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Instructional Time Policy 101

Instructional time policy is critical to education service delivery because it sets minimum, and sometimes maximum, requirements for learning time. Each state defines instructional time differently, and states have varying requirements in policy. This Policy Outline provides an easy reference for top-level information on instructional time, including trends in policies and legislative examples.

To dig deeper into the topic, visit our 50-State Comparison, which captures the state statutes and administrative codes dictating instructional time in each state and the District of Columbia. It includes requirements for days or hours/minutes per year, hours/minutes per day, and start and/or finish date parameters where they exist in state law.

In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, instructional time policies have become a tool that some policymakers are employing to address the loss of learning opportunities and supports. States are considering extended school days, extended school years and changes to how time is spent during the school day currently. More context is provided in this State Information Request, including 8 examples from states.


March 23, 2021

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