Longer Days Can Help Our Kids Go Far

OPINION: A Perspective On Longer School Days from a Long-Time Student

By Michael Ritchie | The Save Jersey Blog

christie with kidsI’ve thought for many years that our students spend too much time away from the classroom, Save Jerseyans. 

I should disclaim at this point that I am not a professional educator, but I am for lack a better term, a “long-time professional student.”  After more than 12+ years of formal higher education, one thing has become increasingly clear from my experiences:  students that were brought up in the American education system largely struggle in the classroom compared to that of some of our emigrated colleagues. 

Indeed, this cannot be completely blamed on the schools, as the American culture largely glorifies athletes, musicians and actors/actresses and places little esteem on those who become great successes stories through the use of their brains; in fact many seem to enjoy demonizing successful businessmen/women, lawyers, doctors, etc. these days. 

I don’t believe that increasing the length of time spent at school will be the sole source of fixing our education troubles, as we probably need a total overhaul on the way children are taught.  

Nevertheless, something needs to change fast and this is a good step in the right direction.

A longer school day and school year could mean exposure to an expansive range of subject matter being taught, more time for enrichment programs (i.e. music, arts, sports) and increased social and emotional learning. The expansion of a curriculum to include all of these components on a daily basis may contribute to a truly well-rounded education and set our young students on a path for success. 

Furthermore, keeping our children engaged in school for longer periods of time means keeping them away from potentially negative and harmful activities that can occur outside of school.

There will be large costs associated with increasing the time spent at school and there are already people seated at either side of the argument even right here at Save Jersey. However, in my opinion, this is money very well spent.  If we can perpetuate ourselves as a nation of grandeur ideas and innovation through the investment of a better early education, then we should do so without worry about the sanctity of summer vacations.