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Look Before You Leap?

Here's one from the (often problematic) crossroads of budget reductions, school-wide reform, and professional development time: Earlier this year, in a cost-cutting move, district officials in Des Moines, Iowa, decided to move a number of their schools to block scheduling (with 90-minute classes on alternating days) starting this fall. But, according to the Des Moines Register, questions loom as to whether teachers are being given enough time or systematic training to manage the switch—which is not always easily made. "While I think [block scheduling] provides for teachers to provide interactive and in-depth study, schools that are not adequately prepared would be better off remaining on the same schedule they have been using," commented one academic expert on the methodology.

A commenter on the Register story appears to disagree: "How about rewriting lesson plans for 90 minute classes instead of 50 minute ones? Let's not make a big deal about this." (Just a hunch, but I'd say this guy has never taught.)

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