Since before George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind,” the U.S. has been working to increase the performance levels in students across the country. As more schoolchildren haven fall short on their benchmarks, the need for a change has become evident.
One recent solution is to lengthen the school day. While many districts have discussed this idea, there have been many suggests for the extended amount of time, varying from 2 hours to as little as 30 minutes. Many believe longer days is the solution to the issue of failing students, however, there is not much research to back it up. Here are a few pros and cons to consider.
Class Schedule Matches Parent’s Schedule. This is by far the biggest advantage to a longer school day. Rather than paying for childcare, parents would drop children off at school on their way to work.
Recreational Activities. Since schools would have children for longer, and children would have less time out of school, certain components of school, such as sports and clubs, could be integrated into the normal school day. This could be a great way to get more students involved in extracurricular activities.
Additional Learning Time. Longer school days allows teachers the opportunity to focus on different trouble areas, introduce more difficult material, and incorporate more fun activities. This time could be especially useful for the creative subjects, such as art, music and physical education, that have been cut back through the years; longer days will allow time for these subjects to be reintroduced.
Reduced Homework. Extending each school day longer provides ample time to tackle each day’s required coursework, therefore eliminating the need for supplemental learning. This not only allows children to leave scholarship for school, but it also lessens the burden on parents to be teachers at home.
Limits Activity Time Outside Of School. It’s an easy equation: the more time you spend in class, the less time you spend out of class. While other subjects and school clubs could be included, the longer school days limit children from doing activities of their choosing. After spending such a significant portion of time being told what to do, it is excellent for children to have the ability to make their own choices and learn how to spend their free time.
Impact. Students in the U.S. already have longer days in the classroom when compared to other nations. In some cases, U.S. students spend more than 200 hours per year than others. Even with these longer days, U.S. student scores do not meet the levels of other nations. If teaching methods are not producing the proper education, longer days will not be a solution.
More funding. Teachers across the U.S. already have a difficult time as it is with their salary and school funding. Longer days means more contact hours for teachers, which means they need to be paid more. Since funding comes from the taxpayer, longer school days could mean higher property taxes.
Parental Involvement. One primary concern of longer school days is the impact it has on family time. If students have less time interacting with their parents, will the positive effects of parental involvement be impacted? Although, if longer school days result in parents having the same schedule as their kids and children having no homework, then families may have more time than ever.