5 states to increase class time in some schools
A three-year pilot program will add 300 hours of learning time to help boost achievement.
In an effort to step up student achievement, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee announced today a three-year pilot program that will affect nearly 20,000 students reports Newser. Initially, the program will roll out in 35 schools, which will extend both the school day and the school year during the 2013-14 academic year, The New York Times reports.
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The 300 extra hours of classroom time is meant to help underperforming students stay globally competitive on standardized tests and allow more access to enrichment activities like art and music, reports The Associated Press. Already, more than 1,000 U.S. schools operate on expanded schedules, an increase of 53 percent over 2009, reports the AP.
Increased classroom time has been a long-time priority for Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Whether educators have more time to enrich instruction or students have more time to learn how to play an instrument and write computer code, adding meaningful in-school hours is a critical investment that better prepares children to be successful in the 21st century,” Duncan was quoted in a statement to the AP.
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The programs will be run by state education officials and subsidized with federal, state, and district funds as well as resources from the National Center on Time & Learning and the Ford Foundation, which is committing $3 million a year in grants over the next three years.
According to the AP, not everyone is convinced about this extension in class time. A report last year from the National School Boards Association's Center for Public Education pointed out that a number of nations that are out-educating the United States - Finland, Japan and South Korea, for example - actually spend fewer hours in school than most U.S. students.
So, if extra learning time is the not the solution, how do we celebrate great teachers, strengthen the educational system and give students the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century? Discuss with others on our Facebook page...
Read the fully story at The New York Times.
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It's not that we need to make more and longer days. Schools need to get back to teaching the three Rs and not push political, religious or social issues. Those need to stay at home. This is why the US is dropping in stats compared to other countries such as Japan where 4th graders can rebuild Hondas or India where sophmores can do open heart surgery. That's real progress, not whether is ok to be gay or not.
The solution seems obvious to me. The last I heard the U.S. is number 13 in the world at educating its children. So there are 12 other countries that do it better. Why not figure out what they are doing and copy it. Why reinvent the wheel. Oh wait, that means U.S. educators would have to admit they don't know everything and maybe there is a better way they didn't' think of. Lets put the ego in the back seat and figure out what makes for a great education. Just do it and stop talking about it.
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