Proposed MCS plan includes six day school week - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Proposed MCS plan includes six day school week

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Amid the charter surrender fight, there's a new controversy within Memphis City Schools.  Earlier this week, district leaders unveiled a proposed plan that includes a six day school week.

According to Ken Foster, Executive Director of the Memphis Education Association, there are still a number of concerns and issues that will have to be worked out when it comes to the proposed academic plan for 2011 through 2015.

The plan would make children in first through fifth grades attend school seven hours a day, six days a week.

"I'm not sure about having students go to school 6 days a week, particularly the little ones," Foster said.  Are they going to be worn out by the end of the day."

But according to the academic plan, this would give kids time to learn a second language.

Middle school students would have 10 extra days added to the school year, and they might have to be in class for an extra hour-and-a half each day.  For high schoolers, Memphis City Schools would get rid of semesters, and break them into trimesters.  Students could graduate in two, three or four years.

"Having a daughter that just graduated from MCS last year, there's a lot of stress, and I think it's just going to be up to each individual school and student as to how it affects them," Foster said.

Foster questions if the district will be able to afford the proposed plan.

"The initial cost for these things to happen, I think, is around $60 million, so I'm not sure you can reconcile the two," he said. "In one hand, you're cutting $100 million out of the budget, and on the other hand, you're increasing it by $60 million. Just seems like it's difficult to do."

Foster said the six-day school year would also require a memorandum of understanding with the Memphis Education Association.

"We go over the pros and cons...what we can do, what they can do...regular bargaining and negotiations.  We come to some sort of agreement.  It's approved by our members and their Board of Education," he said.

Foster said he expects more discussion on the plan in the weeks ahead, but adds it is just a proposal - none of the measures have been approved.

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