Teachers are not the only ones who have grown accustomed to a summer lasting from June through August. Students and families have camps, vacations, and work schedules set up around summer vacation. “Save Our Summers” movements have for years decried the benefits of additional instructional days and proclaimed the benefits of summer vacation, and the movements have grown as states have considered extending the school year and individual school districts have moved up their start dates. Longer school years might reduce tourism and its accompanying tax revenue. These additional costs likely vary by state and district, but are clearly part of the analytic and political calculus.
A second hazard involves fairness to schools at risk of being sanctioned for poor performance: these schools can face longer odds if weather or other schedule disruptions limit school days. The impact of instructional time on learning means that one factor determining the ability of schools to meet performance goals is not under the control of administrators and teachers. We illustrate the effects of time on making adequate yearly progress (AYP) as defined by No Child Left Behind by comparing the performance of Maryland schools the law identified as underperforming to estimates of what the performance would have been had the schools been given a few more days for instruction.
Should School Days Be Longer Essay
Across the country, a small number of schools and districts are modifying or extending the academic year. The Massachusetts 2020 initiative has provided resources for several dozen schools to increase the number of instructional days they offer from 180 to about 200. Other examples include low-performing schools that have lengthened their school day in an effort to improve, and the longer school days, weeks, and years in some charter schools. However, such initiatives remain rare, with no systemic change in the instructional time provided to American students. Our work confirms that increasing instructional time could have large positive effects on learning gains. Encouraging schools and districts to view the school calendar as a tool in the effort to improve learning outcomes should be encouraged in both word and policy.