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Viewpoint: On an extended school year by Michelle Mikolajczyk FHS student Freeport High School's two-year placement on the Needs Improvement List, as well as a low graduation rate, VO has caught the attention of the New York State Education Department. Its recent visit to FHS allowed the stuI dent congress to discuss matters within the high school. When Newsday's senior education writer, John Hildebrand, whispered to individuals that Richard Mills, commissioner of education, was planning an extended school year, an immediate murmur of shock was heard. Adding 20 days to the school would allow for more time. More time to learn

and pass a class .and more time for individual attention. Having more time to complete a task means less pressure on the students and staff. Furthermore, an extra 20 days would accumulate over the years, and create the 4-5 year threshold that FHS Principal Kimberlee Pierre mentioned at the meeting. However, all it's doing is adding time, time that students, staff, and parents don't have. Commissioner Mill's idea would also require money: money in the budget, which voters have a hard time passing in its present condition. Another issue is arrangement of the curriculum, test dates, and vacation. What do teachers teach during the extra 20 days? Does an extra 20 days mean that regents are

given at a later date? What about the vacation days - do those days change? For me the 20 days would just mean I'm missing more school to go spend the summer with family and friends in Europe, or that I'm reaching the level of boredom where I feel that I'm completely wasting my life away in school. After all is said and done, what happens'if the students who these 20 days were meant to help really didn't care and instead of an improvement in the school's reputation, it's worsened? Instead of New York State wasting its time in adding 20 days to the school year, it should focus on opportunities that get students motivated to learn. Providing internships based on the

abilities and interests, or scheduling less courses at a particular time, may actually be beneficial. It would work like summer school, where there's a higher passing rate because students aren't bogged down with assignments and the need to memorize nine subjects in one day. Another solution to the low graduation rate, which State Assemblyman David McDonough advocates, is to reinstate the nonregents diploma. If this situation was a normal school assignment, a professor would tell the state officials asking for more time that more times means points off. Does this mean it's too late for New York State to make the grade? .

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