Schools try longer, smarter school day

If the school day is longer, will students learn more? The TIME Collaborative will experiment with different ways to use a longer school day or year in schools in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee. Schools in low-income communities will add at least 300 hours to the school year.

That won’t mean more time doing the same thing,reports the Christian Science Monitor.  Connecticut, Colorado, and Tennessee are all taking part in a pilot project in which select schools – particularly those that serve low-income communities – add at least 300 hours to the school year, whether through a lengthened school day or a longer school year.

For example, teachers might start staggered schedules. Schools might explore both traditional and computer-mediated learning. Students might get more time for internships or project-based opportunities. Teachers should gain time for collaboration and planning.

Community groups that run after-school programs may offer enrichment activities during the longer school day, such as music, art, robotics, or sports, said Jeannie Oakes, a Ford Foundation official.

To make a longer school day cost effective, teachers would have to allow lower-paid non-teachers to run computer labs, theater programs, karate class, etc.

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  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    “If the school day is longer, will students learn more?”

    What if we were trying to turn all young people into champion athletes–and were disappointed with our results. We now have them going to gym for 5 hours a day. Would they become better athletes if instead they went to gym for 6 hours a day?

    • Florida resident says:

      Bravo, Roger Sweeny.
      Agree 100%.

    • Let’s just carry that argument to its logical conclusion then: if 5 hours of practice results in disappointment then why bother wasting that much time? Cut practice to 4 hours, etc.

      Think anyone’ll become a better athlete using that approach?

      • Roger Sweeny says:

        I wasn’t making an argument; I was making a metaphor 🙂

        But if I had to make an argument, it would be this. We are trying to do something as impossible as turning all young people into champion athletes, no mater what their talents or interests. We are trying to turn them all into academics. Lots of them won’t put in the effort necessary to be successful, and lots of them won’t have the native gifts to make it at a high level.

        If we force everyone to spend more time in the gym, some will become better athletes. But it won’t do much for the unable or the unwilling.

        There is a level of physical fitness that all people should attain, just as there is a level of literacy and numeracy all citizens should attain. Those tasks are hard enough. We should concentrate on them rather than chase impossibilities.

        • Good thing you were making a metaphor then because if that were your argument deflating it turned out to be embarrassingly easy.

          Unfortunately your argument’s no better.

          We’re not *trying* to do anything. We’ve already done it and it’s the mandatory-attendance, tax-supported, district-based public education system. You’re complaining about a predictable, and likely, outcome of that entity.

          You want different outcomes? Then you have a choice between hoping for the appearance of people who are sufficiently forceful and competent to divert whatever part of the public education system it is over which they hold sway into the path you see as preferable or fundamental change has to come to public education.

  2. In our area (Rochester, NY) they’re touting the usefulness of keeping the students in an environment afterschool where they can work on their homework in a supportive and assisted environment, rather than at home where thee may not be the same level of support or interest in the success of the students. On the surface it seems to be sensible…I’ll be curious as to the Teacher Union response…

  3. Stacy in NJ says:

    The country with one of the shortest school days has excellent educational outcomes – Germany.