TRENTON – Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) issued the following statement today on the governor’s support for establishing a longer school day and longer school year in New Jersey. Senator Ruiz has been a longtime supporter of this concept – which has been championed on the national level by President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan – and sponsored legislation last session to pilot the initiative in New Jersey.
“We have seen increasing momentum for this initiative both in New Jersey and across the country. As a longtime supporter of this concept, I look forward to hearing the details of the governor’s proposal and to engaging in a statewide conversation with the administration, my colleagues and all stakeholders on an initiative to extend the school day and school year in our districts.
“The fact is that we have an antiquated school calendar that clearly is not aligned with the demands of the 21st Century. Undoubtedly our students, educators and families can benefit from an extended school day and school year. It is now a matter of how we achieve this goal in a responsible way. We have to ensure that any initiative is funded and that our school facilities are equipped to house children for a longer day and into the summer.
“The concept of a longer school day and school year is positive both from an educational and a family perspective. More time in the classroom can strengthen the academic success of the student and provide professionals opportunities for increased collaboration within the school setting, which will enable them to build upon the successes of fellow educators. At the same time it can help to meet the needs of modern day families, whose work hours often extend well beyond the traditional school day. This is an exciting time for New Jersey, and I look forward to the work ahead.”