It’s no secret that American schools are in trouble. Forget foreign languages, physics and art; many struggle just to teach kids the three R’s. In a bid to get students up to speed on standardized exams, many schools have cut P.E. and recess. 50% of kids do no after-school activities at all, leaving them bored and often unsupervised when the bell rings at 2:30. But all of these problems have a simple solution, according to Christopher Gabrieli and Warren Goldstein, the authors of Time to Learn: How A New School Schedule is Making Smarter Kids, Happier Parents, and Safer Neighborhoods. The answer? More school.
Goldstein and Gabrieli argue that adding about two hours to the traditional six hour day would:
- Narrow the achievement gap. While affluent families supplement their children’s educations with private classes, camps, and tutors, low-income students fall further and further behind. “Adding to the school day allows schools to give them the same individualized attention, the same added homework help and tutoring and the same opportunities to develop their musical, arts, drama, athletic and other dimensions,” say the authors. In the year after Massachusetts tested the Expanded Learning Time Initiative, which added about two hours to the school day, participating schools narrowed the achievement gap in English by 35% and science by almost