Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obama proposes extending school year

President Obama this week proposed that U.S. schools extend their school years in an effort to remain competitive with their international peers. "American children spend the least amount time in the classroom when compared to other countries," Brandi Koskie of Edu In Review reports. "Currently, the school year length in the States is 180 days. Advocates are pushing further toward a 200-day school year, which would align with Thailand, Scotland and the Netherlands, and leave us a close second with Israel, South Korea and Japan, who leads with a 243-day school year." (Edu In Review chart)

"We can no longer afford an academic calendar designed when America was a nation of farmers who needed their children at home plowing the land at the end of each day," Obama said. "That calendar may have once made sense, but today, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage. Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea. That is no way to prepare them for a 21st century economy." Obama advocated districts extend the school year by either spending more time in class per day or shortening summer break. (Read more)

"There is far from conclusive proof that longer school years produce better students. No doubt, the studies say, some poorer performing students would benefit. But not all would," Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute reports in "Al's Morning Meeting." Tompkins points to a 2009 briefing paper from the Center for Education Policy that notes "extending the school day could be more beneficial than extending the school year." (Read more)

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