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The Eight-Hour School Day

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Would this be a good thing for our kids?

  	 Bored Looking Schoolboy Sitting at a Table and Resting His Head on a Exercise Book

Jennifer Davis thinks your kids should be in school longer. Way longer.

She is president and CEO of the National Center on Time and Learning, an organization that describes itself as "dedicated to expanding learning time to improve student achievement and enable a well-rounded education for all children."

Ms. Davis tells the Wall Street Journal that under her organization's scenario, children would be happier because they would have more time to learn, teachers would be able to devote more time for enrichment programs that go beyond standardized tests, and parents -- especially those from lower-income families -- would be reassured their children are safe in a learning environment.

(Plus, just think about how much money you'd spend on after-care.)

25 comments so far | Post a comment now
AK Mom October 21, 2008, 4:27 PM

YES YES YES!!! As long as longer days means actual education with teachers and not just study hall type classes or play groups. With longer school hours our kids could spend more time on each subject AND they would have time to study a variety of new subjects. We could also add more support programs for kids who need extra help and tutoring. This would help many families who have a tough time paying for after/pre-school care. Longer school days will also help give our kids a competitive edge when competing for jobs in our growing global market.

geen October 21, 2008, 4:32 PM

I agree, kids in the usa are behind other children across the world.

Uly October 21, 2008, 9:04 PM

Sure - if there’s more time for recess in the longer school day.

Children learn better when they have frequent breaks to run around. 15 minutes recess a day is *not* enough.

Crystal  October 21, 2008, 9:54 PM

NO Way! Most parents don’t see their kids enough as it is! I think alot of children wouldn’t have the attention span to be in school that long.

JoLynn October 21, 2008, 11:01 PM

My kids are already in school for 7 hours a day (8am - 3pm not counting the 45 minute bus ride to and from school). They come home with a backpack full of homework that takes them sometimes 2 hours to do. By the time we have dinner, baths, and family time, it’s time for bed.

If they extended the school day, this would mean less family time, and grumpier, tired kids!

My 7 year old gets exhausted, and (agreeing with Crystal), I know my daughter doesn’t have the attention span to sit longer than what she already does.

Kara October 22, 2008, 12:07 AM

I think that this is a good idea as long as the children have a long recess (my sons school did away with recess several years ago), at least one short break to include a healthy snack and some time to spend on homework. If they had those things I think it would be great. It is true, teachers are not teaching anymore, they are training kids to pass tests and it is a shame because my son has had some wonderful teachers that have a lot to give these kids but their hands are tied. The public school system is a mess!

Dorothy October 22, 2008, 7:23 AM

This is a bad idea. In the long run the children will get overworked and will not do as well as they would if they would have time to regroup and do homework at home after a break from the school day.
They might even fall asleep in class more as most get up at the break of dawn and kids need rest. They need a time to wind down after a long day with a snack to bring their energy levels back up.
Eight hours a day at school, the bus ride to and fro… That is like a 10 1/2 hour day to most. The whole situation sounds a bit too much for the average child.

Sharon October 22, 2008, 8:29 AM

The only way I would think this may be a good idea is in High School, definitely not for elementary school.
I understand that it would be helpful to working parents that work the same hours but I would rather have schools actually teach facts during their time with the kids and not extend the day. When they get to High School then that would be more preperation for the real world/ job, though a LOT of HS kids already have jobs, and other activities they should be allowed to pursue because (as I tell my kids) you’re only a kid once, enjoy it while you can, you don’t get to go back.

Anonymous October 22, 2008, 9:08 AM

I think that’s a great idea. Kids should spend more time really learning. Our country needs this. We are falling behind other countries in math, science and technology. We make to many excuses for what our kids get tired of doing. Please, they can play ps3 for hours straight, talk on the phone, stir up controversey on myspace and spend hours on athletics. We should devote the same time and energy towards their education.

When we limit our children’s ability to learn we limit our future.

I’m all for it.

Rose October 22, 2008, 9:13 AM

Longer school days would be a disaster! If possible, parents should be responsible for their children’s education! Now I know many of you are already ticked off. I have done a few; home school, public and private. The first (home school) being the most rewarding for both parent and child. I cannot go into detail, as in politics everyone has their own opinion, but many studies by example prove too much homework, not enough play, peer pressure, etc., etc., is what hinders US education. Please do not crucify me; I’ve seen the results first hand.

birdsfly October 22, 2008, 9:40 AM

Maybe with the longer day they would be able to learn at school, not just cover a subject for 10 mins and then assign a 2 hour homework assignment.

Lesa G October 22, 2008, 10:18 AM

I think this would be great. The schools would be able to offer art, music and PE, and the leasons could be more involved.

Wendi October 22, 2008, 2:02 PM

I think that longer days are not what they need especially in the younger years. I do think that there needs to be a cut back on how many days the kids have off throughout the year. Also, here in Tucson, there is a thing called early out days. And that is EVERY Wednesday they get out and hour earlier than the other days. I have been told this is so teachers can have meetings and such. There are also extra days off for teacher grading days. All these things should be done in addition to the normal school hours. By taking extra time and days off the kids are loosing out. When I was younger these things were not done at all.

I also believe that year round school would be better than longer days. The time they have off for summer is way to long. There is a school district that is right next to ours and I only wish that I could get my kids there BECAUSE they have the year round school. The kids do so much better. They do not forget things and there are still breaks throughout the year so they are not always in school. I really believe that all children would benefit from it.

AK teacher October 22, 2008, 3:29 PM

I don’t think 8 hour days for school are the answer. The parents would love it - free daycare! If I pay for daycare so that I can teach your children, why should I be away from my own family 2-3 more hours a day to make it “easier for working parents”? Hello, MANY teachers are working parents too…. I don’t think that the kids would be able to focus and pay attention that long, many cannot do it now, so add 2 more hours?? And homework gets done at HOME. Why would districts pay their teachers to stay at school so the kids could get homework done? Again, to help out working parents? Come on!!

Renee October 22, 2008, 3:34 PM

An eight hour day would mean letting school out at 4:00. After bussing and chilling for a few minutes, it would be neary dinner time. What if they have after school lessons? Not to mention homework and baths. So where does family time fit into the picture? Let children be children for crying out loud. They can work an eight hour day when they are grownups.

Angie October 23, 2008, 10:01 PM

I am a teacher and the students do not need a longer school day! If a teacher/school is doing their job, there is adequate time to get everything in. Some schools already offer after school tutoring and other after school enrichment programs. The teachers already stay after school working until 7:00 at night and on weekends just to get everything done. We are not totally responsible for your kids. If you have them, you should help raise them.

kurt January 23, 2009, 2:27 PM

We have school on 50% of the days of the year. Yet we have elementary “Grade level” expectations based on a brain’s natural one year growth abilities. Parents need to except responsibiity on the other 50% of the days. To reach a years objectives, elementary teachers have had to cut something. Daily practice and review to monotor and increase math and reading fluency levels have been cut. Children loose 20-25% of these fluency levels over each summer. Parents and grandparents can not only prevent the loss but increase the fluency levels at home with ten minutes math workouts and by just having their chilren read. Our education problems are not created at school, they are created at home. They can and should also be solved at home. Face it. We would rather lay blame on our schools than give OUR children the support at home that they need.

Korie January 26, 2009, 5:46 PM

HEY KIDS SHOULD HAVE A SAY! longer school days? are you serious?! What if the poor kids are tired and getting up earlier prevents more sleep and don’t we want that? i think it should stay the same i know many kids that are doing very well in school.

FLORENCE February 25, 2009, 2:08 PM



Robbin February 25, 2009, 2:44 PM

I think that this has great potential. Expand the day and the class time to include a time in each class to complete homework and let’s call it classwork and the teacher can then be the one to answer all the questions and actually teach the child rather than the parents in 2 hour study sessions at home. Let school actually have a learning environment. The students could actually go to school from 8-5 just like a regular work day. They could have 3o minutes for lunch, two 15 minute breaks. That is a 9 hour day with 1 hour for breaks so 8 hours for school. Then the children would rarely bring home work to do and then your family time is actually family time. So in the end you lose nothing. And the children gain not having parents frustrated after work trying to teach, cook and get kids to bed you can actually have good quality time. Not to mention the abiblity to raise our standards of teaching.

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