Proposal: Performance incentives might include shorter school day


For Hoosier students, the 180 day school year and the 6 hour school day came out of years of struggle to boost student performance.

Now the Legislature could allow schools to waive some of those required days and hours.

Backers say selectively letting schools cut their hours could help student like Carmel's Lucy Moreman.

"Next year I'm taking AP calculus and anatomy," said Lucy, a junior. She could take even more advanced courses if she didn't have to spend those required six daily hours in school.

State Representative Todd Huston, a Fishers Republican, says it gives flexibility for high schools to schedule students for what they really need.

"Maybe it's more dual credit programs or college credits," Huston says, "Career or technical ed. We just want to make sure there is more flexibility in the schools."

Only high schools that earn A's in the state's A to F rating system would be qualified to waive the hours, and it would only affect high schools.

Another bill would let schools have a less than 180-day school year if they earn A's under state ratings.

"It just doesn't sit well with me," said Indianapolis Representative Greg Porter. "What happens next year when you have a new group of students who come in and they are B's or B-minuses or C's," asked the Democrat. "Then what you do?"

Representative Huston defended his plan on the House floor Tuesday and it sounded good to Lucy. She says waivers to do other things "would make us more prepared for college and give us hands-on college experience."

"It might help a great deal. Better than some study halls," said Russ Harris, a Carmel dad. His daughter Olivia agreed. "I think it would be a handy thing in the long run," said the 7th grader, who has two more years 'til high school. But she's thinking ahead.

"Study hall, you're sitting around doing nothing, you could be making a lot better use of your time."

The House okayed amendments to the plan Tuesday. It could be debated on the house floor Wednesday.