Longer School Days

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American today tends to believe that our educational system is working. I truly believe for this generation of students to remain competitive with their international peers as adults, they need to start spending more time in school. I am an advocate for longer school days. In fact at 180 days of school, American children spend the least amount time in the classroom when compared to other countries. Sure there are some undeniable hurdles, but overall the core idea is simple that children need enough time to learn, to build the skills, develop the knowledge and well-roundedness required to work and thrive in the twenty-first century.

Nothing considered by itself is enough to turn schools around not the most gifted teachers, most inspiring principals, newest buildings, or most up-to-date equipment. Time, on the other hand, is an imperative groundwork for new levels of student achievement and educational success. Like any precious resource, it can be wasted. Simply tacking extra time poorly spent onto the current school schedule, does not get the job done.

An article from CNN.com reports that the public charter schools that belong to the well-known Knowledge Is Power Program or KIPP serving fourteen thousand overwhelmingly low-income (80 percent) African American and Latino (90 percent) students in seventeen states with concentrations in Houston, Texas decided to eliminate the lack of time as an excuse for failure. KIPP day at 7:30 a.m. and ending it at 5 p.m., with Saturday school twice a month and at least three weeks of mandatory summer school. By every measure national, statewide, and local KIPP students not only improve themselves, they also outperform the great majority of their peers. 90 percent of KIPP Houston High School tenth graders passed the Texas statewide math exam, as compared to 49 percent of other Houston tenth graders. Nearly four-fifths of students who complete KIPP's eighth grade (the network consists mostly of middle schools) have entered...
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