President Obama is talking about a longer school year and adding more hours to the school day. How will a longer academic year affect children and families, or for that matter Obama’s popularity rate?

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The President is in favor of longer school days and/or adding hours onto the school day. He believes that “the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan told The Associated Press in a recent interview,

“Our school calendar is based upon the agrarian economy and not too many of our kids are working the fields today.”

Brooking Institution’s research shows that in countries that added even ten minutes of math instructional time, scores rose significantly. Researcher Tom Loveless explains,

“Ten minutes sounds trivial to a school day, but don’t forget, these math periods in the U.S. average 45 minutes. Percentage-wise, that’s a pretty healthy increase.”

As a graduate of the College of Education, who has spent three internships teaching, I have to say I absolutely agree. Adding more hours onto the day would allow students to have more time to eat, exercise in P.E. or recess, and allow teachers to take more time explaining concepts, which are often rushed through due to time constraints. Even if the additional time were used for homework help, extra study time, or a free time slot to work on school stuff, it would be beneficial.

Similarly, adding extra days onto the school year would allow more time for these things. As someone who has planned for countless hours trying to squeeze everything in before standardized testing, I can tell you that extra time would greatly benefit most students and teachers. The lessons would become more content rich and allow for multiple learning styles to be incorporated.

The county I am in has almost two and a half months of summer vacation. As someone who also grew up here, I can tell you as a student, I was ready for school to start long before it actually did. By the time summer vacation is half way through, you have seen and done everything – including the fun family trips – and life just gets down right boring.

I have read comments on this topic from various sites, saying it is not about time, it is about adequate teaching and ensuring we have effective teachers and administrators.

The way I see it, everyone wants to complain, but no one wants to do anything about it. They want to blame the teachers, the system, even the “bad seeds” but no one wants to do anything about it. Well, complaining isn’t reducing our drop out rates or giving students the building blocks and educational confidence they need to become a college graduate.

Now I’ll admit, there are additional problems with the educational system, but we have to start somewhere.

Feel free to leave me your comments in the section below.

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