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5 States Experiment With More School Time

A 3-year test at 40 schools aims to add 300 hours


Five states are planning to announce an increase of 300 hours for some students’ school years for 2013.

The states, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee, are joining an initiative to try to boost student achievement through increased class hours, according to the Associated Press. The effort is part of a three-year test program changing the hours at 40 schools in the five states. The means by which the school year is expanded is flexible: Parents and the districts can decide whether to add weeks to the school year or to increase the hours per day in school.

The effort is being paid for through a combination of funds, with school district, state and federal dollars contributing to the effort. Also contributing are the nonprofit Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning.

The new hours will expand the time students spend in the classroom overall. They’ll have more time for a broader curriculum including the arts, individual study help and extra time working on math and science.

The effort has the strong support of the Obama administration. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has long been an advocate of expanding classroom time, saying American students are at a disadvantage compared to students in other developed countries.

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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