Local News

Teachers Offer Perspective About Possible Loss Of Workdays

Posted May 12, 2004

— How important are teacher workdays? A bill is being considered at the state Legislature that would reduce the number of workdays.

Nicole Di Nardo is wrapping up her first year in the classroom. She said she learned one lesson right away. She has had to rely on teacher workdays to get the job done.

"It's a 24-7 job," she said. "There's a lot of paperwork and a lot of meetings."

Over the years, the paperwork has piled up as requirments like end-of-grade testing, ABCs and No Child Left Behind came into play.

Linda Self, who has taught school for 35 years, said she remembers when teachers did not have built-in workdays.

"It really has improved a great deal. I'd hate to see education return to the horse and buggy days," she said.

Self said teachers fought hard for the workdays. As president of the Durham Association of Educators, she said legislators should not take them away.

"The problem is no one has said, 'We're going to take away this report, this assessment. When will you do your planning?'" she said.

Some parents do not see losing teacher workdays as a setback, but a positive move.

"I think it's more beneficial to parents where we have more time to spend with our children during the summer," parent Lewis Norris said.

Di Nardo wants legislators to pass on the idea, but the rookie teacher admits she could be swayed.

"I'm kind of riding the fence a bit. On one end, I'm like it might be good to have less days to work," she said.

The Durham school board will vote Thursday on a resolution opposing the proposal. North Carolina gives its teachers 20 workdays while the national average is six.

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