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Wisconsin may drop 180-day school requirement

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin public schools could have more flexible class schedules under a bill to be considered in two legislative committees this week. The measure would eliminate the mandatory 180-day school year, although specific numbers of classroom hours would still be required.

The Assembly Education Committee will hold a public hearing tomorrow on the idea. The Senate's education panel is now scheduled to vote on it Thursday after a meeting set for today was pushed back.

Schools have asked for a long time to drop the 180-day mandate. Their biggest problem is re-scheduling days into June -- a bigger problem this year after many districts called off classes for four days in January due to the extreme cold. Also a handful of Wisconsin districts have been pushing back their starting times each day -- because many youngsters are just not awake enough for classes which now begin as early as 7 am.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the latest research shows that teenagers' body clocks are different from younger kids and adults. Experts say teens normally don't get sleepy until around 11 at night -- and it's normally 8 am before they're awake enough to really function at school.