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Clinton Calls for Longer School Days & Longer School Years for Disadvantaged Students

Hillary Clinton Calls for Longer School Days & Year for Disadvantaged Students

Last night at CNN’s Democratic Town Hall in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton discussed her intentions to lengthen both the school day and year in communities with disadvantaged children to level the playing field.

"There's a lot of research which shows that, for most middle-class or well-off kids, they get out of school in the spring or early summer ... and then they do things over the summer that keep them learning,” Clinton said.

"A lot of disadvantaged kids get out and they actually lose some of the learning that they've gained during the year. So I want very much to expand the school day and the school year, and provide more structure. Starting with kids who would be most benefited from it, but I am in favor of states looking at how they might do that for every student,” she said.

Indeed, many schools around the nation are switching to both longer school days and years to provide students with more instructional time.

In Washington D.C., for example, ten of its public schools in its poorest neighborhoods will have an extended year next year, having 20 more school days than other D.C. schools.

And “ [i]nstead of a long summer break, students will have shorter and more frequent breaks over a school year that runs 200 days through all 12 months,” said The Washington Post.

While supporters of longer school days believe the extra instructional time helps students, especially high-need students, increase academic achievement, not everyone is convinced.

The teachers’ unions operating in D.C., for example, are vehemently opposed to adopting longer days.

Aside from being opposed to forcing teachers work longer hours without negotiation, union leaders also aren’t convinced that longer days will “produce achievement gains.”

"Schools need a 'better day' — with the resources that teachers and students need to succeed — before they need a longer day,” said Washington Teachers’ Union President Elizabeth Davis to The Washington Post. 

In New York, Chancellor Carmen Fariña echoed that idea after visiting two charter schools in the city that operated under longer school days.

“'I think it’s all about the quality. It’s not about how many days or how many hours...It is really about what we do with the time we have in school,’” she said, according to The New York Post.

What do YOU think? Are longer schools in the best interest of students? Voice your opinion by taking our poll.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/24/2016

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