Will Longer School Days Help Students? Only Time Will Tell

Five states are adding over 300 hours of learning time to their school calendars. Will this decision hurt or help students?

On Monday, school officials from five states announced their decision to add 300 hours of learning time to the 2013 school calendar.

The increase will affect 20,000 students at 40 schools in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee.

The hopes of the schools' officials are that the added learning hours will significantly improve academic performance by providing students with more time to participate in art, music, and gym. They also anticipate the extra time will help students reinforce their math and science skills.

Will this be the case? Or will it totally backfire?

In anticipation of the new longer school days, experts, parents, and students have voiced their approval and disapproval of the changes taking place.

Arguments FOR Longer School Days:

Students say they aren't too upset over the longer school days. They view it as more time to spend with their friends.

Teachers approve because they feel that the current system does not allow for enough time to teach all the required material. With the added hours, teachers feel they can cover the curriculum in its entirety while having enough time to help students with the material along the way.

Parents are hopeful that the extra learning time will be good for their children's success.

Arguments AGAINST Longer School Days:

Some students find school to be too long as it is, and they stop paying attention shortly after lunchtime. Adding more hours will only aggravate and burn students out more.

Teachers already feel as though they receive unfair compensation for all their responsibilities. With the increase in work hours, they are weary this will be another strike against their tolerance to underpaid work.

Many parents don't appreciate the reduced time with their children. They also feel there are valuable things that children can't learn in school, and staying at school longer keeps them from that type of learning.

What the Experts Are Saying:

There are educational experts on both sides of the fence. Some say the studies showing improved academic performance from longer school days are too mixed to justify a change, while others are certain the changes will positively influence the future of education in the U.S.

Some experts such as Elena Silva, the senior associate at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, hopes that people don't focus too greatly on the time factor. She wants everyone to understand that it's not only about how much time students spend in school, but what they are doing during that time.

This decision could spark a slew of similar changes across the country and fundamentally affect how students are educated. But only time will tell if these changes will have a positive or negative impact on the way our children learn.

If your state has yet to up their school hours, but you're interested in getting your child some extra academic help, visit Noodle's "Find a Tutor" page to find the best match for your child's learning style.


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