Over 1,000 public schools across the United States have lengthened the time that students spend in the classroom and after school. The New York Times reports that in the 2012-13 academic year, five states will be adding a total of 300 hours to the calendar, and in the next three years, forty more schools will be adding time to the school day as well as after school.
Coordination and support of the extended learning initiative comes from state education officials, the National Center on Time and Learning, a nonprofit research and advocacy group; and the Ford Foundation, whose president expressed the need “’for creating a learning day that suits the needs of our children, the realities of working parents and the commitment of our teachers.’”
Children targeted are those underperforming students who need to catch up academically and experience more enrichment activities. Those in favor of the initiative add that these high-need students, with less structured after school time, lack extracurricular activities often enjoyed by more privileged classes. On the other hand, some in teachers’ unions argue for fair compensation for teachers and believe that adding time on learning is inadequate to address the problems at hand.
Even some local schools in Greenfield, Springfield, and Holyoke have either already extended the school day or are thinking about doing so in the future. Read the latest in a recent Masslive.com article.
As a teacher, please let us know your thoughts about the benefits and/or the disadvantages of extending the school day and year.