Mississippi educators debate early dismissal days

(WMC-TV) - During any school year, students in Mississippi can be dismissed from school early on any given day. But all of that will change if state lawmakers have their way.

State educators are proposing that only two days be allowed per year for early dismissal.

The children can use that off time however they please, but the teachers use that time for instructional training.

Tunica School's Superintendent Stephen Chandler said those developmental days are crucial for teachers as well as students.

"I couldn't even put a value on those days if I had to," said Superintendent Chandler.

Supt. Chandler said his school district had two early dismissals last year. He said the kids went home while the teachers stayed to learn and discuss strategy with other staffers.

"Most parents just look at it as the kids get a little break and the teachers are getting what they need, so it's not a huge problem," said Rachel Ellis, a parent.

Students in Mississippi are required to go to school 180 days every year. Teachers are required to be at school 187 days.

Chandler said Tunica voted to build in training to those seven addition days to take the load off of early dismissals.

"It's no secret that the longer you have a student in the classroom, the better opportunity they'll have to receive the high quality education," said Chandler.

Parents say as long as teachers are training to provide better classroom instruction, they are okay with early dismissal, as long as it is not excessive.

"I think they should let the kids out a little bit early so teachers can get their training," agreed Kevin Vallier, parent.

The proposal would not impact DeSoto County students.  Educators there say they only take two early dismissal days each year as it is.

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