’s District 87 said they planned to discuss options best for them.

“Looking at ways that we can improve our services to kids and families,” explained superintendent Dr. Barry Reilly.

“If that entails some flexibility with the day, I’m certainly willing to engage in those discussions.”

Mason Dowling

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