Non-instructional days need looked at
Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates voted this week to continue giving county boards of education flexibility on when to open and close schools each year.
A bill that would have mandated most schools open no earlier than Sept. 1 and close no later than June 7 was defeated — but by the narrow margin of 50-47.
Many counties have school terms beginning in mid-August and ending deep into June — far longer than many Mountain State residents remember having to go to school. Yet to provide the 180 days of instruction mandated by the state and cope with days lost to inclement weather, the flexibility is needed. Lawmakers were right to retain it.
If they are serious about reducing the length of the school year, they may want to look into the number of non-instructional days, such as those for faculty senate meetings, included in the school year. Reducing them could help.
It is likely most schools in West Virginia already teach students about the Holocaust. Still, making that a requirement under the law cannot hurt. Events during recent months may lead some to question whether the lesson needs to be reinforced.
Delegate Josh Higginbotham, R-Putnam, plans to introduce a bill requiring that public middle and high schools provide instruction on genocides such as the Holocaust. His bill should be enacted.
Students “need to learn what hatred and bigotry will do if we don’t learn our history,” Higginbotham said of his proposal.
Indeed they do. In the process, they need to understand no one is immune from the consequences of violent bigotry. Though Nazi Germany killed an estimated 6 million Jews, many other classes of people were targeted, too.
And, though the Holocaust was the 20th century’s worst genocide, students need to know such atrocities continue — to this day.