- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
- Friend of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found guilty of impeding probe
- Train with MH17 plane crash bodies leaves rebel town in Ukraine
- Half of Colorado voters are OK with Hobby Lobby decision, poll shows
- HIV-killing condom to soon hit shelves in Australia
- Estonia pulls plug on Steven Seagal over praise for Putin
- Lawyer: Pelvic exam pics cost Hopkins $190 million
Obama pushes longer school days, shorter breaks
Question of the Day
Students beware: That summer vacation you just enjoyed could get a lot shorter in the future if President Obama gets his way.
Mr. Obama says American youngsters spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.
“Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas,” the president said earlier this year. “Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom.”
The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let students in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.
“Our school calendar is based upon the agrarian economy and not too many of our kids are working the fields today,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a recent interview.
Fifth-grader Nakany Camara is of two minds. She likes the four-week summer program at her school, Brookhaven Elementary School, in Rockville. Nakany enjoys seeing her friends there and thinks summer school helped boost her grades from two Cs to the honor roll.
But she doesn’t want a longer school day. “I would walk straight out the door,” she said.
Domonique Toombs felt the same way when she learned she would stay for an extra three hours each day in sixth grade at Boston’s Clarence R. Edwards Middle School.
“I was, like, ‘Wow, are you serious?’ ” she said. “That’s three more hours I won’t be able to chill with my friends after school.”
Her school is part of a 3-year-old state initiative to add 300 hours of school time in nearly two dozen schools. Early results are positive. Even reluctant Domonique, who just started ninth grade, feels differently now. “I’ve learned a lot,” she said.
Does Mr. Obama want every youngster to do these things? School until dinnertime? Summer school? And what about the idea that children today are overscheduled and need more time to play?
Mr. Obama and Mr. Duncan note that students in the United States need more school because those in other nations have more school.
“Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here,” Mr. Duncan said. “I want to just level the playing field.”
While it is true that youngsters in many other countries have more school days, it’s not true they all spend more time in school.
Children in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do those in the Asian countries that consistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests - Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) compared with the U.S. school year of 180 days.
TWT Video Picks
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- Rihanna, Dwight Howard delete #FreePalestine tweets
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- Driver who killed teen on bike sues family for $1.3 million
- Bill Maher blames Hamas for Gaza violence: 'Do you really expect the Israelis not to retaliate?'
- HUMPHRIES: 'Hes the Worst President in 70 Years'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq