Schools in the U.S. Debate Whether to EXTEND School HOURS...

United States
February 24, 2007 10:12pm CST
I came across this news article, a little while ago, and I was pretty surprised. This is because I have felt, through the years, that there has been little progress in changing the way that children are taught, how much they are taught, and what they are taught. However, the fact that they are debating this issue, and many schools have instated it( 10 I believe), to test it's success rate, makes me much more optimistic. Because, there are many countries that have been doing this for years, and their students graduate with a level of education that is far superior than most American students. In fact, the article states, "On average, U.S. students go to school 6.5 hours a day, 180 days a year, fewer than in many other industrialized countries, according to a report by the Education Sector, a Washington-based think tank". The article goes into detail about how this is intended to help low-income families, and how, it is increasing the cost of education, because teachers will need to be paid more, etc. But, I have to say, I hope this works, because we need to improve education, and the literacy of our country, because this effects everyone in the U.S. Here is the article for further reading http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070225/ap_on_re_us/longer_school_days
5 people like this
15 responses
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
25 Feb 07
I admit I am not up to date on the curriculum now being taught in schools. It is strange to me that we have this problem across the country where students seem to be learning less. I am not sure if it is because of less hours, or the quality of classes, the type of classes or the quality of teachers. Increasing the hours spent in school will do little good if the overall quality of eduction is not improved. Thinking back to the 60's when I was in high school, the hours and weeks were about the same, yet the quality of education I think was higher. Part of the problem also might be in shrinking the hours worked by teachers while increasing their pay, which is a typical labor union tactic. (no offense to any teachers out there). The decrease in quality of education might be traced to larger classrooms; more students per class. Another factor might be the stubbornness of the teaching adminstration to change curriculums based on a changing world. Kids are somewhat different today in that there are many more distractions and activities that soak up the hours of the day. Many of these activities do not teach much of anything that is real. Watching TV sitcoms does not prepare a student for the real world, nor does playing video games every day. It might work to keep kids in schools longer. But I fear this is only a stop-gap measure to hide the deteriorating quality of learning being provided. And I think that instead of wasting time blaming one thing or the other, solutions can be implemented to change the whole system. Longer hours might be a solution, or part of the total solution, and it might not.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Feb 07
Yes, the problems are different today, but a good part of the decline of education is the poor education of the teachers themselves. It's well known that most teachers come from the lower third of college students. To make that worse, their courses for teaching qualification are mostly about classroom management. Most teachers don't know much more about their subjects than what's in the textbook, and teaching asignments are made in such a way that subjcts are taught by people completely unqualified. It's very common for science courses to be taught by coaches and other people who have very little background in science, or even none at all.
@blueskies (1186)
• United States
25 Feb 07
I think it's a terrific idea. I think most mainstream kids would really benefit from a longer school day. They could have a study hall during the day where they could get help in subjects where they are struggling. They could take an extra elective. The possibilities are wonderful. That being said, my son only goes to school from 7:40 till 1:40 each day because he's in a special needs program. I think his school day is appropriate for him.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 07
I believe it wouldn't help with increasing anything if we made children go to school for longer hours each day. I find that to me the problem lies within most the children losing interest in what they are trying to learn. Mainly, because they individual child may not understand it, and when trying to get help to understand it better, some teachers won't take the time to help that child understand it better. Case and point, when I was still in highschool and taking algebra I, I had a teacher who was more concerned about my life than actually teaching me math, even threatened to fail me in his class if I didn't stop seeing my boyfriend of the time. Just because my teacher didn't like who I was dating, he refused to give me any help when I needed it. Luckily I had parents that understood Algebra well enough that I was still able to pass the class with a B. Some teachers are only concerned about getting their day over with, that many are not willing to take extra time to spend with their students. So I don't see extending hours would help any. I think a better screening of the teachers would help more in getting kids better educated or maybe even getting kids more interested in all aspects of learning. Cause being through it myself, it only takes one instance of a child going through a bad experience with a teacher to get them to not be interested in learning anymore. Although it shouldn't only be up to the school system to make sure kids are learning what they are needing to, but some of it should also come from parents. Just my two cents worth.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 07
Yes, there are so many teachers that should not be teaching, because they have no experience or a bad work ethic, etc. However, this is due to many things, their low pay, and like you said, they are not being screened well. I have heard it said, that no one really wants to be a teacher, so they pretty much let anyone. But, I am sure that there are really pretty good teachers out there, they would show, if they were screaned better, and paid some more. I, actually think that they will(some, I hope), be able to explain things to students more, with the extra time. That is one goal that the added school hours hopes to achieve, they hope to be able to teach more to the students...so maybe they will get their questions answered.
@Sawsen (795)
• United States
26 Feb 07
All I have to say is go to China and Japan and see how much they study. It's no wonder that they're offering us the merchandise they are. Because they spend most of their day in school, and then the rest is doing their homework. I'm not saying they shouldn't have a social life, I'm just saying that if you educate yourself to your full potential, then you will have used God's gift to you. And even then you would still have room left to do everything else. I think knowledge is power. And if these schools take advantage of that, all children would benefit. Most children spend their days aimlessly doing nothing. They need structure. And school gives them that type of structure.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
Education is different and better in some ways in other countries. Our family went to school overseas, and the private school we went to was for 5 days a week like here in the states but we took about 9 classes a day. They made us learn so much all at once. And then the school in the town where my younger brothers and sister went to is 6 days a week. I think when it comes to learning english and english grammar, its taught best here.. but with everything else I think education is more strict in other countries.
1 person likes this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
25 Feb 07
Locally the schools have decided to start school an hour early since we have had 'calamity' days. Our blizzard and then deep fog... so that they can still have spring break. Another local school said that they will got into June for schooling. Also due to 'calamity' days. The kids still don't get taught a whole book, if they have books. They are perpetually studying for the proficiency tests. They are off school by 2:30 daily and many go home to empty houses. Not sure these schools are really teaching and tending to the kids. We Americans do not see that school is an opportuntiy. Something to invest your time in and use to its fullest. We are lazy here in the states. I admire the Chinese (I think) they school 6 days a week. Have study classes after school and then go home and do homework. I also admire the schools on the year round schedule. That is what we do as homeschoolers. Study the whole book and additional books and do so on a year round schedule. Education could be so much better, not sure if it ever will be.
1 person likes this
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
25 Feb 07
I am not so sure they should extend the day. My son goes from 8:40-3:35 - which is a pretty long day. I do believe that they need to extend the school year number of days and seriously decrease the number of days they have off. They are out of school more than they are in. Once the kids start getting back into the groove of learning, they have a day off. What a waste!
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 07
wow amazing
@jmichael (35)
• United States
26 Feb 07
I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE!!! I think it's time for our high-school students to be able to make acceptable grades on the state achievement tests, and if this is what it takes to bring our country into the 21st century and save our children, SO BE IT!
@WandaG (23)
• United States
26 Feb 07
I live in New Jersey. The hours are only extended to 4:00 for children of working parents. The schools in my home town also have an extended school year program in the summer. Only up to the first week of Aug.
• India
26 Feb 07
may be extended but depends on grasping power and interest of the students...like with interest of the student on the topic which is being taught in extended hour, they can't even pay attention to the lesson..hence it may be useless
@sharon613 (2324)
• United States
25 Feb 07
I hope this works too. Maybe keeping kids off the street will become less with more increase in school hours and parents won't have to pay extra for after school programs.
@Weskom (25)
• United States
25 Feb 07
I wish I could have had longer hours in school. I would have graduated a lot sooner. Just kidding. I not only agree with the policy but I would like to see students work from home via the internet. I know I would have been able to keep a closer eye on my kids and make sure they were doing right. My daughter will soon graduate and become a teacher. She is all excited about it. She understands the children and the need to educate them even better than I ever did. If it takes longer hours, than so be it. Great idea.
• United States
25 Feb 07
I hadn't heard about it, but I'm not surprised. It's a badf idea and it won't work. American education is terrible, so increasing the number of hours that kids have to be in school won't change anything. But it seems to be a rule that it's easier to keep doing more of what doesn't work in the hope that things will change, than it is to actually change things.
@b_abhi (25)
• India
25 Feb 07
I think the number of working days may be increased.