Longer School Days Are Coming to Select Massachusetts Schools

Massachusetts is one of five states to add 300 hours of class time every year for certain schools. Will it help?


Will more time in school translate into greater student achievement?

Federal and state officials announced Monday that Massachusetts, along with Connecticut, New York, Tennessee and Colorado, are participating in a pilot program to find out.

Csmonitor.com reports that the program will add at least 300 hours of learning time in some schools starting next fall. 

Fall River and Lawrence are the two Massachusetts towns included in the pilot project. Boston.com reports that this new program adds to an effort launched six years ago in Massachusetts to lengthen the school day in several school districts.

The pilot program reportedly will last three years and include almost 20,000 students in 40 schools with an eye to bringing in more schools if it is effective, particularly lower-performing schools in lower-income communities. Each school district gets to decide exactly how the school time will be increased: longer school days? More of them? Both?

The pilot is part of a project called the TIME (Time for Innovation Matters in Education) Collaborative, a partnership between the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL). 

What do you think about this pilot project; do you think this is a constructive approach to improving student achievement?

Fiscal Conservative December 03, 2012 at 09:50 PM
As long as the schools concentrate on core curriculum (Math, Science, Reading, correct Writing AND Spelling, Civics (never taught) & History instead of Social activities that should be taught at home or other places outside school walls, there may be a chance of students making progress. Unfortunately, I don't see this happening. Even more resources are going to be wasted (at taxpayer expense) because those now running the educational system will do only the "Politically Correct" thing. Education should never be political. We are going to continue to fall farther behind other countries until we smarten up. Then again, there is no need to because govt will provide for the populous. Why go to school to learn when you won't need to work, in the future. Govt is taking incentives away from individuals to improve themselves. Remember the time when the majority were self reliant? Now we're becoming dependent. Save the $$$ from public education (billions) and just give it to people, that's what govt leaders want anyway...people who believe that they need govt to control their lives. We have become a sorry country, our future really doesn't look promising if this dependency continues to grow at this alarming rate. Politicians NEED the public to be uneducated so they can dictate the way we live. An educated population is biggest fear to a career politician.
R S Broadbend December 04, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Obviously the Milton Schools department and Committee do not this so. They are eliminating 21 hours of classroom instruction in order to have teacher strategy/collaboration sessions. For the teachers it is an either/or situation. Either pay me more or we won't do it. So much for placing the children and education first. When it is union versus kids, the unions always win. What a shame.
lowertaxes December 04, 2012 at 12:53 AM
I know that in Stoughton they are making another half day in December so that they can discuss the new teacher evaluations that the state is doing. Why do our kids have to lose education, why can't this be done after school hours. Oh right because according to the memo they have to do it the way the Teachers Association wants to do it.
joanne December 04, 2012 at 03:05 AM
R S you are so right about those greedy teachers. Everyone knows they are so overpaid and are just in it for the extravagant lifestyle it affords them. Now they want to get paid for working extra? Whoever heard of such greediness. Lets blame the unions again.
brona coogan-coyne December 04, 2012 at 10:19 AM
Think it would be a great idea, in europe the kids go to school for a lot longer. In france for instance the children attend school on a saturday, they also get breaks more often, but their summer holidays aren't as long as in the states. In quincy it's rediculous, the children have a half day every tuesday, it would be unheard of in any other part of the world. The education needs to drastically improve in the states in order for the next gerneration to compete with the standards of the rest of the world. I would be in full favour of more teaching hours added to our children's school year, and on a side note, shorter summer vacation time, right now it is unbelievable how long their summer vacation is, too too long!
Ken B. December 04, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Full-time job: 240 8 hour Days/year, retire at 66 on SS Teacher: 185 6 hour Days/year, retire at 53 with 80% pension
ttgb December 04, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Perhaps we should find a way to just utilize the school year we. My kids call November no school November between the half days and the days off. In addition they have had at least two assemblies where they loose additional class time. It is crazy. Cut the half days out of the schedule for starters and see how much time we pick up.
ttgb December 04, 2012 at 12:49 PM
When you figure out the hourly rate of school teachers in public educatuion at the very bottome of the scale they are averaging at least $35/hour not including benefits or stipends for the extra things they due at school, at the high end it is about $71 an hour. That does not include the great benefit packages they have. Not exactly underpaid in my book.
Matt December 04, 2012 at 03:00 PM
What time in Braintree do kids start to learn a subject once the pledge is done and attendance has been taken? Also fiscal conservative they do teach civics but now its called Social Studies.
abdul December 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM
does more hrs = more education? I am not sure about that. Instead of increasing hrs we should focus on studies that will take our kids forward not just putting more stuff in our kids brain. As we all know our kids are very behind in math, science, technology and even english so we should focus on them and advance it. my 2 cents :)
Steve C December 04, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I would think that they have implemented this 3 year test cycle to verify if more hours = better education. If after the 3 year study there has been no improvement then all they have done is add more cost.
Indiana December 04, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Unfortunately in some states the pension is in the state constitution. Not sure about here though
Tina Silverio December 04, 2012 at 07:28 PM
The articles state that there will be assistance for participating districts. But what about all this "fiscal cliff" hubbub? Funding would be reduced to some extent. So, where the cuts, then? This is like my saying "we're forgoing steak cooked at home for dinner- we can only afford pasta", and then going out to eat said pasta at a resteraunt, with dessert and drinks added to the bill. All the news sources I check state that "A mix of federal, state and district funds will cover the costs of expanded learning time, with the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning also chipping in resources". I'm not seeing it, folks.
Tina Silverio December 04, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Also, "A report last year from the National School Boards Association's Center for Public Education disputed the notion that American schools have fallen behind in classroom time, pointing out that students in high-performing countries like South Korea, Finland and Japan actually spend less time in school than most U.S. students." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/02/class-time-increases-in-5_n_2229411.html More hours won't equal better grades/results unless the other issues are dealt with- first and foremost getting the kids to behave themselves and have respect for the institution of education in general, something that is sadly lacking in this country, and due to all involved: families, teacher unions "versus" taxpayers who can't afford to give more (including people with no kids in the system), and the kinds of choices in classes where flexibility is available: ie: why "History of Rock and Roll" instead of, say, something involving computer coding, Chinese or Arabic language, or something else that will be useful?
Telling it like it is December 04, 2012 at 09:01 PM
And now, with Messiahcare, they can keep their kids on their health plan till they are 26. Wonder who makes out in that deal? Me paying 75% of my Blue Cross, to the tune of $1000.- per month. Or the state worker who pays at best 5% with me subsidizing the rest.
michd December 05, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Eliminate the MCAS and February vacation. Our system teaches for the purpose of passing the MCAS. MCAS has been detrimental to our kids education. Also, we need to eliminate February vacation. Seriously, with a week and a half off for Xmas/NY, MLK, half days and another week off in April is there a need for February vacation too?
Fiscal Conservative December 05, 2012 at 10:28 AM
Yes, there is a need for Feb vacation. Without it, teachers would not be able to take their week in Florida to escape the winter doldrums. Well, that is they would call in "sick" to do so. By keeping the vacation, in tact, it saves the towns some money, not having to call for substitute teachers for this week. We know how some of these teachers are so overworked. Wouldn't it be nice to look at teacher's folders to see the pattern of sick days? I'll bet more than one or two can't work two weeks without taking a day off on a consistent basis. These teachers give a bad name to those who really do work hard and have a positive effect on their students. Its not all that are this way, probably at least 1 each every school. The sad part is the union "protects" this type of behavior.
ttgb December 05, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I could not disagree more on the MCAS. This notion about teaching to the test is such a talking point. Let's face it every teacher teaches to the test, it is just a question of which test they teach to. Our kids have had to step up in Enlish, Math and Science, all areas where they were falling behind. The only reason there is so much stress involved is how it is handled by the teachers, parents and administrators. In my kids school the week they have MCAS they are not allowed to have homework in any subject! They have one test in one subject, but no homework for the week. CRAZY! I completely agree with the time off concerns too many half days, days off vacations etc
mommy of 3 December 05, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Im on the other end of the spectrum! I actually really enjoy the time my kids have off with my kids life is to short by the time the kids get out of school, do their homework, get to their after school sports have dinner and take a shower its bed time! When is there family time? As far as teachers go I get we all picked our professions BUT we also choose to have families and I am horrified to see how some of these children act so disprespectful at drop off and pick up (for that I dont think the teachers get paid enough) so maybe on these days off we could spend the time with our children and teach them respect and proper school behavior because that is not in the teachers contract and it should be up to the parents! I am actually having a positive experience at the public school! I think there is a point of exhausting with kids. There are kids who struggle going to school so by extending the day I think it would make it more worse for them! I think today kids are expected to grow up way to fast its sad! We all had 1/2 days and school vacations growing up we got to enjoy having a cupcake in class on occasion (its what for at least myself made it more fun and something to look forward to going to school). I have a few friends who are teachers and hardley live an extravagant lifestyle on their pay alone! I dont mean any disrespect to anyone this is just my thought!!
Ken B. December 06, 2012 at 12:13 AM
MCAS should not be eliminated. Yes it is a standardized test, however it provides a consistent statewide objective measurement of student (and teacher) performance.
R. Hood December 06, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Wed 12/5: Another round of brown tap water! Getting to be a regular occurence! Will we be getting a credit on our water bills?
Dee Dee December 19, 2012 at 01:34 PM
What is amazing that the Netherlands children are consistently at the top worldwide and their school days are 4 hours long.... They start school at a later age and are only tested once at 16. Waldorf schools in the states have much in common with the Netherland schools. 94% of the Waldorf grads in the states go on to college and 88% graduate from college. It's a much gentler human curriculum while we keep going in a different direction with more money spent and more dissatisfactory results. It's time for school vouchers so that children are sent to schools that are successful and the failing ones will fade out. But sadly the AFT wields to much power,it will most likely never happen.
Teacher December 20, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I can not believe the comments from "Fiscal Conservative"! The dedication, time and love that teachers give students every day should be applauded. Are you a good person? I think should start to question yourself! Teacher
Fiscal Conservative December 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Teacher: Obviously I struck a nerve because you responded. Did I say every teacher? No, there are those who are very dedicated to the children, as seen by Sandy Hook. There are also the few who abuse their roles, whether educationally or otherwise. Those are the few who make the hard working PROFESSIONALS look bad. I know, personally, through family experiences that there are teachers employed who shouldn't, the union protects them. Just check one example, in NY City there are over 100 teachers sitting in a room, with no class, collecting full salary, instead of being terminated. Why? The union protects these people. This is a drain on the budget. Some have been in this "room" for more than 1 year . This may be a poor example, but, there are teachers in every system who should be removed, but, can't be. Am I a good person? Probably so. I just have the GUTS to point out that there are problems in education. Its not just funding. Its those FEW who should be removed but can't. By the way, do you know any teachers whose absences occur, usually, on Mon or Fri? I do. Real illness is one thing, taking a "Mental Health" day every couple of weeks is another. Vacations are every 6 - 8 weeks. Heck, the 1st term you work 4 day weeks about half the time (Columbus Day, Vets Day, Jewish Holidays, Thanksgiving). I commend you if you're a hard working professional. Like everything else, some give a bad name.
Fiscal Conservative December 20, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Teacher: By the way, in my job I had to take roughly 14 weeks of unpaid leave every year. I have never received a paid holiday or paid vacation. I worked, on average, of 50 - 60 hours a week when I worked. From 1961 - 2000 I was a high school Science teacher. On average I missed 2 - 4 days a year because I was ill, I hated to miss days (made more work for me). I'm sure you make a heck of a lot more than I ever did. I NEVER complained about working conditions or salary. See, I did what I liked, I knew what I was getting into before I started. Throughout my career I worked outside positions for "extras". Know what? Didn't bother me. I did what I had to, life isn't fair, get over it. I'm sick of teachers crying "poor me". If you can't stand the heat in the kitchen, get out! Best part about what I did is former students, from many years ago, still remember me (whether good or bad). I know I had an impact on others. To me that is far more important than the income I received. When I left, 12 years ago, I left knowing I gave my best. I knew I chose the career path best for me. It saddens me to see young teachers get caught in "union" crap, more concerned about "prep periods", no duties, accumulated sick time and other non educational stuff. Most new teachers could never work like I did. They would complain to the public about being "unappreciated". Do I have faults? Yeah, many of them. Overall, "Yeah, I think I'm a good person.
Avon Barksdale December 20, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Oh god, more soliloquies from FC on his Puritan work ethic and the old days. Zzzzzzzzzzzz
Fiscal Conservative December 20, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Avon: So good to get under your skin.
Avon Barksdale December 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM
This is something 12-year-olds say on the internet in 1999, not grown men in 2012.
Fiscal Conservative December 20, 2012 at 08:40 PM
We "ole timers" have a hard time keeping up with the attitude of you "young'uns". Guess there is a generational gap that can't be easily closed. My boring you is funny. Live in your world,I'm the "old dog" you can't teach new tricks. I'm lucky I can type on this old computer, can't do much else with it or any other technilogical device. Still do most things utilizing "manual labor" because I don't want to keep up with new gadgets. If I were as young as you, I too, would probably be wasting $$$ each 6 months buying new stuff. This must work fine because it irks you. At my age I'm entitled to enter my 7th childhood. Maybe you'll understand when you become an "ole fart".


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