Schools Should Consider Extending Teaching Days Instead of Cutting Them

As many communities losing revenue cut back the number of days students are in school, its a good time to consider what a short-sighted policy that is.

Failing to give our children the kind of education that foreign children now receive will reduce their ability to compete in a world economy. Children from poorer families will be hurt the most.

Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a former assistant secretary at the Department of Education, made a compelling case this weekend in the Wall Street Journal for extending our school weeks to include Saturdays, instead of cutting back.

Finn sites statistics showing that Chinese children go to school 220 days a year, schools in Singapore operate 40 weeks a year, Saturday classes are the norm in Korea and other Asian countries.

Japan, which in the 1990s ended Saturday morning classes, are rethinking that move, he wrote.

No wonder children from these countries outscore our children in international math and science tests.

And, Finn pointed out, that many of the successful charter schools in the country, are able to report tremendous improvement with inner-city children because they have many more days a year and more hours a day in classes.

Finally, Finn notes that children forget much of what they learn by the time they return from 10 weeks or more of summer vacation.

Some teachers will probably resent this idea. My wife, who as a second career is studying to be a teacher for foreign born students, would have to work those longer hours. But knowing how devoted she is to learning and helping children succeed. I know she won’t mind.

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2 Comments on "Schools Should Consider Extending Teaching Days Instead of Cutting Them"

  1. Teachers have become prima donnas and hide behind binding arbitration in the State of Connecticut. I honestly don’t see this happening, although I do agree that it should be done.

    • You’re right. I have been a private school teacher for nine years, the past seven for students with learning disabilities. I am, however, only eligible to waive the student teaching part of the requirements to get certified, not the class requirements (lesson planning, classroom management, special education, etc.). I think there are a number of people out there who are immensely qualified to teach in the public school systems that cannot get certified without taking 6-months to 2 years off for classes and the like. CT has extremely difficult certification requirements, but I feel that the quality of the education that our students get can be increased immensely by adding to the teaching pool as well as revamping our views on the school day and school year, which were based on an agrarian society, not our industrialized one.

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