To improve learning, some schools lengthen the school day or year

It’s a July morning at 6:45 a.m. and the temperature is starting to climb across the city, according to The Hechinger Report. Most schoolchildren would expect to have at least a few more weeks of summer. But Quincy Lindsey, a fifth-grader at New Orleans’ ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy, is trying to wake up for his first day of school. His mother, Calanthia Lindsey, tries to keep Quincy on pace to make it to school by 7:15 a.m., reminding him not to use his pencils as drumsticks and to tuck in his shirt. ReNEW is one of hundreds of schools nationwide that are adding time to the school year—lengthening school days, requiring Saturday classes or shortening summer. Calanthia Lindsey hopes more time in the classroom will help Quincy stay motivated…

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Why our nation needs common standards

Shane Cockrell’s father was in the military, and the family moved a lot when he was growing up, reports The Hechinger Report. Cockrell specifically recalls starting middle school in Connecticut, and then enrolling in a middle school in South Carolina when the family moved. The decline in standards was shocking. “My mom was so appalled by the difference that she ended up pulling me out of public school,” Cockrell recalls. Now, Cockrell is himself a former member of the military with a family, and he can understand his mother’s frustration. His son was in an excellent accelerated program in Springfield, Mo., but when the family moved to Oklahoma, the “accelerated program” Cockrell had researched turned out to consist of occasional library visits…

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No Hollywood ending for real-life ‘Won’t Back Down’ school

Doreen Diaz left the red carpet movie premiere of “Won’t Back Down” in New York City last week feeling encouraged, says the Hechinger Report. But then the 47-year-old mom, a figure in the unfolding education movement that “inspired” the feature film, headed back to the tiny desert city of Adelanto, Calif., and her tract home near Desert Trails Elementary School. That’s where the real battle over the so-called “parent trigger” law drags on, with no tidy Hollywood ending in sight.

“The movie makes it look a lot easier than it really is,” said Diaz, who started drumming up support to overhaul her local public school more than a year ago. “It definitely didn’t happen by just one mom wanting change.”

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