Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Opinion on Changing the Length of School Time

I saw this article today on Twitter: and it intrigued me.  I currently teach at a year-round school and went to a 9 month school so I have seen to a certain extent both sides of the coin.  Honestly though, I don't know if one or the other is the best.

Advantages to the year-round school that I see:

  • Students won't forget everything over a long holiday so review can be a bit smaller
  • Students can learn more at their own pace, which is what I like about the way our school does year-round school.  By not having to worry about getting done in 180 days, slower students can really learn the material that they struggle with
Disadvantages to year-round school that I see:
  • Students and teachers can burn out rather quickly without breaks.  Breaks would need to be lengthy to avoid that.
  • Professional development opportunities would need to be provided for teachers.  Often, at least for history teachers there are trips and many conferences provided over the summer to save teachers from having to get subs. I have never been to one of these with my current job.
  • The article mentions that some places have changed to year round school and went back, mostly because of parent complaints.  One of the things that I have noticed with this is that a junior high will switch but the elementary school and high school won't (or some combination).  However, parents want to take family vacations but their children are all not on the same schedule.  So if a decision is made, it needs to be done in all three areas to get parents on board more.
FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2011 file photo, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, right, visits with Brandy Toliver, left, and Mariah Neyland, in their first-grade class at the CICS Washington Park School on Chicago's South Side. The Chicago Public Schools extended the school day from 5 hours and 45 minutes to 7 hours in 2012 after a heated offensive by parents. Emanuel, a proponent of longer school days, had originally proposed a 7 1/2-hour school stay, but adjusted his proposal after discussions with parents, some of whom had been critical of the original plan. Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast
Chicago under Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has recently increased
Chicago public school hours from 5 hrs and 45 mins to 7 hrs
In addition, the article also discusses about making school days longer, even if just by a little bit.  I think that might be where to start if we insist upon adding more school time because it does not prevent current plans.  Also, it might not be a bad idea to consider having this extra hour for working with students in certain areas that they are struggle and for enrichment for those that are not.  Though I caution schools to not make this a "free hour" because students will do everything that they can to get out of going. 

Add your ideas to the subject...what do you think should be done, if anything?

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