(Charleston)….First there were the sub-zero temperatures and now the water crisis. Many West Virginia schools had to cancel classes, on multiple days, last week.

It’s concerning for state Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim Phares. He wants students in the classroom as much as possible in order to get those required 180 days, of instructional time.

He says frigid temperature and contaminated water aren’t the types of events you can plan for ahead of time. Luckily many school systems across the state got the school year started a week, even two, earlier than, in year’s past. That will help make up for some of the days.

But Phares says we’ll see real change in the 2014/2015 school year.

“The work that was done in Senate Bill 339 will become more readily apparent after this winter season,” according to the superintendent.

Currently, state law still requires school to end by June 8.  Phares says depending on how the rest of the winter works out, some school systems may not meet the 180 mark.

He’s anxious for the new rules to go into place that will allow classes to continue through much of June.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • karen jenkins

    school should be from sept 1st to may 31st cut out some of the holiday time 2 days for tksgiving, 4-5 days for xmas spring bk cut to 3 days ok tks teachers- employees need to work summer jobs in order to afford to live thank you

  • Wilson

    Heard Mercer County when to June 11 last year that is 3 days pass the 8th?? Why is 180 days the magic, why not 200 or 178, who ready knows best, no one. Each student is different, let base it on each student or what the parent wants.

  • stophating

    I wonder how the search for a permanent state superintendent is going? Wasn't Phares supposed to be an interim while the search continued?

    I'm also curious why he sites SB 339--that particular bill is the authorization of Promise funds for this fiscal year. (I suspect he was intending to site SB 359).

  • Greg

    Continuous propaganda to make it appear that "they" (legislators and WV State BOE) are correcting our problems with education. 180 days have nothing to do with the real problems that exist in our education system. Most of our problems start at the top. Legislators and BOE "fixing" problems they know nothing about or that don't exist!

  • RR

    It's been proven over and over its quality instruction during class time that matters not the amount of time spent in a classroom.

  • TC

    These changes were, in part, prompted by continued parent complaints about teachers getting all of those snow days off. I think when the new changes occur, those same parents will raise the devil when their kids are in school in mid to late June and summer vacations are ruined. Not to mention vacation Bible schools, Scout and 4-H camps being compromised, etc.

  • susanf1218

    Of course he is "anxious for the new rules" which will basically take away summer vacation for students. Got to get that magical 180 days in, don'tcha know? Like 179 days or anything less results in students forgetting everything they have learned throughout the school year!

    • Cuttysbf

      There are no magical days, but study after study has shown that the more children are in school, the better.

      So, 180 is better than 179.

      • susanf1218

        That isn't entirely true. Other countries, the Scandanavian ones, I believe, have shorter school calendars that we do, yet they outperform us.

        • Jason412

          Ok and South Korean kids spend all day in school, and until 10pm at special "tutoring" schools and they out perform Finland.

          • Leo

            Jason412, most teachers have a masters degree + many more hours. I will say it again, we learned because it was important to us and our parents. We come from an age where it was frowned upon and embarrassing to be on welfare, now it is the goal of so many. There is also zero accountability for students. It is all on our shoulders.

          • Jason412

            You're the one that made the leap to compare American to Scandinavian school and you used a school system that is completely different then ours in every aspect, I chose to do the same. Why don't we model our system after Finland and eliminate private schools and require teachers to have a Masters Degree?

            If it has so very little to do with how many days their butts are in the seats then answer my original question, why not 3 months of school a year?

            I'm not saying time spent in the classroom is the only thing that matters, quality teaching is a huge aspect of that. But when a teacher can make 2-3x more to work at a private school as opposed to a public school, the public school system is usually not left with the best of the best teachers.

            With better teachers, less class time may work.
            But I don't think we'll be requiring teachers to have a Masters Degree anytime soon, and 180 days of class time is not an absurd requirement as it's not even half of a year.

          • susanf1218

            Well then, let's just adopt the South Korean model, shall we? Of course, many countries don't attempt to educate everyone like we do - they select the best and the brightest. But we offer an education to everyone, whether they want it or not and then try to measure performance by basing it on test scores for all the students, including those in special education. And then we moan and wring our hands that our educational "performance" isn't up to par? Again, it has very little to do w/how many days their butts are in the seats!

          • Jason412

            Also, teachers in Finland are required to have a Masters Degree.

            That is just one of the many things that is different in their system, the least of which being a shorter calendar.

      • susanf1218

        So by your logic, 200 days would be even better? Heck, why not just go for 365?? That would be awesome, right? You know it amazes me that I have even been able to function as a productive member of society, given that I was educated "old school" and I'm quite sure we didn't always reach the magic number of 180 days. Yet, somehow, I managed to graduate high school, college, achieve an advanced degree, attain professional certification in my chosen career and have had a successful professional life. However did I manage that??

        • Sally

          Amen! How did you do that? :)

        • susanfl218

          In fact, I'm the greatest person ever. It's amazing how I set up this whole conversation so that I would have a chance to talk about myself! You love me and I love me... and that's great.

          • Jason412

            Maybe that applies to you, Susan, but it certainly doesn't apply to everyone.

            Our schools are some of the worst performing in the nation, and you think kids need to be in school less?

            The length of the school year has everything to do with the amount of quality education received. If it doesn't have an impact, why don't we only send kids to school for 3 months a year? Or maybe just a week a year?

            Common sense should tell you that the more time you spend doing anything the better you'll be at it.

          • susanf1218

            Well, aren't you just the clever one?? You miss the point, entirely so let me explain it to you in very simple terms - I was pointing out that the length of the school term has little to do with the quality of the education received or the outcome. Got it now??

  • Myron

    As usual, no consideration for the teachers.

    • Jason412

      What more consideration do you want? I'm not understanding what you're mad about this time.

  • OustKingTut

    This fool bankrupted Randolph County schools and is now the state super because he's got buddies in good places. He bankrupted Marion, and Pocahontas Counties as well.

    How can we go from having a surplus this year to being over 19 professional and 21 professional positions with no changes in programs except for some cut backs and stagnant student population.

    Get this idiot out of control of our state schools before he ruins THE ENTIRE state.