Interesting op-ed in the NY Times about the lowering of class time/school year in U.S. Schools.
The minimum required school day in West Virginia is already about the length of a “Harry Potter” double feature. In Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, summer school programs are being slashed or eliminated. In Oregon and California this year, students will spend fewer days in the classroom; in rural communities from New Mexico to Idaho, some students will be in school only four days a week.
What's great is that a trend of expanded schedules that started in high-performing charters has transferred over to some regular public schools (wow, it can be done!):
In Boston, for example, the Edwards Middle School has gone, in five years, from the worst-performing, least-desired middle school to a model of success after it increased scheduled teaching time by 30 percent. Students there now outperform the state average proficiency rate in math and have nearly closed achievement gaps in literacy. This has occurred in a school where over 80 percent of the students come from low-income families.
Perhaps most surprising, some schools have shown that these changes can be made without spending more money. Brooklyn Generation School replaced most administrators with teachers and staggered all employees’ schedules, allowing it to increase learning time by 30 percent without additional cost. Class sizes have been reduced and the burden on teachers lowered. Last spring, 90 percent of seniors graduated on time. Remarkably, when these students entered high school, only about 20 percent were at grade level.