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Five States Stretch School Schedules

If the school day didn't seem long enough already for students in these five states, it’s probably about to, beginning in the 2013-14 school year.

Elizabeth Hoyt

December 04, 2012

Five States Stretch School Schedules
If the school day didn't seem long enough already for students in these five states, it’s probably about to. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee and the lucky five U.S. states that will continue an initiative to have the option to add on school days, make school days longer, or both. The options will be decided upon by schools, their districts, parents and teachers. Beginning in 2013, these schools are able to add up to 300 additional hours of time in the classroom.

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Thousands of public school students—roughly 17,500—are about to experience longer school days and years within the 2013-14 academic calendars in an effort to help schools with under-performing students and/or test score results. Nearly forty additional schools comprised of about 20,000 students are set to jump on the bandwagon within the next three academic years.

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The poorest performing schools will be targeted to benefit from the initiative, in hopes to improve the education and test scores of the students struggling most with their schooling. The reform calls for an extension of an instructor’s teaching time because education officials believe that more time spent in the classroom learning equates to better student performance. Officials also believe increased instruction time leads to additional curriculum opportunities in subject such as arts and music as well as help for students who are struggling with core skills and need assistance in critical subjects such as math, science and English.

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The additional school operational costs, like teaching time, will be financed both the state and federal department, though Ford Foundation grants as well as the National Center on Time and Learning, a nonprofit group, that’s also aiding in resources. Some of the funds will be used from existing federal programs, like No Child Left Behind, which requires a waiver from the Education Department, which all five states taking part in the program are using. The program is a result of fears that the U.S. educational system is in crisis and reform must be put into place before America loses its competitive edge within the world economy—though many fear America has already fallen behind other nations in terms of a strong public education system. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to improve student achievement on a national level and, in turn, position U.S. schools to be have a more competitive advantage on a global scale for years to come. How do you feel about long school days or years?

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