Do you want to get rid of recess?
In fact, extending the school day or the school year makes it easier for schools to preserve recess and other kinds of enrichment activities beyond the core academic curriculum.
Do you want to get rid of summer vacation?
No. Even if states or communities decide to adopt a longer year, there would still be time for summer vacation. And there are other ways to expand time, including adding hours to the school day.
It seems like schools waste a lot of time. Can’t you just get them to use time more efficiently instead of adding more?
We recognize that many schools could make more efficient use of the time they already have. Leaders should find ways to give school administrators the tools to conduct “time audits” and the expert advice to use time more efficiently. Making better use of time should go hand in hand with efforts to provide more of it.
What about after-school activities?
Enrichment activities are important. Places like Massachusetts that are experimenting with new kinds of educational schedules have learned valuable lessons about how schools can provide more and better academic instruction while preserving time for enrichment activities. For example, the Martin Luther King Jr. School in Cambridge has incorporated 30 minutes per day for enriching elective courses that students helped design, in addition to an extra 2 ½ hours per week for math, for reading, and for science.
What do you mean by “more time and support for learning”?
We need to provide successful and struggling students alike more time for in-depth learning and greater personal attention.
One good example comes from Massachusetts, which is giving ten schools in five communities the resources to provide students with 30% more time for learning. Some are extending the school day, while others are lengthening the year. But they are all reinventing the entire education program to be richer, deeper, and more engaging. They are providing things like these:
- More and better instruction in math, reading, history, and science;
- Personalized attention for students who need it;
- Enrichment activities in subjects like arts, music, and drama; and
- Opportunities for teachers to work together to improve student learning.