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Longer School Days - Foolish or Fantastic?

Melissa Taylor

Chicago Public Schools doesn't just want longer days, it's mandating them.

Parents and teachers aren't happy.

The research is questionable whether longer days mean positive learning and better test scores. Most experts agree that more research should be done to conclude one way or the other. Now it's unclear.

One of the biggest concern about longer days is teacher workload. Already teachers work long hours - an average of 53 - 58 hours a week according to two different studies.

Plus, longer days cost money. Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, extended the Chicago Public School day despite a serious budget shortfall ($665 million). Elementary days will be 7 hours, and high school, 7.5 hours plus 10 more days for both. Chicago residents can't imagine where the Mayor will get more money for staffing the longer days with such a huge deficit. Not to mention, they're concerned about the lack of research supporting his plan .

In Colorado where I live, some schools are getting money for longer days to give teachers more planning time. And at least one school I know is getting creative with resources. They've extended the day but not the teacher's hours or duties, using the extra time for independent reading and specials.

The goal of the longer day is to narrow the achievement gap. We'll be watching to see if that actually happens.

Comment here with your opinion on longer school days.