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Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Longer School Days?
I listen to NPR on the way to work every morning, and I heard a particularly interesting story this morning. I don't have kids, so I thought I throw this one out there for all you parents.

Here's the headline from NPR's website:

Massachusetts Schools Try Out Longer Days
by Anthony Brooks
Morning Edition, October 26, 2005 · Massachusetts is the first state giving out grants to school districts to pursue a longer school day -- and 20 districts have applied for the money. Murphy Middle School in Boston is already experimenting with a longer day, offering help with homework and extra curriculum until late in the evening.

So the crux of the story is that the kids would be going to school (some already are) until 6 p.m., but they could take part in the following: tutoring, reading and math classes, dance classes, piano and violin lessons, sports and foreign language classes such as French and Japanese. Most of the kids who are currently participating are from low income families, but earn some of the highest reading scores in the city.

One argument for the longer school day is that there isn't enough time in a regular 6 hour school day to prepare children for the newer, harder standardized testing. Another argument is that school calendars in the U.S. are based on an agrarian calendar when only about 2% of the population are "engaged in the agriculture".

I'm not sure how I feel about it. I sure had fun coming home from school and playing outside or watching TV, but I wonder how I might be different now had I gone to school until 6 every evening. I certainly would have been more prepared for working a 9-5 job, and I might have ended up with better skills as an adult. I might even be truly bilingual now if I had been immersed in another language from the time I was in elementary school. Who knows?

What do you think?


Blogger Lucky Lum said...

Shit that sounds like a horrible idea coming from a teacher's stand point! The better pay more!
but on the otherside, it does give some kids more opportunities like being able to take dancing, extra math, or a musical instrument... that might be the only place they would ever be able to do those things.

Blogger Isabel said...

Hum...when I was in high school we were on the "A/B day" program. Which meant we had 8 classes. Periods 1-4 on A day and 5-8 on B day. We had LONG classes. But you know what, I LOVED it (as did all the other kids). The teachers were really good about keeping the longer classes entertaining. And those classes you loved (hello Graphic Arts and Art History), you could enjoy even longer.

So, my initial thought is that it might be a good thing for the kids. Especially if they really could do some cool classes.

Blogger Melissa2Kidz said...

I don't know how I'd feel about that. I think i'd feel like I wasn't spending enough time with my kids.

Blogger Rhonda said...

Hmmm...I have mixed feelings. It sounds like there might be good opportunities for the kids, but it also sounds like just another way for parents to get by without actually raising their children.

Blogger Newmomin05 said...

To me it sounds like a way to help lower income families get free day care after school. If their parents can't be with them until 6 anyway, they might as well be learning and doing things that are constructive and supervised than just being alone with their siblings until their parents come home.
At the same time I would hope it wasn't mandatory. If some people want to be home with their kids after school they should be able to do that too.

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