March 17th, 2010
05:40 PM ET

Students benefit from longer school days

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2009/LIVING/worklife/05/11/cb.growing.jobs.education/art.school.bus.driver.gi.jpg]
Mike Feinberg
Special to CNN

School districts nationwide are trimming funds, for custodians to school supplies, to address widening budget gaps. Even public schools in affluent communities such as Mill Valley, California, and Scarsdale, New York, are scrambling to make ends meet.

In a final act of desperation, more than 100 school districts in 17 states have done the unthinkable –they've eliminated an entire school day each week. This decision is particularly wrongheaded as results from the Massachusetts Extended Learning Time Initiative last year showed that schools with expanded schedules improved at double the state rate in English and math.

In January 2009, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "I think the school day is too short, our week is too short, our year is too short." And he was referring to a five-day week, 180-day school year, let alone the truncated version that many cash-strapped districts will provide this year.

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Filed under: Education
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. blossom

    I think the school day needs to be shorter. Already so much time is wasted. Kids are exhausted by the time they finish school, homework and their after school activities.

    March 17, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  2. Ed Fazio

    There is No Doubt Our School Systems Need to be Restructured. However, Politicians are the Last People Who Should be Allowed to do the Restructuring. All They Have Ever Learned is Greed, Corruption, Lying, Power Seeking, and a Hundred Other Negative Behaviors.

    The Two Biggest Problems with Our Education System are the Unions, Who are as Corrupt as Our Politicians, and the Myth of "Leave No Child Behind." Only Those Who Attend Classes Wanting to Learn Should Receive the Funding and Assistance to Get an Education. All Unruly & Disrupting Students Should be Transferred to a "Reform School" to be Taught Behavior First & Reading etc.... Second.

    March 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  3. a panopoulos

    While this may be true for struggling students, does it benefit high achieving students? Why should students who exceed all standards be subjected to more school. Shouldn't they have the opportunity and time to explore their areas of interest?

    March 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  4. Kitty Kelso

    If the school hours were changed to 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. four days a week; classroom student incease up to 40-60 each class (the last three years of my elementary and high school classes consisted of up 70 in each class). Yes, the budget must be readjusted, but just think of the money that would be saved by reducing each week to 4 days a week. Children will learn. Teachers will be challenged, but they will have the 4th day to do paper work. The bus system will save, the city will save, the teachers will not lose thier jobs, and the buildings will not go empty. Stop busing!!! When the kids can walk to and from school, it was a happier experience for all concerned.

    There are many changes that can be made – but why? why? is education the last effort for congress to retain and improve? They are talking of shaving and cutting? Banks, houses, cars, healthcare, education? These children are our next leaders.

    March 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  5. alice

    Students benefit only when parents are more involved. Teachers can not be made responsible for all of it, and kids who don't do their work won't do it because they are in school longer. They must be taught responsibility, not always treated like babies.

    It's time we made parents more responsible for their kids. And if a parent can;'t help their kids with their school work, because they lack the knowledge, then offer those parents tutoring and programs to help them. Ultimately, parent and children will benefit as will society.

    March 17, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  6. J. Mann

    Longer school days could be helpful, if the time is spent 1) keeping the kids from an unsafe street environment; and, 2) providing a structured learning/study-hall type atmosphere with more individual contact. The problem is that we also need some way to get the cronic truants off the street and into the educational system – even if is through a chain-link fence boot camp environment.

    March 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm |