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Iowa Task Force to Examine Expanded Learning Time

Sixteen members have been named to lead an Iowa task force established to examine how more time and a restructuring of the traditional school calendar could be used to improve student outcomes.

Created by the state legislature, the task force, which includes school officials and administrators, members of nonprofit organizations, and teachers, will consider whether a longer school year/days and increased after-school and other out-of-school-time offerings will benefit students. State representatives and department of education officials are nonvoting members of the group. Last month,the state hosted its first after-school and expanded learning forum that discussed some of these issues.

According to a press release from the education department, the state's education director, Jason Glass, said expanded learning time is a "costly" reform that needs to be carefully considered before being implemented on a large scale, particularly as it may not be needed for all students.

"This task force will draw from some great minds, both inside and outside of education, to help us study this important topic," he said. "Time in school should be thought of as a variable that can be applied differently to each student. Some students do just fine with a traditional 180-day calendar. Other students need something different and something more."

The group is expected to be prepared to offer guidance by fall.

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