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Portland Parents Pushing For More High School Class Time

OPB | Nov. 1, 2013 3:52 p.m. | Portland

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A group of Portland parents is asking Oregon education officials to determine whether the state’s largest district is meeting minimum instructional time for its high school students.

Portland Public started a block schedule at its high schools two years ago. It meant students were often in free periods or study halls, rather than in academic classes.

Parents pushed back last spring, so the Portland school board spent money to add high school teachers and cut back on study hall time.

Unsatisfied parents have now filed a complaint with the state, claiming Portland is still falling short. District officials say they want to do more, but say they’re not forced to legally, because the study halls count as instructional time.

Parents, like Amy Kohnstamm, question that. “Individual high schools have tried to make those study halls more useful, and they’ve made some strides in that, but it’s still not the same as being in a class with an excellent teacher.”

The Oregon Department of Education says it’s reviewing the parents’ complaint.

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