What do you think: should U.S. children spend more time in school? Should the school year be longer?  

In a speech earlier this year, President Barack Obama said, "We can no longer afford an academic calendar designed for when America was a nation of farmers who needed their children at home plowing the land at the end of each day. That calendar may have once made sense, but today it puts us at a competitive disadvantage... That's why I'm calling for us not only to expand effective after-school programs, but to rethink the school day to incorporate more time -– whether during the summer or through expanded-day programs for children who need it...Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas...But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."
[ Complete speech here: ]

Education Secretary Arne Duncan echoed these sentiments in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
[Related article here: ]

What do you think: Do U.S. schools need to lengthen the school day or year? Why or why not?
Member Added on Oct 5, 2009
Here is some more background info on this topic, from's Johanna Sorrentino...

Is More School the Answer?
In Topics: School and Academics, National education standards and No Child Left Behind
> 60 days ago

| writes:
Here are two related comments posted this week on the article, "Barack Obama on Education" ...

9/28/09, Jamelle says:
I am teacher in Kansas and considering this plan for longer school days and years seems unbearable for my students in special education, as well for my colleges and I who work beyond our hours and pay to deliver quality education to our students as well as balance our home lives. THE PROBLEM IS NOT HOW MUCH TIME WE HAVE WITH OUR STUDENTS, ITS WHAT WE DO WITH THAT TIME. If we educate with quality and teach towards ALL students, our test scores would go up, and our children would be better prepared for their future. We don't need more time in schools, we need better educated teachers where instruction is lacking.

9/29/09, Caitlyn says:
I'm starting high school this year, and if the president makes the school days longer, he's going to have to something about the amount of homework we have, too. I know that myself and a lot of my friends are staying up very late just working on homework, and we all have to wake up somewhere between 5 and 6 to get to school on time. Half of us are dead tired when we get to school, and if we're that exhausted, we can't learn well. I know that teachers aren't paid enough, and I know that I learn the best from teachers who care, and go the extra mile to ensure all of us are learning. I'm not against anything that gets teachers better pay and/or more supplies to better teach us, nor to help special-needs students (seeing as my brother is one, and most of my educational career can be remembered by the fights with the school for helping him), but putting us in school for more days and more hours is not the solution. By cutting out our summer vacation, students (or at least me) loose motivation for end-of-year finals, and we'll loose the oh-so-valuable social interactions and chances to catch up on lost sleep from the school year that summer break and summer camp offers. Better educate and fund the teachers and the special ed departments, and you'll see the results in the test scores. However, test scores aren't the only things we need to worry about. For well-rounded individuals, students need social interaction during breaks and weekends, extracurricular activities (which some students may not have time for if the schools are in operation longer each day), time for reading, writing, hobbies, time for sports, and time to just chill, or get to bed a little earlier. I think that if President Obama tries to make schools last longer, he will come up against some of the fiercest opposition ever, even stronger than what he is facing with the health care reforms. In summary, thank your teachers if you can read this, and if you want to reform education, don't make the school days longer; make the school days BETTER.
> 60 days ago

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no writes:
A parent, "MC" adds her perspective:

"...I will not accept any extension of the school year or school day. My second-grader gets on the bus at 6:30 am and gets off again at 3:30 in the afternoon. She has half an hour to unwind, she does her homework, she eats dinner, she has about 45 minutes to spend with her parents and siblings, and then she bathes and goes to bed.  
An extra half-hour in the school day would mean that we would have effectively no time to play games, talk with each other, work on projects together, or attempt to expand her education beyond the classroom to things like critical thinking or alternate points of view (which are certainly not taught).  
Fifteen minutes is not enough time for a family to be a family. It does not allow the passing along of knowledge or skills or the building of understanding or of strong bonds. Barack Obama may view the school system as a "family of last resort."  I do not.  For some families it may indeed be necessary. For mine it is not.  
One more half-hour in the school day, and my children will all be home-schooled. Even if I have to join a religion with which I do not agree to provide them with a community to be homeschooled within."

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> 60 days ago

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