Longer Days, Big Consequences

By Joe Sinagra | The Save Jersey Blog

AppleThere are families that still like to have dinner together and discuss the day’s events.

Longer school days would mean less family time, Save Jerseyans, extended homework hours, the rescheduling of jobs, babysitters, extracurricular activities and day care.

A longer school day would also require more funding to cover higher teacher salaries, supplemental textbooks, resources and the cost of additional specialized educators.

NJ citizens would pay higher property taxes to cover the increased costs at public schools, and private schools will need to raise their tuition. Teachers would be required to work longer hours or additional teachers must be hired to work the extra time. Inevitably those teachers will want more benefits and higher wages for the extra two months of school.

Students in China might go 20 percent more days a year than American kids, but the actual instructional time is similar to that in the United States.

Finland is often cited as a top-performing country, though the hours of compulsory instruction there are 608, fewer than in any state in the United States.

A Gates Foundation study released in January of 2012 based on 3,000 classrooms across the nation found that less than eight percent of teachers in their survey ranked below “basic” competence. And a second Gates-financed study released in August 2012 suggested that the average teacher works an eleven-hour day.

The following is from Bloomberg Businessweek:

“As for the argument that American schools suffer from a lack of resources, analysis by economists Eric Hanushek at Stanford University and Ludgar Woessman at the University of Munich suggests the average U.S. student costs around $80,000 to educate from the age of six to fifteen. Only Switzerland spends at a similar level, and the Czech Republic, which scores higher that the U.S. on the international math tests spends about a third of that amount.”

Between 2002 and 2009, the U.S. high school graduation rate climbed three percentage points, so that more than three quarters of all students now get a diploma. And according to the US Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, the average school kid is learning more than ever before.

Kids do not need a longer school day; what they need is a better school day and maybe a change in the way they are being taught.

More time spent in school doesn’t necessarily result in higher test scores.

Perhaps another avenue towards academic success would be to give students a better way to learn in the time already available by addressing the learning styles and abilities of those students.

And besides: by having kids stay in school longer, up later hours doing homework, a longer school year and less time with parents, in the ensuing years how can one blame the parents for not promoting family values?