Jay Matthews in WaPo: Let's Have a 9 Hour School Day
Why? Why tack three more hours onto a school day when a portion of the six hours kids already attend is filled with fluff and filler? What could possibly be accomplished in three more hours besides making kids tired, bored and more anti-school then they already are?
Three extra hours of study every day added up fast. It produced hundreds of confident young scholars in an inner city school where such people are not often found. (Schools in affluent neighborhoods do not face the same pressure to extend the school day because their students often have parents who insist they do their homework, no matter how long it takes.)
Oh, I see. It's another one of these "social good" programs. Our kids will have to spend three more hours a day stuffed in a classroom, cutting into family and physical activity time, because people in certain neighborhoods don't have control over their children, or don't care.
Sorry, I'm not buying it. This amounts to three more hours of babysitting per day for people who don't want to take the time to make sure their kids are learning the skills they need to get by in life.
I barely have enough quality time with my children during the school year as it is. Between homework and projects, baseball and clubs (and my kids are only allowed to do one sport/club at a time), I think there's an hour free on weeknights for us to do anything together that's not school related.
In my eyes, that time together is far more important than anything they will teach my children in added school hours. Look at this:
They were doing a terrible job as Houston elementary school teachers but discovered that if they extended their teaching time, and mixed in some after-school motivators such as visits to the local Boys' and Girls' Club, student achievement improved dramatically. That inspired the KIPP school day, which starts at 7:30 or 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., plus some Saturday morning sessions and required summer school.
What happened to letting kids be kids? There will be enough time after high school and/or college is over for these children to have a nine hour, year round workday. Saturday mornings? Sorry. That's OUR time. That's baseball time. That's sitting around in our pajamas, watching cartoons and enjoying each other's company time. That's getting in the car and driving to the beach or a museum time.