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Is A Longer School Year For Students On the Way? [VIDEO]

EdgewoodChemBioCenter, Flickr

Growing up, the things that I always looked forward to the most about school was the breaks. I got about a week for Thanksgiving, 2-3 for Christmas, a week for spring break, and then about 2.5 months for summer. Summer break was my favorite for obvious reasons. Well, it’s a good thing that I got out when I did because it looks like longer school years will be here before we know it.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said American students have fallen behind in academics. And five states announced that they would be adding 300 hours to a school year. The project will affect around 20,000 students in 40 schools in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee.

“Whether educators have more time to enrich instruction or students have more time to learn how to play an instrument and write computer code, adding meaningful in-school hours is a critical investment that better prepares children to be successful in the 21st century,” Duncan said.

There are three basic principles for changing the school year. First is stretching the traditional 180 days of school across the whole year by lengthening spring and winter breaks and shortening the one in the summer. Then the system would be adding 20 to 30 actual days of instruction to the 180-day calendar. Lastly would be by dividing students and staff into groups with one on vacation throughout the calendar year.

A number of places who have tried the year round approach have returned back to the traditional approach. Parts of Utah, California, and Nevada have all tried and essentially failed at the longer school year. The struggles it puts on a budget along with parent, student, and teacher dissatisfaction are what contributed to the switch.


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