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If school days are extended, how should students spend the extra time?

  • Science (28% people answered this)
  • The arts (41% people answered this)
  • Longer lunches and recesses (16% people answered this)
  • Standardized test preparation (13% people answered this)

924 people voted.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent push for a longer Chicago school day has sparked some heated debate, both in his city and around the country, about whether more class time actually produces better results in student performance. Now two new studies have emerged about the subject, both drawing similar conclusions: more time does not necessarily create better students. One major problem is cost. The first study from the Government Accountability Office (a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress) found that at least 26 states didn’t think they would be able to afford longer school hours once their federal bonus grants for doing so expired, and would have to quit the program. They also had trouble dealing with the planning required to fill in those extra hours. Meanwhile, the study by nonprofit think tank Education Sector pinpointed the key to a school’s success not on the extra time itself but rather the quality of planning involved in filling it, which they often found lacking. They found that it was often better to supplement a child’s education with after-school programs that could focus on their own quality. As for the parents of Chicago, emotions are mixed. Some are disgusted by their school’s current 10-minute lunch and recess sessions, while other worry the time will simply be used to prep for standardized testing instead of more diverse pursuits in science and the arts. Learn more about the new studies here:


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