Would Longer School Days & Shorter Vacations Benefit Our Youth?

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I ran across a NY Times article asking this question, I have been advocating this for years with little or no success. Our school schedule is based on the farming year, the kids had to be available to help with the crops during the evenings and summer. Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2001


I believe there are some systems around the country that are moving toward year-round programs. This may be a reasonable solution. I don't know if a longer day is beneficial. I'd like to see students continue to have opportunities to develop social skills through school functions and activities, and to develop independent research skills byu having access time to public libraries, parents, grand-parents, etc. learning how to study independently is also a valuable skill for collegiate success.

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2001

Adding more time to the school year would cause more of a problem than it will ever solve. Students get very tired and restless with the long school already. In our district it is 185 days. High school students take four classes on what is called a blcok schedule. These intense classes are 90 minutes long, five days a week for one semester.

Student learn other ways besides being in a constricted classroom. From family memebrs during reunions; at Vacation Bible School, during family vacations. This point comes homes to me most of all. When my youngest daughter was tested for the Talented and Gifted class she told me that many of things on the test were learned from our vacation the previous summer.

Children need time to rest and to digest what they've learned. After all, one can only comprehend and remember so much material at once.

-- Anonymous, January 13, 2001

As one who spent 30 years in a school system, I don't feel longer days or longer years are advantageous to anyone. I once tried teaching Summer School and found that upon my return both my students and I experienced major burnout. The normal summer vacation would have eliminated this problem, because it would have provided sufficient time for R&R and would have made us ready and more alert the next year. Needless to say, I never did it again and found it to my advantage when I returned the each year thereafter. There are, however, other alternatives which we need to reexamine and put into place one again. I learned to read--not in a public school-- but in Sunday School.

-- Anonymous, January 13, 2001

What about the 17-year old of today and of 1950, are they the same mental age? Would early graduation and entry into college impact the rate at which our teenagers are becoming parents? Do they have too much empty time? I grew up on a fram. Dawn to dusk, I was busy and too tired to get into trouble aftewards. Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, January 13, 2001

I have taught in the school system for 27 years and find that it is not the length of time that we teach but how we use the time that we have with the students. We have so many other outside issues to compete with that we have to learn to use the time we have wisely. I agree that burnout is an issue. In our system (Chicago), we have a six hour school day and an extened two hour after school program. Our school year is 187 days with an additional 5-7 week summer school session, and still we lose some of our children to the streets, drugs and gangs. What we need is prayer, for our teachers, parents and students. Pray that the teachers will not give up on our children and use the time that we have with them wisely. pray that the parents will care enough to see that their children will come to school everyday, prepared to learn and pray that the students will have a desire to learn once they get there. Finally pray for public education because for many of our children this is all that stands between them and the streets.

-- Anonymous, January 13, 2001

I fully understand the arguments against lengthening the school year. Taking a break from a rigorous learning process is healthy for mind, body and soul. In my 15+ years teaching university economics I seldom taught summer school [once or twice]. My typical response is teaching summer school is against my health and religion :-) But, we are engaging in serious denial if we fail to see that the basic problem educational professionals are faced with is how to reverse the declining trend of academic performance for American secondary students compared to their international cohorts. I for one am excited about Bush's appointment of Dr. Paige as US Education Secretary. If Dr. Paige can take the successful Houston, TX model and make it nationwide, hip, hip hooray!!

Lenghtening the school year ought to be considered one of many strategies, if the goal is to significantly raise the cognitive measures of our students. Logically, everything starts at home. Many parents have essentially abdicated their responsibilites about creating a learning environment at home and perversly encouraged academic indifference, mediocrity and failure. Many parents fail to exercise the proper home controls advanced by J. Payne or eschew the Sunday School as the gateway to learning as Bob Matthews describes in his informative post. My kids attend a somewhat economically-upscale racially integrated elementary school. Both my wife and I are active volunteers in PTA and school committee assignments. I look around and constantly murmur to myself, "Why are there so few black parents involved in their kids educational enrichment?"

Personally, I favor extending the school day from the current 9-3 norm to a school day which coincides with a parents normal 8 hour work day. If most working parents begin work by 8:30AM and end by 5:00PM, why not fit the school schedule in that time slot? This not only allows more time for learning but eliminates the problem of after school care for those parents. I would also like to see a moratorium on "half day" class schedules for high school seniors. Unless a student is going to work or serve as a community volunteer there is no reason why his 8 hour school day should be reduced to 4 hours a day. When I look at the academic prowess of many freshman collegiate students I know within a very short time who will and will not excel in my economics courses. What is often conspicuously absent for the low achieving students is inadeqate preparation in mathematics, literature and history. These deficiences can be easily corrected if more time was focused during the day. My worst fear is the generational effect mediocrity creates for posterity. We know why John Brown Sr. can't read, write and compute. The most ominous question will be not why John Brown III can't do these things but why John won't perform to high expectations. QED

-- Anonymous, January 13, 2001

As a high school student I do not feel that longer school days would benefit anyone. I am in the process of writng a persuasive speech on shorter school days. With the increasing amounts of homework being pushed on us we could use the extra time. I am involved in some after school activities and am often up until 10 or 11 just doing homework. Studying for tests is barely an option. Also, high school students can use some of the extra time to pursue future intrests.

-- Anonymous, March 21, 2002

Ms. Smith, I pray the Lord's blessings on you and your school. My children, 11 (6th grade), 13 (8th grade) seldom have homework. They complain about boring schoolwork. Both are reading far above grade level and much of the material is taught at too low a level. You are fortunate to be in a school system that challenges you.

God Bless Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, March 21, 2002

I believe that as being a student that we need to have shorter school days and longer vacations because we do work nonstop and we never have enough time to do our homework when school is out due to sports ane other activities.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2002

I believe that as being a student that we need to have shorter school days and longer vacations because we do work nonstop,we never have enough time to do our homework when school is out due to sports and other activities.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2002

I think school days should be shortened becuz we students have enough h/w for a week in just one night. i dont think it would be right to longer the school year or school day. i am currently writing a essay on why we should have a shoreter school day. kingman AZ 14 years old

-- Anonymous, October 07, 2002

I think little Jessica's commentary is all the evidence one needs to argue in favor of longer school days and shorter vacations :-) I wonder if my daughter Nia is using that name as a psuedonym??? QED

-- Anonymous, October 08, 2002

I think the problem lies not in having a deficiency of time in the school day, rather the problem is that that time is not used well enough. Isn't school an educational facility? Why is it that more and more tax dollars are being used to sponsor and create athletic programs when true academics--mathematics, language skills, history, economics, and basically anything else with a more practical value than learning the proper way to throw a ball--are being subjected to subservient priority? Since when have sports taken precedence over practical skills? I'm sorry, I forgot, that's where the money is if you make it far enough. Sadly, it's not only the students who are misguided. Has anyone else ever had to suffer through a class taught by some coach that barely has enough teaching skill to get the majority of their students to stay awake long enough to learn something and pass standardized tests? It's hardly endurable, and I was surprised how much I learned about perseverence and persistence instead of the intended course material. In summary, lengthening the school day or year would work if the underlying dilemma of misusing school time were fixed. Here's an idea, make school time more worthwhile with teachers who know how to teach more than a minute scrap of something useful, and students who know how and want to learn. Then go ahead and lengthen the day so that the extra time spent in school is extra quality time spent in school. And will someone please restore true academics to their appropriate position as the priority in schools? Thanks. Just in case anyone's curious, I'm still in high school.

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2003

School classes, are WAY to long. We sit around after finishing homework for 20 minutes. Some classes like math should be 50-60 min., but classes like Geography should only be 20-30 minutes.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

I think that school starts way to early. I think that all of the students would perform so much better. And we could nock of band and extra activity classes and have them like sports were it is after school because all they are otherwise is studyhalls. We should only have math, science, geo/history, phy. ed/health, English then the day would be shorter and alot better

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

I think school days should be shorter because students don't get time to play sports, do homework, and do chores. I'm Justin Roue's friend. Yah, baby. Well, back to school. THERE JUST TO LONG. I think school is kinda dumb. If you want to get smart do it on your own. We don't need stinkin school. THAT'S WHAT I THINK. THE END

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

Tyler: Actually, I'm glad you expressed your honest opinion about the need for school. This provides me with an opportunity to comment. If this note sounds like a lecture from an "old" adult man, well you're right. If school is dumb and a waste of time, as you indicate, why don't you simply drop out and try making a living wage/salary without a high school diploma. If you become a father how can you help your children if you lack formal schooling? You will be unable to read and execute important contracts which impact your life and those around you (insurance, banking, real estate). People who consider school "dumb" typically do not vote or take time to make their community better thru volunteering and helping others less fortunate. Above all, individuals who choose to reject formal schooling run the risk of not mastering the basic skills necessary for a safe and productive life. I can guarantee if you are not from a wealthy family or lacking an unuusal skill in music, business or art, your options will be restricted to low-paying menial jobs, periodic trips to the unemployment office or worse, a life of criminality and incarceration. Many, many people who preceeded you desired an opportunity to attend secondary school but were denied due to legally sanctioned racism and discrimination. For you to express such careless indifference to schooling that many strived and died to have for young men like yourself is truly tragic. I admonish you to repent (change) of your anti-schooling attitude and honor your parents, grand-parents and all adults who desire to see you become a well-rounded young man. I want to see young men like yourself holding diplomas and degrees. I have no desire to see another young man graduating from the "school of hard-knocks". QED

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

I personaly don't think that more time in school would help. I'm a highschool student in Newark, Nj and i feel im a pretty experienced student. In one day, just one day of school we end up having three projects, 2 reports, and a presentation for all of my classes. this is very stressing and many students like me will agree. I hink that a different approach could be taken. Maybe more individual time spent with the students or staying on the same topic for a while to help a student understand more. This is just my opinion.

-- Anonymous, May 11, 2003

I am against shorter school days; us students would have a more wider knowledge if we stay at school longer, therefore i would like anyone to e-mail me if they agree.

-- Anonymous, May 13, 2003

Our young people have pointed out the need for better grammar and spelling instruction but we do not need to lengthen the school year. Burnout is a real event and it should be acknowledged. Some people say teachers only work 9 to 10 months a year, but what other job requires one to be on everyday for up to 150 individuals each day? We need rest to re-energize our bodies, our emotions and our minds.

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2003

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