Do Schools Need a Longer School Day? A Debate

A policy brief released last month concluded that most U.S. public schools require at least as much or even more instructional time for students than countries touted for their high performance on international tests. Is a longer instructional day necessary in the United States? Jennifer Davis, co-founder and president of the National Center on Time & Learning and Jodi Grant, executive director of the nonprofit Afterschool Alliance  debate the question. Source: The Washington Post

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  • jeff mattson

    There is a simple formula for public schools to be successful. Parents, do your job. Get your kids to come to school with a respectful, hardworking attitude. If this happens, the schools will be successful. Stop blaming schools for your lack of parenting.

    There should be fines: A kid is suspended, the parent receives a $200 fine in the mail. The kid misses a certain amount of days, another $200 fine. This money would be used for after -school tutoring. Good parents will accept this. Bad parents wouldn’t. They’ll just cry, “Don’t get the government involved.”

  • DHCoach

    Stop the war on Parents. Stop the war on Teachers. Stop the corporative attack and control of schools.

    Let’s renew the War on Poverty, provide the poor with decent jobs so that families’ and students’ lives can be stabilized, and we can return honor and respect to our public schools and our teachers.

  • Dawn

    The debate on the longer school day is an honest attempt at addressing student achievement. That said, there are many factors to consider. 1. Longer days cost more, and this is at a time when most school districts are cutting programming. Is it feasible to extend the day? 2. Resources — if students are going to have their day extended without adequate resources (books, computers, etc.)it will not improve student progress. Instead, we will have a captive audience, bored to death and acting out! 3. How many people really know what it is like in an urban school setting? Overcrowded rooms, dilapidated buildings crumbling around everyone. Inadequate heating and plumbing. Environments that are non-conducive to learning are the norm. 4. Does anyone ever consider what the teacher’s day is like in the overcrowded run-down classroom? It is demoralizing to work in poor conditions with little to no resources, and constantly dipping into your own pocket to supplement lessons. Longer days at most urban schools would be like longer jail sentences.

  • SC

    My students’ can’t even focus on school after lunch, much less an extra hour each day. What we need is better discipline and the instructional school day would be extended by 25-40% (according to reliable, peer reviewed research). I lived and worked overseas for many years and discipline plus parental support are much better in monocultures. Multicultural areas have the same problems we have in America.

  • yds

    I am curious as to how long a typical school day is?
    I work in an elementary setting in North Carolina. Our school day used to be a little over 6 hours. This year the school day was lengthened to 7 hours total. The middle school day is also 7 hours. I don’t know which would be better, longer days or more days? I think a longer day may work for some students, but only IF the learning could designed so that students have big blocks of time for TRUE inquiry based learning. I am talking about hands-on doing, building,working in teams to answer questions, using the skills you learned in math class and the language arts class to complete the social studies or science projects. Teachers could each take a turn in grading the project and look at it through their own discipline. The time should NOT be used for more worksheets, read the chapter and answer questions, etc. It should involve the use of technology and students could collaborate on various aspects of their work. I would hate to see the day lengthened and students to still come home with 2 or more hours of homework each night.
    At the elementary level, my kindergarten students have a full 7 hour day of academic learning. We do not have dress-up centers, big block centers or sand and water tables in use at my school. My students do not have rest time, nor do they get to lay their heads on a table for 20 minutes of rest. They are busy; they are tired. The administration has has expectations of both teachers and students. I can not imagine lengthening their school day.(Some schools in NC kindergartens fortunately still consider play and rest to be an important part of learning).
    So my question is this: How long is the typical elementary day, middle school or high school day? What are the averages across the USA? What does the legislature hope will come from extended days or a longer school year?

  • Naz MAjkdf

    BOO NOO!