The final bell is ringing later for kids at 20 schools in Boston, Massachusetts, this year. Their school day is 40 minutes longer than it was last year. It's part of a national trend to increase the amount of time students spend in class. From 2012 to 2014, nearly 1,000 public schools across the country extended their school days or school years.
The extra time in school is meant mainly to improve students' performance. In 2012, 100 elementary schools in Florida extended the school day by an hour. In one year, those schools saw a boost in students' reading skills and test scores.
In Boston schools, the new schedule allows more time for art, science, and P.E. Other schools have used some of their added time to extend lunch and recess.
But many teachers and parents don't want to stretch the school day. (Of course, neither do a lot of students!) Critics of the idea say kids will get worn out during the longer days. They also point out that lengthening school days can be expensive, because schools have to spend more on things like electricity and paying staff. In Boston, for example, the switch to longer school days is expected to cost an additional $12.5 million each year.
Here's what two of our readers think.
More time in school means more learning.
American students are falling behind kids from other countries, such as China and Japan, in reading, math, and science. That's according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Longer school days would help us catch up. A longer school day might also allow schools to add subjects, such as robotics, cooking, and health.
Plus, many kids go to aftercare when school is over because their parents are at work. For those students, a longer school day would simply take the place of aftercare.
Mesgana Gebreyesus, New Jersey
Kids already spend enough time in school.
A longer school day would make kids too tired to pay attention in class. Instead of tacking on more time to school, we should use our school hours more productively.
Plus, kids have sources of education besides school, such as sports. Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts. Longer school days would mean less time to participate in these other activities. We'd also have less time to interact with our families.
Also, if we have longer school days, teachers will have to work more.
Parker Samuelson, Texas