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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.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Dec 3, 2012 8:04PM

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.

Bing: The argument for an extended school day

Photo: Image Source/Getty Images

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Dec 4, 2012 1:54AM
What's gonna happen when "overworked/underpaid" teachers have to put in an 8 hour day like the typical working class parent?  And is this 2 hours per day going to be truely beneficial to the students, or is this going to be another 2 hour "free period" block for the faculty?  You want your extra 2 hours???.......get rid of the free periods where the teachers are supposed to be making lesson plans and grading assignments but in actuality working out in the gym or running errands around town.
Dec 4, 2012 1:46AM

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.
Dec 4, 2012 1:39AM
Bravo, Wes!  Well said.  I would only add that the student should also be exposed to and taught a healthy respect for God in their home.
Dec 4, 2012 1:20AM
I agree with Mr. Mason's comments below,certainly there has been an epidemic of school/Teacher blaming when the real issue is that parents aren't holding their children accountable for their actions or behavior in regards to their own educations. That said, however,an equally distressing issue is the amount of what is being taught today versus what was taught fifty years ago. According to my Daughter's then 74 year old 1st grade Teacher, who was quickly nearing her 50th year as an educator, the increase in content from when she started Teaching was about doubled, an increase of 100%. My Daughter is now a 7th grader and has a professional tutor 2 days a week. Yes, there are students that can handle the workload, but not the vast majority of them. Teacher's have so much content to cover, and too many students to handle, even in the elementary grades, that they cannot spend enough time teaching the math and reading basics well enough for students to retain the information. Whatever happened to phonics and the multiplication tables? If we threw away half of what is being taught in elementary schools today and spent the extra time going back to really teaching math and reading, along with art, music and active play (we are a military family and I can tell you not all schools offer art or music, or even have playgrounds) everything else would take care of itself. Kids have to learn to regurgitate and they don't have time to become interested in learning. A larger percentage of our tax dollars must go to education because if we do not start limiting class sizes by building more schools and hiring more qualified Teachers, and paying the ones we already have a better wage, we will end up with an entire population that will aspire to no more than low paying, service industry jobs. I am not disparaging the service industry but who will run the country when the American brain drain is complete. If we fix education, everything else will follow.      
2/3 of Tennessee Children K-12 attend "Paddling" Schools where teachers, coaches and administrators legally hit them with wooden boards to inflict Pain Punishment with no safety standards to protect children from excessive force injuries or from sadistic pedophiles from filming and sharing school "Paddlings or Spankings" for minor infractions such as not turning in homework, being tardy, horsing around, etc., known as School "Corporal Punishment", Illegal in Schools in 31 U.S. States!  Tennessee is among "Paddling" States that do not require parental consent or notification for children to be hit at school!  Federal Bill H.R. 3027 "The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act" Expires Again in U.S. Education Committee December 2012, Cost $0, compliments of U.S. Education Chairman John Kline MN, earlier version H.R. 5628 DIED in U.S. Education Committee December 2010 after Congressional Subcommittee on Healthy Communities and Families Hearing held 4/15/2010!  See brutally violent injuries to schoolchildren from school corporal punishment at YouTube Video Trailer for Documentary Movie "The Board of Education" by Jared Abrams.  Corporal Punishment of Felons is Prohibited by FEDERAL Law in ALL U.S. Prisons! Search "A Violent Education" 2008 Study by Human Rights Watch and ACLU for disturbing Facts!  see dont hit students dot com
Dec 4, 2012 1:17AM
It's not the schools or the teachers that are the issue. When my daughter was born she was bused to a "underprivileged" school in the district. Half the kids in the kindergarten class could not count at all, did not recognize their name in print, couldn't spell their name and didn't know the alphabet. So if the parents did not spend any time whatsoever teaching there children the basics, I can kind of guess that that student will get no help throughout their educational process. 
Dec 4, 2012 1:14AM

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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