Extending the school year for everybody a ‘really bad idea’

July 9 was the first day of school for 26,000 students in North Carolina’s Wake County Schools on a year-round calendar. But year-round schools, which were once considered options to improve student performance and reduce classroom overcrowding, have proven to be a mixed bag, the Huffington Post reports. Some school districts that have adopted the extended calendars, like Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, have turned back to traditional academic calendars. Extended school year supporters believe that it keeps kids from falling behind academically by avoiding summer slump, and keeps troubled kids off the streets. Research has also shown that students in high-needs districts and students with special needs tend to do better in schools with extended calendars. But that doesn’t apply to everyone, Rick Hess, director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute, tells Fox News.

“I think extending the school year for everybody would be a really bad idea,” he said Tuesday. “We want to extend the school year for kids for whom it would benefit them and for kids who are attending schools where we’re confident the time’s going be used well and it’s going to be used effectively.”

Click here for the full story…Read More

Debate: Do schools need a longer school day?

A policy brief released last month concluded that contrary to popular perception, most U.S. public schools require at least as much or even more instructional time for students than countries touted for their high performance on international tests, including Finland, Japan and South Korea, says columnist Valerie Strauss for the Washington Post. There were a lot of caveats in the report but the thrust of the brief was that calls for a longer instructional day for children in the United States to match what students in other countries get may be misguided. I wrote about the brief and a short time after that posted a piece that referred to that brief and addressed the importance of strong afterschool programs, written by Jodi Grant, executive director of the nonprofit Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs. In that piece she wrote, “I’ve spent the past two years fighting efforts to divert federal support for already underfunded afterschool programs to instead provide a small number of failing schools with money to add an hour or two to their school day.”

Click here for the full story

…Read More