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Do we need a longer school day?

By Ron Whitehorne on Sep 23, 2009 10:48 AM
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/perspicacious

We can't change the calendar, but we can change the length of the school day or the school year.

From President Obama to Arlene Ackerman, the the call for a longer school day has been raised as a component of school reform. It’s an issue in contract negotiations here and across the country.  

I don’t know about you, but when that last bell rings my tank is pretty much empty. And my 8th graders, who suffered from post-lunch attention deficit syndrome, weren’t exactly in high learning mode either. Still, given the clear needs of so many of our students, I’m open to any argument that promises to improve student learning.  

Proponents of a longer school day point to other countries that have longer school days and/or school years that appear to correlate with greater academic achievement. The experience of some charter schools, notably KIPP, that have incorporated a longer days is also frequently cited. These schools, which have boosted student achievement as measured by standardized tests, argue that a longer day is necessary to make up the deficit so many urban students have in reading and math. 

Much of the research in this area suggests that quality needs to take precedence over quantity. There is plenty of room for increasing quality learning time in the existing school day. One study found that students were on task for about a third of the hours spent in school. These findings suggest that a focus on improving the delivery and quality of instruction would be a better investment than lengthening the school day. 

Like so many proposals the devil is in the details. An additional hour spent on small group instruction for remediation or enrichment is one thing. (Many teachers already do this in one form or another.) Whole group instruction with the full burden of preparation and monitoring is quite another.

Will a longer day be used for mind numbing test prep or will it open the way for some more creative approaches to enhancing student learning? As usual, teachers have not been involved in discussions of what a longer school day might look like and what purposes it might serve. 

And let’s be clear on one thing. If teachers are asked to work a longer day, they should be paid for it. This is elementary fairness. Base pay should be increased proportionate to the increase in the length of the day. According to PFT President Jerry Jordan the District is calling for a longer day without additional compensation.  

At the same time the union should not reject a longer day out of hand. AFT president Randi Weingarten, in responding to President Obama’s education initiatives, wrote on Huffington Post, “As with any public policy, the devil is in the details, and this time around teachers will play a role in fleshing out the details of President Obama's plans. The AFT stands ready to work with the president to make America the leader in public education.”  

Teachers, and concerned parents, students, and community leaders need to weigh in to maximize the chance for a positive resolution of this issue. We need real solutions not another quick fix.  

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Comments (154)

Submitted by Keith Newman (not verified) on September 23, 2009 12:31 pm

By contract an elementary school teacher in Philadelphia arrives by 8:20 and must stay until 3:09. Rational people will allow that the majority of teachers arrive by 8:00 and stay until a minimum of 3:30. It takes that long just to store and collect the tools of the trade. It makes for a 7½ hour day. But teachers give assignments and assignments must be reviewed. It requires a minimum of 45 minutes to assess an assignment. If a teacher gives two assignments per day, which is unlikely as most teachers see at least four classes a day, that turns a 7½ day into a 9 hour day. But still there is more. Assignments must be planned and prepared, copied, cut out, drawn, whatever, but each preparation takes another 45 minutes beyond what the school day accommodates. Thus a school teacher in Philadelphia already puts in a minimum of 10 hours per day. This writer generally put in a minimum of 4 hours over the weekend, usually 6-8. So the average teacher in Philadelphia puts in a minimum 50-60 hours per week as it is.
To make the school day longer means teachers will have less time to review student work and give feedback on it. Does anyone really want an educational system where children are unable to get feedback on their work?
Bad policy is already responsible for our deplorable teaching conditions. Let's start promoting good policy. The truth is a shorter day will produce better results. Sometimes less is more and in education that is the case.

Submitted by Natalie Segal (not verified) on September 23, 2009 9:25 pm

If the longer school day provided additional paid prep time for teachers, I would be for it. I agree with you, Keith. If I stayed in the building grading papers, preparing for my next classes, and was paid overtime, that would be some serious bank! As it stands, teachers that put in this extra time don't get paid for it, and teachers that don't spend additional hours working, can't possibly be teaching effectively, given only a 45 minute prep period daily! I also agree with Ron, though, that by 3:09 (3:30 for me) I'm tired and the kids are restless. More prep time for teachers will ultimately lead to more quality teaching.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 5, 2009 5:52 pm

of course we need longer school days to help prepare for the crct mabey we should take friday off

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 19, 2011 2:58 pm

Why? Not a good argument. Hello, what about the teachers and students? They are tired at the end of the day. I get up at 4 in the morning. They get up an hour later than me. I have friends who go to school. They come back at 3:45, looking as if they are going to drop dead. Comment?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 26, 2012 4:57 pm

What you said is so true. What about us disabled students Im in a wheelchair and it is not that easy for my parents, no i mean OUR parents. They carry us to bed, they carry us into the wheelchair, we do therapy, they feed us, put our clothes on, brush our teeth, and we go to school. So people who agree with longer school day are ignorants. So do our parents just scratch their ass all day?

Submitted by Keith Newman (not verified) on February 27, 2012 5:06 pm

I don't have the knowledge to comment on your situation. I think your input and that of your parents would be necessary to arrive at a good solution,
Best Regards
Keith

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 15, 2013 1:00 pm
no!
Submitted by Curtis Reed (not verified) on October 7, 2009 5:12 pm

As a former teacher, I would simply like to second Keith's assessment of the length of the school week. It should be additionally noted that teachers' salary is quite low compared to the level of education. In our area, most teachers have Master's Degrees, yet earn only around $45k to $50k per year, while I, who left education and never got advanced degrees, earn about 50% more than that and work considerably fewer hours.

The attempt to compare US schools to Europe on a single factor such as length of day or length of year is a futile act. My understanding of most European schools is that they are very different from ours. In some countries such as Germany, students are separated and tracked by their abilities into technical school or liberal arts education. In many other areas, districts are not forced to keep students who are chronically troublesome. In Latin America and Asia, they would never tolerate behavior that is common here. And so many of the worst pupils are simply thrown out into the street. Education becomes an issue of survival, and this fact inspires the children greatly.

What's more, in many of these countries they take yearly assessment tests that are pass/fail. If the student passes ALL the subjects, he or she moves on. If not, the student must repeat the entire year--all subjects. This creates a highly stressful environment, but it again appears to be highly inspirational. There is no acceptance of mediocrity, no forgiveness, no rule bending.

If we are going to look to successful foreign schools, we should at least look at everything they do differently and consider how we can implement all the best ideas. Simply extending the school day or school year will NOT fix our problems.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 13, 2010 2:11 pm

I'm a teacher in New Orleans - I have to be here between 7:30 and 7:45 and can't leave until 4:30 (students begin dismissal at 4). They are given a 30 minute lunch/recess and that's IT.

My afternoon classes are almost unteachable because the kids are coming out of their skin.

Brevity is the soul of wit... I'm tired...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 13, 2010 6:58 pm

Thank Paul Vallas, the man who has never taught a day in his life. BTW, if you see him carrying around any framed paintings ask him to return them to Philly where they belong.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 14, 2010 12:35 am

hahahaha...

Paul Vallas...the peripathetic politician/superintendent...tampering with every district he touches...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 6, 2014 10:50 am
i have an idea TURN UP
Submitted by Camille (not verified) on February 8, 2012 10:30 am

Keith I really agree to hat you are saying. I am A forty Year Old Teacher For A Middle School And Personally Studemts Get On My Last Nerve!!! I'm Sure They Feel the same Way About Each Other And Their Teachers. If We Added Another Hour To Our School Day We Would Get An Icrease In Attitude Almost Promptly If You Can Give Me One Good Reason Why We Should Have Aanother School Day I MIGHT Agree.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 27, 2012 3:27 pm

I agree school is long enough as it is and about the kids in the wheel chairs? It's hard enough to be in a whell chair but to stay in school for another hour is just to much. And the fact that you say kids get on your nerves is not right maybe your teaching has something to do with it. Kids don't act out of behavior just to do it, your probally doing something wrong. So maybe you should take some work teacher work shops.

Submitted by Keith Newman (not verified) on February 27, 2012 5:02 pm

Dear anonymous:
Your comments well express your ignorance. I wouldn't put my name on something like that either.
Please leave educational policy to those of us who know something about it.
Regards
Keith

Submitted by Jonny Rashid (not verified) on September 23, 2009 1:15 pm

Great post, Ron. Clearly the goal of anyone involved here is to improve student learning. And the intention here is good, I appreciate that. But the bigger questions that it asks are intriguing: can students handle a longer day? Can teachers, who are people with their own limitations, even do so?

A fatigued staff, and a fatigued student body doesn't mean good results. Rather, focusing on quality education is important. So for both the instructors and the students, the question of premier education must be asked. In reality, what we need is a more sustainable environment; both for instructors and students. That may mean a shorter school day like Keith recommends, but also perhaps a lighter class load. If teachers has less students and less classes, my focused attention on individual students would be greater. Naturally, this ultimately means more teachers, smaller class loads, and perhaps smaller classrooms.

Of course this strategy requires money that may not be available, so when money is not available, and greater results are expected--the burden will always fall on the laborer. Overworking teachers means worse instruction and less tenured teachers (due to burnout). It decreases morale among the staff.

Folks must realize that when teachers ask for better working conditions, we do not do so strictly out of our self-interest. But clearly, students would also benefit from the aforementioned items.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 23, 2009 2:21 pm

Keith and Johnny make important points.  Thanks for contributing to the conversation.   I often wonder when I read about some of the charter schools that have longer days what their turnover rate (or burnout rate) is for teachers.   I suspect part of why they tend to hire young people is that older teachers with family responsibilities can't or won't deal with the kinds of demands these schools make.

Another point often left out by proponents of the longer day is that in other countries that have a longer day the additional time is often used for planning and preparation, not for added instruction.    

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on September 23, 2009 5:08 pm

FYI

- - High School teachers work a 7 hour and four minute day in Philly - longer than elementary teachers.

--Some charter schools, while requiring a 8 hour clock day, have students for 7 hours. As others posted, I have to arrive before my "clock in time," and I leave after the "clock out time" so, in reality most of us work the 8 hours. As others have written, this does not include planning, grading, copying, phone calls home, etc., etc. I'm not complaining - it is part of being a teacher - but the focus on "clock time" is misplaced. "Seat" or "clock time" isn't synonymous with learning - I think most students would prefer a more flexible roster versus the lock step used in most high schools.

--I have friends who teach in public schools Europe and Latin America. The length of the school day is 7 - 8 hours but students are not in school all day. There is common planning time, preparation time, etc. for teachers. There are also charter schools in Philly which have weekly "early dismissal" which allows for teacher planning/meeting time. I don't have a quick solution for "teaching by the bell" but the place for innovation should be in the Empowerment schools with the goal of engaging and invigorating students and teachers. The "innovation" should not be restricted to "magnet" schools.

That said, The KIPP model is notorious for teacher burn out. As a single parent, I can not be on 24/7. Yes, I'm sure it helps students because there is a teacher playing the role of parent/guardian beyond the student's legal parent/guardian but you are sacrificing the teachers. There have to be other options.

Submitted by Curtis Reed (not verified) on October 7, 2009 6:03 pm

"Philly HS Teacher" mentions a point I forgot to mention. It is absolutely true that school days in some Latin American countries and schools are "longer" than in the USA, but not in all. And where they are, they often have extended lunches, and the students often walk home, eat a leisurely lunch, even take a nap, before returning to school.

One more point: the hot house flowers who are considering lengthening school days forget that MANY of our students ride buses for 1 hour or more to and from school. What appears to be a "short" 7 hour day is actually 9 hours or more for them. I had students who were bused over 2 hours to the school, so they spent 4 bloody hours a day on a bus to and from school. They then had up to six hours of homework a night (these were AP and IB students in a magnet program in an inner-urban high school).

It would be cruel to add another hour or more to the day

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 7, 2009 10:08 pm

Ackerman Shake Up...

Anyone have any thoughts on the Ackerman shake-up?

Couldn't happen to a more motley group of administrators...

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 9, 2010 9:26 am

we need shorter school dayyyyssss!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 17, 2010 8:58 pm

heck yess we dooo!!! many students are already tired and overworked when they arrive home from school... Many teachers imply that the avergage school day is about 6 1/2 hours, but in reality it is really about 7 1/2... if another hour or so was added, it would leave students with less time to do homework and spend time with their families.. and what about school sports or activities? if those were added to a students day, they would be at school until atleast 5:30 or much later... i know that i would not appreciate that everyday.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 13, 2011 1:11 pm

we need shorter school days because students need to get some rest i have to wake up at 5:00AM in the morning and get out of school at 2:55PM i dont have much time for after school activities

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Submitted by Beentheredonethat (not verified) on September 23, 2009 4:45 pm

Unless Arlene gets busy with actually doing something about the lack of discipline in her schools (still waiting for that afterschool detention, Ary!) you can extend the day to 24 hours and accomplish squat. More rearranging the chairs on the Titanic, I'm afraid. It gives public that the illusion that Arlen is really doing something about those lazy teachers. Make 'em work for their money and those "three months off in the summer". However, what is going to happen is that most teachers will cut back on clubs and Power Hour to make up for the lost time. I rarely leave before 5. A few teachers leave with the students, but they are parents. I know some of them come in early so they can leave at 3:10.

Giving our prep time to the principal is ridiculous. Will the principal do all our xeroxing for us (provided the machines are working this week)? I don't mind working hard, but I get tired of doing so only to have some carpetbagger like Arlene blame us for her lack of insight.

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher - Sharon (not verified) on September 23, 2009 11:05 pm

The issue of longer school day seems to be another "bandaid" for the cities issues in education. For many years we have socially promoted students, placed them in the wrong classes, forced teachers to teach out of their certification...and yet we seem to always miss the issue of poor student ability.
Many of our students are at the point where they are able to learn all that they can, based on the skills that they have. The students have been given Math and Reading classes and passed onto more difficult classes without consideration for their levels. The kids need help in Philadelphia!!! Many are smart as a whip!!! But we seem to want to keep pushing the test on them, taking away from precious time for REMEDIATION.
I admire the fact that Arlene Ackerman had 9th graders tested in Reading and Math, as well as other grades this year to access theri levels... My question is...What are we going to do with the results?? Give the kids a workbook to complete and then they are on level??

I think we need to take a look again at "homogenous grouping" in Philadelphia. Hell, many schools do that in rapid, honors, AP classes and that works!!!

If we place kids at the level they are, then we take them from where they are to where they need to be. It's a simple concept.

Adding time to the school day will not make children smarter..just tired and more frustrated.
Let's test the children, take the raw data and give them the help that they really need. What is wrong with two reading and math classes a term in high school if a child needs it?
Parents need to understand that this is not about pleasing them with their son or daughter just graduating, but giving the children an opportunity to achieve and accomplish graduation standards.
Enough of the same old same old...Let's look at the problems and STOP using excuses and "Bandaids". This is the 21st century !!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 1, 2009 11:50 am

Amen to homogenous grouping!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 16, 2010 7:59 pm

In my Philly empowerment school, children are grouped homogenously and it is great if you have the higher level children. If you have a class full of below basic children it is a room full of behavior issues all year long. Homogeneous groupng does not work for lower level children. Mix up the classes, continue to teach children how to work in groups, and children will learn from each other, instead of only fighting with each other.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 16, 2010 9:45 pm

How would you know how a homogenous grouping would work for lower level students unless you've tried it. I know the working groups does not work if you only have one adult in the room. You end up spending too much time keeping the others on task to actually teach the group you want to work with at that moment. As I've said before boys who are behind in reading clam up once they hear others reading way beyond their level, especially if it's girls.

Submitted by Trylisteingtoteachersforachange (not verified) on September 24, 2009 2:36 pm

Third grade is a real gateway age for readers. It's when the mechanics of decoding start to give way to more comprehension, narrative elements, etc. I've noticed that nothing clams up a boy from reading out loud, who is a year or two behind in his reading, than hearing a girl reading on or ahead of her level. Homogenous grouping needs to be brought back for delayed readers. They will only attempt to catch up if they are surrounded by peers on the same level. The district is trying to do that with Guided Reading, but it doesn't work in classrooms with one adult. I've often felt that there should be an extra year added on for readers who have yet to get on a third grade reading level. That entire year should be devoted to reading. It's really when the pack begins to separate in terms of reading ability.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 27, 2009 5:13 pm

I live in the Netherlands, and my kids' school recently changed from ordinary school times to longer day. The meeting they set up for the parents before summer to show us all the advantages, was... interesting. The main goal of the new system seemed to be two-fold: keep kids off the streets during lunch hour and after school, (many kids' parents don't come home till 5 or 6, and kids take care of younger siblings), and also to add interesting creative and sports lessons in between the 'learning' lessons, so that kids don't get tired of learning. One of the arguments for it, was that kids tend to be tired around 3pm, but highly active after 4. So they would add hours to the school day, but give a sports or yoga lesson at 3pm, then learning again around 4pm.

The main reason though, although not explicitly mentioned as such, seems to be that the school gets extra subsidy from the city if they become a longer day school. City pays for the extra teachers for the extra lessons, which supposedly helps combat the frequent situation of teachers getting sick and kids needing to switch to yet another teacher, if any even can be found.

Some lessons, like history, could potentially be given by a history professor, who knows much more about the subject than the regular teacher, that way exposing the kids to more knowledge, and more interesting ways of learning about a subject. They mentioned history, geography and art as likely subjects to be given by a specialised teacher. So far, only sports is being given by a sports teacher.

Many parents found a school day till after 4pm way too long though, especially for the younger ones, so in the end the school went for a middle ground: Mon-Thur 8.30 - 4pm, Tues-Fri 8.30-3pm, and Wednesday till noon. In total, only 2 hours were really added to the entire week, in part by shortening lunch hour with 15 minutes to only one hour. All kids lunch in school now, with the argument that that's the only way to be sure they get fed well, instead of buying crisps or cake from the supermarket next door. When I argued that I prefer to see my kids at home for lunch, to break their school day (we live in the next street), my kids became the only ones in the entire school with permission to lunch at home.

I have yet to see any benefit really, and the promised "your kids will start liking school again" didn't really happen. No matter if you get to try fun and interesting sports that your parents can't pay for, you're still in school, and you'd prefer being home or playing in the streets with your friends.

I think they're too busy trying to make school fun so kids will like it, and not enough to actually teach kids what they should know before going to the next school at 13yrs old. I also think it's natural for a kid to prefer not going to school. When my son aged 7 was asked to write an answer to the question "what do you like most in school", he wrote "going home". I still don't understand why the teacher worried about that. Isn't playing with friends always more fun than sit in school?

Of course we only started with this longer day system recently, so the above should only be seen as one personal experience, not as any evidence of how useful or not useful the longer school day is or could be. Currently I think it's waste of money, but who knows I might change my mind during the course of this school year.

Submitted by Alan Kaman (not verified) on September 27, 2009 7:37 pm

According to a newspaper article I read today, children in this country already spend more time in school that kids in Asian countries, yet students in Asian countries outperform American students on standardized tests. Let this be proof that quality is more important than quantity. Let's improve the quality by treating children as children. Research says that meeting their needs and enabling them to envision success , creates success.

Submitted by Kevin (not verified) on September 27, 2009 10:47 pm

Actually this is not true apparently, because they based it on a 5 day week, the majority of Asian schools are Mon-Sat.

Submitted by Kevin (not verified) on September 27, 2009 10:27 pm

Well, I am not a teacher, but I am a parent.

I really like this idea. Until I was 16 I was educated in Ireland where we get seven weeks vacation in the summer. In Ireland I was a solid B student, but from the moment I took my first test here I was an A student. I had effectively completed the US program in Ireland at the age of 16 i.e. the first time I took a trig exam here was in college, whereas that was a major part of the junior cert exam.

Learning is generally pretty straight forward, the more time you put in, the more you learn. At least that is my general belief.

I have read through the comments and I was appalled to see most people first reaction was "well if they pay us more....", I am not saying your profession does not deserve more but it is a case of give and take i.e. if I pay you more, I want more.

For example this is what I would do if it were up to me:

Require all teachers to complete a two year course that specifically addresses the issue of teaching and is paid for by the government. Give them an allowance that would pay them 75% of what their state pays for a first year teacher, but require them to teach for at least 2 years thereafter. However for those two years, the teacher would be required to act as a TA and would take over grading papers, homework etc. This would allow them to have a mentor and to learn the ropes with a safety net.

End teacher tenure, if I am bad at my job, they fire me. The same should be true for all professions.

Increase teacher salaries by 20% which is around the amount of time the government wants in terms of extra time.

Principals would be required to spend one class a month with every teacher in their school and provide feedback.

There are lots of other things I would also do, but those are the main points.

The bottom line here is that the education system here until college is terrible. I just do not understand how we can have such amazing university's and the rest is average.

I would love to send my kids to a public school, but the fact is, is that the private schools here in Portland, OR outperform the public schools by a wide margin. why is that?

I don't want to come across as an ass, I know blame lies everywhere in this system and I am not asserting we assign it to anyone, I am merely stating that as a parent I would like to see the profession taking some ownership and fixing the problem.

Submitted by HeatherDooley on September 29, 2009 11:18 am

I like your idea of learning to teach with a mentor. Of being a "TA" of sorts for a while before taking on the full responsibility of a classroom.

I'm curious about something. Given that you believe this:

" it is a case of give and take i.e. if I pay you more, I want more."

...then why would you find it appalling that a teacher's response to being asked to work longer hours is to ask for more pay?

More pay requires more work. More work requires more pay. Makes sense, yes?

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Submitted by Trylisteingtoteachersforachange (not verified) on October 1, 2009 8:28 pm

So Kevin, are you serious about not knowing why private schools outperform public schools? Gee, do you think it might have something to do with money? Parents that are wealthier tend to be the ones who send their kids to private school. The poorer and, often less involved, parents are the ones who dominate public schools. Private schools can kick problem students out unlike the public schools who end up being the holding tank for these private school outcasts.

If you knew anything about the history of teaching in America you would know that once upon a time you could be fire for nonsense like not having your windows shades pulled down to the same height. You would be paid by a member of the local politicial party who would expect you to kickback a portion of your paycheck in thanks for getting you the job. Once a teacher had reached a certain pay level (along with an increased teaching effectiveness) that teacher would become a target for administrators looking for an excuse to fire them. The higher pay level became the greater the liability that teacher would become since the administration could hire two or three begginers for the same pay check. How parents never complain about principals and tenure? Did you know that until recently Philly principals got tenure at the end of their FIRST DAY! Teachers had to prove themselves for three years. Do you think there is a reason Philadelphia never fires principals? Remove tenure for teachers and Philadelphia will look like a ghost town. It's not much of a deal, even with tenure, at this point. That is why Philadelphia can't keep teachers as it is so let's make it even more unattractive.

The profession would love to "take ownership" and "fix the problem". What do you propose we do? Any time the parents, politicians and administration would like to start listening we have plenty of suggestions. The clown that is the head of the Sec. of Ed.department has never taught, but can tell public school teachers exactly what they are doing wrong. Arne Dunkin Doughknuts just told everybody he wasn't in love with charter schools, but GOOD charter schools. Evidently good public schools don't float his boat because they don't make any money for his puppetmasters.

As a teacher I would like to see parents taking some ownership and fix their problems (i.e. grow some backbone and learn how to discipline their children). Don't wait until the child enters school to discover that they are acting in a socially unacceptable manner. A child's first five years pretty much sets up the path for the rest of their lives. On the ball parents know this and get involved early on in the game. Unfortunately, they will usually also be the ones to pull their kids out of school by middle school. Maybe you could talk to Arlene about returning the gifted programs back to our public schools so we don't keep losing Philadelphia's braintrust? Better yet, Kevin, try teaching for a year and then tell us what we're doing wrong.

Submitted by marty (not verified) on October 5, 2010 11:30 pm

Your comments took away the sick feeling in my stomach from reading all the other comments. One of the best phrases i think was "Less is more" referring to less hours would be even better than more. I think she should apply that to her salary and see how it works out. Thank you

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 12, 2011 10:16 am

"The bottom line here is that the education system here until college is terrible. I just do not understand how we can have such amazing university's and the rest is average."

Critiques of the "American educational system" are senseless when compared to such places as Ireland. The simple but sad truth is that there really isn't so much of an educational system here. What we have here is greater "choice," which basically means severe inequality.

The reason why American Universities are so excellent, as you put it, is because there is an enormous, world class body of well educated students graduating from American High Schools. And not just the private ones. There are many exceptional public high schools that reach to the same standard and higher then many private schools do.

I am not saying that there is not also "terrible" learning going on in America's schools. There certainly is! I am saying that, by and large, in America, it is about whether you live in a rich area or a poor one and whether or not you can afford a private school. There is NO standard of education in America as there is in Ireland. There really is no system. There are systems. As in plural.

More to the point, the academic failure that we see going on in the poorer school districts is not the result of weak schools failing communities. It is a result of communities failing schools, and because society as a whole allows and encourages such communities to remain separate and unequal. Attempts at policing schools for these non-academic failures does not address the real problem, but attacks the very teachers who are most dedicated to fixing the problem by working in the most challenging environments.

Interestingly, excessive teacher pressuring and disrespect, as discussed, is not nearly so present in high functioning public and private school environments as they are in poorer districts. In general, higher functioning public school districts pay their teachers far more and treat them in a less authoritarian manner.

Submitted by 2Cents (not verified) on September 28, 2009 8:46 am

What an idea......no one will have to pay for childcare anymore and my kids will eat breakfast, lunch and likely dinner @ school! Awesome. I now will have a full day of childcare and my grocery bill will go down. I won't have to help with homework as that shouldn't be necessary with the longer days.

The trick in all this is how will it get paid for??? We have a major budget shortfall in our county schools...and with our kids losing after school sports the already enormous obesity problem can only grow. When will teachers see their own children? How about the extra greenhouse gases generated to keep these larger facilities open, operating and polluting? What are the unintended consequences.....teachers quitting, more kids dropping out, increased school violence from kids and or teachers that are exhausted.

I think we need to see teaching strategies changed and test scores improved BEFORE we leave our kids there longer. My kids are A-B students but they already hate school.

Submitted by Kevin (not verified) on September 28, 2009 4:10 pm

Well the obvious way to pay for it is with tax increases, in theory that would make it cost neutral for you and me i.e. the money we save on child care and groceries could go towards taxes.

Personally I don't mind paying more taxes if my child gets a better education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 10, 2009 11:46 am

umm longer school days would only make kids tired and over worked, they hate school, no one likes it dont take away their free time to lay back and relax after getting a brain overload sending there longer would increase the rate of drop outs, and the crime rate will sky rocket quickly, more kids will do drugs and during school looking for a relaxing way to handle the school days and omg the cutting rate will just be doomed no one will want to stay that long and will just leave to get home and look forward to their couch the remote and a bag of chips. they will get smarter from longer days they will lose more info then before to just keep craming kids with facts and numbers makes them forget about the 5 minutes ago when their teacher said E=Mc2 they will only want to leave

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 28, 2009 9:02 am

It's great to get some international perspective in this conversation as well as some parental viewpoints.  

There certainly is a need for after school programs where children are safe and engaged in positive activity but this, in my view, should not be confused with extending the school day for teachers and students.   Some schools in Philadelphia house after school programs but they are not staffed by the school.  

Also I worry that in the whole debate over boosting student achievement we forget the important role of play in the life of children.  Healthy emotional and intellectual development requires opportunities for children to interact with each other and their world without active supervision by adults.   Substituting another hour sitting in a desk or, for that matter, more homework, seems like a bad bargain.

 

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on September 28, 2009 2:28 pm

I agree. I don't know how students or teachers would make it through more time just at a desk. That example from the Netherlands is really interesting, breaking up the time like that seems like a great solution. I worked in a couple of after school programs and always wondered how the heck the kids could stay on task for 8-10 hours a day or more; most adults can't do that! 

I hope conversations like these help us speak more openly about this issue, especially with President Obama and Sec. Duncan pressing pretty hard about longer school day/year. It sounds good, but if we think about it, other ideas are probably better. 

Submitted by Kevin (not verified) on September 28, 2009 4:10 pm

Is there a reason why we cannot look at the most successful education system in the world and just copy it verbatim?

With regards to play time, I see where you are coming from and on the surface it does make sense. However US kids get more play time than any other nation in the world today and that has not worked out to well for us to date.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 28, 2009 7:29 pm

Kevin, I'm not sure what you regard as the most successful system in the world but, while we certainly learn from other nations,  we also need to take into account the wide differences in social conditions.

The U.S. educational system works quite well for some while it fails completely when it comes to others.  It both mirrors and perpetuates the class and racial inequalities in U.S. society.   Any serious effort at education reform needs to take this into account. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 28, 2009 9:47 pm

The reason you can't just copy the best system in the world, is that it is embedded in the culture.
Take Japanese schools for example. No idea how good they are, but let's just imagine they have the best results. Would Western kids put up with rising 6am to do morning gymnastics in uniform before the first lessons? And closer to home for Westerners probably: would our kids who were born in the last couple of decades really put up with the education system our parents were used to?

My mom got beaten with a ruler on her fingers for whispering in class. When I was in school, some of us would be sent to the headmaster's office for doing anything that would anger the teacher. My kids? They complain that the teacher is angry with them when all she does is speak with a slightly stern voice.

And yes, I think my parents got a better education than I did, and I'm pretty sure mine was better than my kids'. Discipline is a great part of education. Not just discipline as in getting punished, but first of all discipline as in doing things because you have to, and not question whether you like it or would prefer to do something else instead.

Not saying at all that beating should return to class rooms. Far from it.
But stricter rules, especially on behaviour and obedience to teachers, I don't think that's so bad.
Today's society is too much based on personal gratification, things have to feel good, else we don't like to do them. What happened to hard work, persistence, and reciting the multiplication tables in school? My kids are A students, but when I ask 'what's 8 x 6, they need to think. They get the right answer, but if they'd have recited those tables like we did 30, 40 years ago, they would know without thinking.

Discipline has left the class rooms, and the education suffers. This is not caused by the school system, but by society, which produces both the teachers, the kids, and the school system.

So basically, what I'm trying to say, is that you can't just pick up one system, and drop it into a completely different culture and think it will work. It just won't fit.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 1, 2009 11:15 am

"Discipline has left the class rooms, and the education suffers. This is not caused by the school system, but by society, which produces both the teachers, the kids, and the school system".......

You left out the most important element.... the parents. I am sure you are a very good parent, but teachers are tired of being used as a punching bag by parents who fail to parent and blame everyone but themselves (or their kids) when their child acts out or fails to perform. I know parents don’t want to hear this but the truth is none of the changes needed in education will ever come to pass until parents start parenting again. Education begins and ends at home.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 28, 2009 8:58 pm

I agree. My main problem with the extended school day, is that it takes away from the time kids get to spend with their parents and their friends. We do have the regular after school program too, indeed hosted in the same school, but by different people. It's not for all children, only for those whose parents work till later than end of school.

As a single parent, I chose to work from home, so I could raise my children myself, instead of rushing them off to before-school-care early mornings and picking them up early evening to hastily cook and eat a meal together before they go to bed. Don't get me wrong, it's great that the before- and after-school care is there for those parents who just need to work full time, so their kids are in good hands. It's just not for me, and luckily, it's not a compulsory thing.

The problem with extended school days, is that they are compulsory. Even if I make sure there is always someone home for them, and even though they perform very well in school, they still would be obligated to spend time in school that they could have spent freely.

Submitted by Kevin (not verified) on September 29, 2009 2:41 am

@Anonymous (btw no one takes you seriously if you are Anonymous)

I was more talking about the European culture i.e. our founding fathers.

I am a pretty big contributor to the demo party and from what I learned today, I found out that a large part of Ron's contributions come from republican contributors.

Ron, honestly your response was pretty thick, at least be honest. I actually do not care if you take republican money, just say it.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 29, 2009 3:30 pm

Kevin, could you please provide me with the names of all those Republican contributors.  Apparently they have been directing their checks to the wrong mailbox.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 29, 2009 8:21 pm

@Kevin When I described the difference between my parents' education and my kids' education, that's exactly European culture. I'm the only "Anonymous" in this thread, and the Netherlands are as European as you can get ;-)

The difference is not in the length of the school day, but in the quality of the education, and the stimulation from the parents.

Submitted by Helen Gym on September 30, 2009 10:48 pm

Kevin: I have no idea what you're talking about throwing around wildly wrong partisan accusations but why don't you try sticking to making a point rather than resorting to throwing stones when others can't make sense of your arguments - like the idea that European culture is the culture of our founding fathers. I don't know who you count as your founding fathers, but most educators recognize that indigenous, African, Caribbean and, surprise even Asian cultures laid down roots in this country preceding and concurrent with those other founding fathers of yours.

Submitted by Educator (not verified) on September 29, 2009 8:11 am

Many school systems around the world have extended school day. Sometimes school day is almost nine hours. But there is a catch – it is NOT nine hours of instructional time. Core subjects’ classes are taught in the morning and art, music, physical education, clubs, sports, extra curricular activities, study halls are in afternoon. Students come home with homework almost done!

Teachers DO NOT teach 25 hours per week, but 18-20 hours. Otherwise they cannot be efficient and productive. Classroom time is not the only time! Preparation, grading students work, communication with students, parents, colleagues take another 20 hours a week, maybe even more.

We do need changes, but reasonable and scientifically proven, not just changes. Increase of the length of the school day could be useless and even damaging if it is not planned properly.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 29, 2009 8:29 am

I hope Arne Duncan, Al Sharpton, and Newt Gingrich, who have brought their road show to Philadelphia today, get this message

Submitted by rabbitw (not verified) on September 30, 2009 8:13 am

My son is already in school 7 hours a day. Add the long bus ride and he's gone NINE HOURS a DAY already! Then he has homework! I NEED time with my kids!! We have our own interests that we need time for! The 7 hours they already have to endure is too long, they get SICK of it and burned out! When I went to school, it was from 9am-3pm, now it's 8am-3pm. They've already added an hour. LEAVE US ALONE ALREADY! I love my kids and need to spend time with them!!!

Submitted by nicole R (not verified) on September 30, 2009 5:04 pm

I agree with president Obama but at the same time if u give kids more school hours that adds on to the school hours we already then we probably wont do anymore work and get sick and tired of school thats why i think this is a bad idea.Sometimes parents dont know that we are having a hard time as it is we just dont need those kinda of scholl hours.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 30, 2009 5:35 pm

Thanks, Nicole.   Its good to get a student view on this.

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on October 1, 2009 12:00 pm

I was talking with one of our volunteers, Sheena, about class time this weekend while we were tabling at the expo. I wonder if block scheduling would help with this class time issue, without even needing to lengthen the school day.

Sheena mentioned that the Department of Labor grants are going to be used, in part, to implement block scheduling at some schools. Looking at those schedules that now have EIGHT periods a day, by the time you get settled in class, it's time to go! We had block scheduling at my school and it was great--lots of class time, and to be honest, a lot of down time for me to do my homework too. It also made it a lot harder to get sick and tired of the school day, you only had max three of one type of day a week.

I hope that during this tour of schools Sec. Duncan will listen to student voices on this. I just can't imagine a longer school day, and still needing to work an after school job and/or sports and/or activities and/or caring for family members, etc etc

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 29, 2010 10:05 pm

I had block scheduling, too - as early as middle school. I loved it! It not only gave me more time to do homework (since it was NEVER due the day after it was assigned), it also gave teachers more of an opportunity to incorporate projects and group discussions into the classes. We spent more time focused on fewer subjects and research has shown that that's a better way to learn! I was also really into art classes and block scheduling meant we spent half as much time cleaning up, which adds up over the school year.

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on October 1, 2009 5:00 pm

Looks like this post got picked up as part of an assignment, http://letsdebate808.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/article-4-do-we-need-a-lon...

Lots of interesting perspectives from students!

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on October 1, 2009 5:55 pm

Yes and virtually every student was opposed to a longer day...hmmm.   I thought it was also interesting that some students thought the thesis of the post was we need a longer day while others thought it was we don't need a longer day.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 5, 2009 3:09 pm

I think that the longer school day would hurt the stronger kids. They never pay any attention in school. School is not designed for the top 1% of students, not even the big private ones (well, maybe a select few). If we were to spend more of their time in easy-stuff world, they would never be able to pursue their own interests to expand their potential. Essentially, we are limiting the people that can really make a great difference in the future.

Some suggest that these extra programs that will lengthen the school day can be "enriching" so that all students can be challenged. But a strong student will never learn too much anyway if put with peers of a lower level, so in the long run the student still will waste time. These high-achieving students are also often more self-motivated, and prefer to learn with minimal instructor interference - it would be unwise to force them to go step-by-step with a teacher if they can figure everything out (to the same level of depth) in 2 hours of their own time, out of geniune interest. Our current school model currently assumes that all students learn the same way and are of comparable level - we must accept that this is simply not the case in a diverse and developed society like the US and we should consider these factors in making a decision on school days.

Submitted by Anna Weiss on October 6, 2009 12:32 pm

I'm a little biased on this issue, as I'm contracted to teach until 4pm at my school.  In addition, our school year starts a full week earlier for orientation and includes some Saturday mornings.  It's exhausting, and kids do get tired--but they also acclimate quickly. 

Do I often work longer hours than my friends at district schools?  Yes--but purely because of a longer school day.  I don't think I have more work than my district peers (although I think I'm held accountable to more of it at Mastery than I was at my district school). 

I think teachers just have a lot of work, period.  A lot of this is because I am still only in my 5th year of teaching, and only the first where I've taught the same thing two years in a row (thus being able to recycle old lesson plans and assignments, instead of having to create them from scratch).  I generally put in 60 hours a week (including teaching), and come in for a full day on the weekend to get more done.  It's not completely stressful to me, so I don't mind the workload.  I also choose to work this much--I have colleagues that are able to accomplish as much in less time, as my responsibilities at work are a bit more varied and demanding than your typical Mastery teacher.  However, I am absolutely not the norm, and I'm also 26, single, and with no children. 

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on October 6, 2009 2:39 pm

Thanks, Anna for your comment.  Could you tell us more about what Mastery does with that extra time and how significant you think it is in terms of the school's success in improving student achievement?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 9, 2009 8:27 am

So what is different now than say 35 years ago when I was in elementary school? Maybe discipline? Not holding other students back because a couple others are having problems? More family involvement? I'm not sure what the answer is but things worked back then and a longer school day is definitely not the answer.

Submitted by alicia_in_phila on October 16, 2009 1:09 pm

in an ideal and sensible working-class society,
students schedules would correspond with that of their parents. so if parents such as myself are expected to generally work from 9 to 5, children should be kept occupied from 8 until 6. same holidays off and opporunities for summer enrichment.
ideally the schools would be safe, teachers would not get burned out, curriculum would include enough subjects and subject materials to work on all day including the languages, the arts/music and physical activities. all of this would be with the assumption that parents are active in their childrens learning and review assignments and projects at home as well.
extending the school day has more benefits than costs it seems to me. it might even create jobs by bringing in aides, tutors and ohter professionals necessary to sustain a school providing 7 hours of education.
i think if professionals were equipped with the necessary tools to keep education interactive, and diverse children would become more successful. but then again resources for schools and students would have to be plentiful.

Submitted by Becca Lane (not verified) on November 2, 2009 9:12 am

Hey Ron,

I am writing a story on this subject for Philadelphianeighand was wondering if I could chat with you about it. Unfortunately, my deadline is this Wednesday morning so the sooner you could get back to me, the better. I would really appreciate it! My email is bhlane@gmail.com and my phone number is (202) 494 6561.

Thanks so much!

Becca Lane

Submitted by Becca Lane (not verified) on November 2, 2009 9:48 am

ah! sorry - that's philadelphianeighborhoods.com...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 5, 2010 7:43 pm

can you guys give me reasons why school shouldnt be posponed one more hour? i have to write an essay on it.

please and thankyou

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 1, 2010 1:22 pm

It seems to me that Obama wants to beat all the other countries in public education then actually improve education so that it would better our country. Longer school days will not help with this goal. Shorter days and better methods of teaching will benefit our country more then what Obama is proposing.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2010 7:37 pm

shcool shoudn´t be extended because kids don´t like shool and they will be very exhausted. they woudn´t have enough vacation. kids would not have time for homework, time for sports and they woudn´t have the 8 hours of shool they need

Submitted by Louan (not verified) on March 15, 2010 9:44 am

Has anyone heard of a new book by Linda Darling-Hammond called "The Flat World and Education"? I just read a fb note about this book by a friend of mine who does workshops for schools on collaborative learning using technology. Some of what his note said has been touched on here by many of you.

Many interesting perspectives in these comments and many good points. As others have pointed out here I believe in the importance of looking for successful models elsewhere as instructive but keeping in mind the societal norms, socioeconomic conditions and cultural landscape here in the US (in all their variations). Not very easy to be sure, although there are successful models here now, some in the form of charter schools and some in the form of public schools that have made radical changes.

One thing I learned from this friend's note and then it was reinforced here that while the school day tends to be shorter in the US, teachers actually spend more time teaching in the US than in other countries. And it seems how US teachers get shortchanged by this difference (to the detriment of all) is professional development, on a daily basis (colleague interaction, prep time) and over the course of the year (workshops over a certain amount of hours).

From a personal perspective, the school district here is supposedly good but I find it to be uninspiring and hell bent on producing corporate culture consumers, more interested in individual achievements than being an integrated member of an interconnected world. Despite this, my kids have had some amazing teachers over the years. They have also had some clunkers who couldn't inspire a fire from a tinderbox.

Yes, parents who don't discipline are a problem... one of the drawbacks of an ever expanding free society. We could allow the state to raise them to be model citizens but now we're talking a Brave New World situation (of course middle ground would be nice).

In the end the gov't can make all of the changes they want but how will they be funded, kind of like NCLB. *Sigh* it's like that old saying "it will be a great day when schools get all the money they need, and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 6, 2010 2:38 pm

The children in my school show up late for school on a regular basis. However once they are there it is tough getting them to leave school grounds at the end of the day. Perhaps student teachers could come in and teach students throughout the year from 2 pm -4:04 pm. Teachers would still have to be present but could be spending the time prepping for their next day or week of lessons during those two hours. This would be a good move and not burn out the teachers. Plus it would give student teachers more time in an actual classroom over the course of a whole year. (they could still put in their two weeks of whole day instuction as well). Perhaps on weeks where we only have a few days of school (thanksgiving and winter break) we would not instill the longer day.

Submitted by kurt f. packer (not verified) on November 17, 2010 8:22 pm

i hate school already... what makes these ppl think i want to stay for any longer?

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on November 10, 2011 6:04 am

It's not a matter of what you want, it's a matter of you getting this far in your education and not knowing you need to capitalize the pronoun "I." Or the first letters in your first, last and middle names. Although I doubt at this point an extra hour a day would do much good.

An extended school day would be worthless unless it was structured - and should not include doing homework, which is called "homework" for a reason.

Submitted by Bill (not verified) on November 30, 2010 6:50 pm

I think "home Work" is a huge issue. When I went to grade school and high school I had to carry every book I had back and forth to school every day, because I had home work to do every evening. I see these kids coming home from school with empty school bags all the time, but they have a basketball or football under their arm. What the hell is that all about Bill

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 30, 2011 3:04 pm

That's because even though they do have homework, they just don't do it. Kids get tons of homework, it's just a matter of whether or not they do it. Homework amount has increased a lot over the years and another reason they might not be carrying books is because most textbooks are online now.

Submitted by High School Student (not verified) on December 13, 2010 10:10 am

I honestly think that they should lessen school hours and get better teachers. School is long enough already. If it got any longer I would just give up. They are already shortening christmas break so I don't have my first day off until the 24th. I'm already tired of the first semester so I'm getting not as good grades as I did at the beginning. If school was shorter and more fit for the student individually then we would be getting better grades.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 13, 2011 8:57 pm

Better yet, lessen school hours and get better students. Score will surely rise after that! : p

Submitted by Teacher in the trenches (not verified) on January 14, 2011 7:05 am

I do not think there are "better students". We have the best kids hte parents can send us - the problem in my opinion is that there are too many of them at once. We need smaller class sizes - 16 is a great number.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 13, 2011 1:58 pm

i need more time to sleep i get 7 hours of sleep and have a 9 hour school day then i have to go on the bus ride and im the last stop i get home at 4:00PM and go to school at 6:00AM

Submitted by A Student (not verified) on February 9, 2011 6:09 pm

It's kind of like that for me, too. Our school makes us go one the bus with the high schoolers even thougt were only middle schoolers. My parents make me go to bed at 9:00 and I have to get up at 5:35 to get ready for school so I can catch the bus by 6:55 and empty the dishwasher. Then I get to school 15 minutes before we start school at 7:15 so I have to sit in the stupid cafeteria for a while. Then I have school till 2:25 and get home around 3:00. Then I spend the rest of my night running around with after school activities, instrument lessons, sports, and homework!!!!!! I do NOT need a longer school day!!!!! EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by A Student (not verified) on February 9, 2011 6:30 pm

I'm a student myself, and I agree with some of you. Making the school day longer is NOT going to solve the problems we have. We need to actually assess the way the students perform. During class I see kids who have trouble learning just being pushed through the system. One of my friends is really smart, but she needs things explained in great detail until she finally gets it. The teachers don't explain it to her, though, and at lunch I'm the one going through it to help her. What's with that? Even if we made it so that all the students went to a charter school, I don't think that would help. I'm ahead in my math courses at school and I have an online math course. Guess how much time I put into that? About 2 to 3 hours a night! I spend a lot of time writing down notes for it and going over my assignments with my dad. I mean, I have a period during school to work on it, but that's, what?, 40 minutes? That' just my math course, but what about my other courses. I spend practically my whole night working on homework and practicing my instruments. That doesn't include sports practices either. Now think if you made the school day longer, I would be bogged down with double homework! Now maybe other charter school courses our as intense as my math course, but still. One kid in my class was talking about how great it would be to go to a charter school because he would only be at "school" for 3 hours. I turned around and told him that was not true, that's how much time I spent alone on my math course.

Plus, after my lunch period, the kids in my classes are soooo restless. Half of us don't pay that much attention to the teacher because it's kind of boring, no offense intended. I know you teachers try to make it interesting and that it is really tough, but it's still kind of boring. At least, some of my teachers are. Anyway, in my afternoon classes the teachers have to fight for control of the class. Sometimes it works sometimes it's a mess. Prolonging the end of the day would make it worse and we wouldn't get anything done.

Forget prolonging the day. No matter what, find some other plan that will help!

Submitted by kirakenso (not verified) on February 16, 2011 9:27 am

you disgust me with the thought of a longer school day, why can't you just feel good with the time you selfishly steal from us kids. you should be lucky that we haven't went into full revolt with 7 hours, try to put more time in the school day and i will personaly bring you to hell

Submitted by A Student (not verified) on February 24, 2011 7:34 pm

Now, now.... That's not very nice...... :P :P

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 13, 2011 12:33 am

Thats RUDE

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 19, 2011 2:52 pm

First of all, "hell" is a bad word. Second of all, the school day is so that you can learn and have a good job. Do you want to be poor? No? STUDY!! Those teachers give up their time to teach you, numbskull. Your parents and pretty much everybody pay good money to send you to school. "Full revolt", my foot. You wouldn't make it out the door. INGRATE!

Submitted by BeardedKittens (not verified) on December 1, 2011 8:59 am

A highschool diploma does more sitting on a wall then it does getting you a job.

Submitted by Anonymous Laid Off Teacher (not verified) on September 16, 2011 12:03 am

I WISH you would. Try and "revolt" and see what happens. If you're old enough to TRY and "bring" someone to hell, you are old enough to get arrested. Stop the crazy talk and sit down somewhere.

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Submitted by Max F (not verified) on April 4, 2011 4:21 pm

So this is america...who would take a job that doesnt pay and requires nearly every waking moment just to be considered adequate? I wouldn't either. As a "gifted student" i cant tell you how frustrating it was knowing that the kids who struggled were treated the same as those who didn't. I could stay half a sentence ahead of what was being taught, and then have the same homework as the kids who needed extra help. What a farce/why would I want to excell if I cant do enough to not have homework. Certanly 'clocking out'/'punching out' is not a foreign concept in The USA
About a longer school day; My average school day
7:15am bus
8:35-3:35 school
3:35-~5:00-sports
~5:45pm Bus
~6:45pm arrive home
now given that that is aprox a 12 hour day and I am supposed to have atleast 2.5 hours of homework every evening that leaves 9.5 hours to be divided between: Dinner, 8 hours of sleep, shower(football,wrestling,lax...i can smell pretty bad after practice), seeing friends, or god forbid be able to have/pay any attention to a girlfriend. ONLY 16 WAKING HOURS TO DIVIDE BETWEEN: HYGENE, COMMUTES, WORK(~8h), FOOD, FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FREE TIME. DO THE MATH
Let us lastly remember that regardless of how hard they work, how long they work, or how stressful their circumstances, not a single one of these 'adults in body' can come home from a long day and have a drink, have a smoke or have sex w/o getting flak for it. infact many get arrested for doing so. would you pay to work a 14.5 hour day w/ less rights?...neither would kids
A SOLUTION; set goals, frequent quizzing, homogenous skill classes, students > goals earn less/no homework(incentivize learning) (my grades largely suffered from not doing hw, not bad test scores)SCHOOL WAS BORING FOR ME BECAUSE IT WAS TOO EASY AND THE PACE TOO SLOW, SO I TAUGHT MYSELF NUCLEAR PHYSICS, THEORETICAL PHYICS, ENGINEERING, RELATIVITY, METEOROLOGY, AND PSYCHOLOGY TO VALIDATE MY INTELLIGENCE. I FAILED.
IF I COULD HAVE NO HW I WOULD TAKE A LONGER DAY, NET GAIN ATLEAST 90 MINUTES

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Submitted by Max F (not verified) on April 4, 2011 4:47 pm

....CAPPS LOCK BROKEN

Submitted by E.E. CUMMINGS (not verified) on April 4, 2011 6:23 pm

a capital offense, i'm afraid

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 19, 2011 2:14 pm

I can see that now. At first, I thought that you were excited.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 19, 2011 2:09 pm

Why don't we just offer classes in the summer. You know, electives? That way, kids could do after-school activities and they would not be tired. The teacher would not be burned out. Plus, there is the "free" child care during the summer.

Submitted by emilee (not verified) on May 22, 2011 2:42 pm

wow i never new so meny people felt so strongley about this. im on of those kids that know things but dont under stand them and i tell my teacher and ask if she can help me a pe time and shes like no thats my time to not be around kids and know in failing and i dont know what to do.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 27, 2011 12:44 pm

That's disgraceful. I beg my students to let me know when they don't understand - and rarely get a taker. If you were my student, I'd make sure you got whatever explanations you needed. Most teachers would.

I do think if the school day is extended, kids should have gym every day, at midday, or they won't be able to last through the day with any sort of focus.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 2:52 pm

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Submitted by Brittany Miller (not verified) on September 15, 2011 8:04 pm

kids these ages dont like school and obama trying to increase the hours in school thats bs back off obama

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 14, 2012 11:42 am
What do you expect when Barrack hires a Secretary of Education based on his hoops abilities, not any real teaching experience?
Submitted by Brittany Miller (not verified) on September 15, 2011 8:54 pm

kids these ages dont like school and obama trying to increase the hours in school thats bs back off obama

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on November 10, 2011 6:13 am

I don't know, if we could teach you about this thing called "punctuation," it might be worth it.

Sadly, the students who have posted here demonstrate the need for some sort of remedial program, possibly only for struggling students. But the district can't just tack on an extra hour without a very specific plan for how it would be used - and that should be decided by teachers, not politicians.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 30, 2011 3:03 pm

Are these people stupid?! Do they not remember what it was like to go to school for 7 hrs a day? I mean, seriously, that's almost a full time job and these are kids we're talking about. By the end of the day, kids are jumping out of their skins, I know because I still go to school. And to those people that talk about how kids actually agree that they should have a longer school day, that's completely a completely unusable reason because kids, when asked that question, think that the teacher wants to hear that. In elementary school, our class was asked the same exact question, and I said yes, we should have longer days, even though in my head I said no. I thought the teacher would like that answer, and I know lots of other kids did the same. And plus, more time in school does not correlate to smarter kids. Look at Finland, they're at the top of the world list for highest test scores in almost every subject and they only go to school 4 hrs a day! Shouldn't we be modeling our system after theirs?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 30, 2011 5:06 pm

Not unless you can guarantee that we'll have Finish children :)

Submitted by tavia (not verified) on October 5, 2011 5:58 am

i think kids should not have to go to school its so boring

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 27, 2011 12:25 pm

WE DON'T NEED LONGER SCHOOL DAYS! WE HAVE ENOUGH TIME WE NEED TO HAVE IT SHORTENED! WE HAVE A LIFE HERE!

Submitted by Dick Smith (not verified) on November 10, 2011 12:01 am

I think the students would enjoy if they could have the extra time to do homework at school with the teacher's help.

BUT THEY HATE SCHOOL SO PEOPLE WILL TAKE U TO HELL. IT WILL BE LIKE A LIBIA FULL OF CHILDREN

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 12, 2011 5:39 pm

i need more time to sleep i get 7 hours of sleep, must have breakfast and then do the dishes and have a 9 hour school day then i have to go on the bus ride and im the last stop i get home at 4:00PM and go to school at 6:00AM.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 12, 2011 5:33 pm

no, this shouldn'd be allowed.

Submitted by BeardedKittens (not verified) on December 1, 2011 8:51 am

I'm an 8th grader in New Brunswick, and I go to a local school in a rural area, the teachers are okay, but the students are extremely lazy and don't seem to care what they learn, for example, some girls and boys need my help to spell simply 5-6 letter words when they could get a dictionary.

I graduated from 6th grade in Halifax, Nova Scotia where the school curriculum was 90% better than it is here, even the curriculum in Fredericton, is still the same as it is here in the country, but the ignorance and violence is somewhat greater.

My point I suppose would be that it's not the amount of hours you put into your school system, it would be the amount of quality you have in it, i.e a Japanese student at age 14 is smarter than a highschooler in Math in science at least 10 fold here in New Brunswick and a few other provinces, and with the amount of students dropping out school turning the Canadian curriculum's into Japanese one's (Not saying we need to learn Japanese, just need to become smarter)
The average intelligence and the rate we are going downhill is scaring me that war will come soon, and everyone will be too stupid to anything about it.

Thank you for allowing me to state my thoughts.

Submitted by Steve567 (not verified) on January 12, 2012 1:59 am

Sadly, the students who have posted here demonstrate the need for some sort of remedial program, possibly only for struggling students. But the district can't just tack on an extra hour without a very specific plan for how it would be used - and that should be decided by teachers, not politicians. Herbal Incense

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2012 9:58 pm

NCLB: The Football Version
1. All teams must make the state playoffs and all MUST win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If after two years they have not won the championship, their footballs and equipment will be taken away UNTIL they do win the champions...hip.
2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or disabilities of themselves or their parents. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL!
3. Talented players will be asked to workout on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football,
have limited athletic ability or whose parents don't like football.
4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th game.
It will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind.
If parents do not like this new law, they are encouraged to vote for vouchers and support private schools that can screen out the non-athletes and prevent their children from having to go to school with bad football players.

Submitted by jaime acherman (not verified) on February 10, 2012 12:50 pm

I think kids should have less school time because children should have more exercise

Submitted by Anonymous lun (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:09 pm

I am a gifted student and I personally don't like going to school. I don't want to stay in school for another hour or day. I always have over a million things for homework and I would never do another day's homework. So I beg of you please don't add another day of school PLEASE!!!!!¡!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!¡

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Submitted by jamesferp (not verified) on March 19, 2012 8:02 am

Sadly, the students who have posted here demonstrate the need for some sort of remedial program, possibly only for struggling students. But the district can't just tack on an extra hour without a very specific plan for how it would be used - and that should be decided by teachers, not politicians. como emagrecer

Submitted by ManChild101 (not verified) on March 21, 2012 2:16 pm

It is the quality that really counts, not the quantity. The school year should be extneded, but also the "good" kids and the "bad" kids should be seperated to enrich the quality of the well-doing kids in school. We are spending too much time in trying to make better the troublesome kids. What we have to is forget about them, leave them to the OK teachers, and to the good teachers go the good students. We are at the back of the race of the "smart" race and we need to do something NOW!!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 11, 2012 9:44 pm

Yes so true but that doesn't happen remember no child left behind.

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Submitted by tom-104 on April 12, 2012 8:15 am

I find this attitude of abandoning "troublesome kids" to be totally repugnant. Children do not pick the circumstances they are born into. Nor is there such a thing as a "bad seed" which makes a child evil. Do you not see the correlation between a child born into a family that is economically stressed and behavior problems?

The problem is unemployment! It is a myth that education is going to solve our unemployment problem. That is a political and economic problem. But that does not mean that children should be penalized with inferior schools for being born into difficult circumstances!

The Bush administration exploited this understanding, even as they were cutting funding for education, with the Orwellian No Child Left Behind. The Obama administration doubled down even more with leaving thousands of children behind with Race to the Top for a select population.

What you are advocating is exactly what is being done with charters. No child should be left behind! Resources should be allocated for schools with a large population of students from low income families to help them overcome their circumstances.

Corbett has already adopted your attitude to "troublesome kids". He wants to build three more for profit prisons to exploit their labor when they are adults. Do you agree with him that urban education is a waste of money while building more for profit prisons is a good use of taxpayers money?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 11, 2012 9:28 pm

Im a kindergarten teacher and I have my kids from 7:45 till 4:00. It is ridiculous. Yeah we are a charter school whatever that means to you. I genuinely feel for my young students. By 11:00 they are done and I mean done. Who in their right mind would think a 5 year old has the capacity to be attentive for 8 hours. By the way they have a 25 minute lunch and one recess if I take them out. The longer day creates nothing but more behavior problems because it is not developmentally appropriate for 5-6 year olds to be in school for 8 hours. Put into the equation that some are on busses for an hour to get home and the breakfast and lunch they get at school is of poor quality at best. It breaks my heart to hear a kindergartener say "I hate school" WHAT are we doing to the children?

Submitted by Anonymouss (not verified) on April 23, 2012 3:05 pm

If school was shorter and more fit for the student individually then we would be getting better grades.break so I don't have my first day off until the 24th. I'm already tired of the first semester so I'm getting not as good grades as I did at the beginning. Seo Glasgow

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 14, 2012 2:24 am
Im a kindergarten teacher and I have my kids from 7:45 till 4:00. It is ridiculous. Yeah we are a charter school whatever that means to you. I genuinely feel for my young students. By 11:00 they are done and I mean done. Who in their right mind would think a 5 year old has the capacity to be attentive for 8 hours. By the way they have a 25 minute lunch and one recess if I take them out. The longer day creates nothing but more behavior problems because it is not developmentally appropriate for 5-6 year olds to be in school for 8 hours. Put into the equation that some are on busses for an hour to get home and the breakfast and lunch they get at school is of poor quality at best. It breaks my heart to hear a kindergartener say "I hate school" WHAT are we doing to the childrendeleted domains
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 14, 2012 10:20 am
But you continue to work under these conditions. Maybe if your staff banded together, and dare I say form a union, you wouldn't have these babies attending school at these ridiculous hours.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2013 3:58 pm
You all are wrong
Submitted by John Machinski (not verified) on August 18, 2013 11:13 am
The school day is long enough. Children can only concentrate for so long. It is more important for them to complete homework - especially with the advent of the Internet. What is needed is a longer school year and less vacation days during the year.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 2, 2013 1:37 pm
is it me of are these kids getting out of school early,i see kids walking the streets by 1:30.
Submitted by Timeforachange (not verified) on April 18, 2014 3:05 pm
The school district can't pay for enough of the needed supplies already, but they want to extend the day/year even longer? Where do they expect the extra supplies to come from? Oh yeah, after the teachers' pay is cut let's ask them to reach even deeper into their pockets to pay for them. Time to strike.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 21, 2014 4:36 pm
Stop the nonsense about a longer work day. The school day is fine. What districts need to seriously do is enforce code of conducts. Too much instructional time is wasted on students today since many have behavioral issues and spend too much time on the annoying cell phones they think they need to communicate on every second. Clutching the phone like it!s a piece of gold. If the behavioral of children was like it was years ago ,students would be more focused a and learn a lot more. I always hear the older generation state they they had many students in classrooms when they attended but will also tell you the kids were much more behaved,followed rules,did not contend with cell phones, and we're not as defiant,disrespectful as students nowadays.
Submitted by Hon non bo (not verified) on June 8, 2014 11:08 pm
lm a kindergarten teacher and I have my kids from 7:45 till 4:00. It is ridiculous. Yeah we are a charter school whatever that means to you. I genuinely feel for my young students. By 11:00 they are done and I mean done. Who in their right mind would think a 5 year old has the capacity to be attentive for 8 hours. By the way they have a 25 minute lunch and one recess if I take them out Tieu canh san vuon
Submitted by terry (not verified) on June 8, 2014 11:23 pm
he longer day creates nothing but more behavior problems because it is not developmentally appropriate for 5-6 year olds to be in school for 8 hours. Put into the equation that some are on busses for an hour to get home and the breakfast and lunch Tieu canh san vuon they get at school is of poor quality at best. It breaks my heart to hear a kindergartener say "I hate school" WHAT are we doing to the children?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2014 11:45 pm
hello ! Like so many proposals the devil is in the details. An additional hour spent on small group instruction for remediation or enrichment is one thing. (Many teachers already do this in one form or another.) Whole group instruction with the full burden of preparation and monitoring is quite another. Hon non bo
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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2014 3:28 am
Unemployment is a big problem, this is a very difficult problem, education is going to solve the problem of unemployment, which is a question of politics and the economy, but this does not mean that children should be educated in poor schools, even in the the current difficult circumstances. 
The Earlier government takes advantage of this understanding, even if they are cut education funding, still insist on No Child Left Behind Obama administration has increased the investment, but it did not do better on the earlier government.  Glen at work
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