More schools trying longer school years

6 Aug

In Good schools are relentless about basics: School day length, moi said:

Rosalind Rossi, education reporter for the Chicago Sun Times is reporting in the article, 2011 Illinois school report cards: Top schools have longer days.

The 10 highest-ranking suburban neighborhood elementary schools all have longer days for kids than the typical Chicago public school — but shorter ones than those advocated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city public school officials.

Chicago’s current typical 5-hour and 45-minute elementary school day — usually without a regular recess — looks paltry compared to a top-scoring 2011 suburban average of just under 6½ hours that includes daily recess, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis indicates.

However, Chicago’s proposed 7½-hour day would keep city elementary kids in school an hour more than their top-scoring suburban counterparts. Such a day is appealing even to some suburban parents.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/8452309-418/2011-illinois-school-report-cards-top-schools-have-longer-days.html

The Mid Continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel) has great information posted at its site about school day length.

According to McRel in the article, Extended School Days and School Years:

Does more time in school matter?

Several scholars have argued that simply extending school time in and of itself will not produce the desired results. Larry Cuban, a Stanford University professor of education, has argued for example that what matters most is not the quantity but the quality of time students and teachers spend together in the classroom (2008).

In our 2000 meta-analysis of the impact of school, teacher, and student-level variables on achievement, McREL concluded that student achievement can be strongly affected if schools optimize their use of instructional time.

In 1998 WestEd researchers Aronson et al. examined the research on time and learning and arrived at three conclusions:

  • There is little or no relationship between student achievement and the total number of days or hours students are required to attend school.

  • There is some relationship between achievement and engaged time, that subset of instructional time when students are participating in learning activities.

  • The strongest relationship exists between academic learning time and achievement.

However, in recent years some notable extended time initiatives have produced gains in test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance, including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which increases the amount of time students spend in school by nearly 60%, and Massachusetts 2020. Conversely, a $100 million effort in Miami to extend school days by one hour and add 10 days to the calendar produced no significant benefits.

http://www.mcrel.org/newsroom/hottopicExtendedTime.asp

The key seems to be longer time spent in instructional activities.                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/good-schools-are-relentless-about-basics-school-day-length/

Motoko Rich has a great article in the New York Times, To Increase Learning Time, Some Schools Add Days to Academic Year:

Griffith, one of five schools in the Balsz Elementary School District here, is one of a handful of public schools across the country that has lengthened the school year in an effort to increase learning time.

A typical public school calendar is 180 days, but the Balsz district, where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, is in session for 200 days, adding about a month to the academic year.

According to the National Center on Time and Learning, a nonprofit research group in Boston, about 170 schools — more than 140 of them charter schools — across the country have extended their calendars in recent years to 190 days or longer. ..

Education advocates have been calling for more school time at least since the 1983 “Nation at Risk” report presented an apocalyptic vision of American education.

Teachers’ unions, parents who want to preserve summers for family vacations and those who worry that children already come under too much academic stress argue that extended school time is not the answer. Research on longer school days or years also shows mixed results.

But studies also show that during the summer break, students — particularly those from low-income families — tend to forget what they learned in the school year. Getting back to school early, supporters of a longer calendar say, is one of the best ways to narrow an achievement gap between rich and poor students.

Many charter schools, including those in the academically successful KIPP network, attribute their achievement in part to longer days and calendars. President Obama has repeatedly promoted expanded school time, even inspiring “Saturday Night Live” to poke fun, with Seth Meyers saying in his Weekend Update segment that only “Catherine, the fifth grader nobody likes,” would support such a proposal.

Within the last two years, both the Ford Foundation and the Wallace Foundation have made multimillion dollar commitments to help nonprofit groups work with school districts to restructure the school day and year.

Advocates of longer school years say that the 180-day school year is an outdated artifact….

Critics say that with so many schools already failing, giving them more time would do little to help students.

It is true that we have an unfair society, and it is true that kids who are coming from the poorer backgrounds and whose parents don’t do a lot of reading are losing reading skills over the summer,” said Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College. “But let’s look at other solutions.” He added, “Whatever job we give to the school system, they ruin it….”

Better is as important as the more,” said Jeannie Oakes, director of educational opportunity and scholarship programs at the Ford Foundation. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/education/some-schools-adopting-longer-years-to-improve-learning.html?emc=eta1

See, Should summer break be shorter for some children? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/should-summer-break-be-shorter-for-some-children/

There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to education. For children who need a longer school year, that extra time should be available.

Resources:

Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen , Time for School?Education Next, Winter 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 1                                                                                     http://educationnext.org/time-for-school/

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on School Day’s Length video … http://video.answers.com/education-secretary-arne-duncan-on-school-days-length-516897086

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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