A longer day at school does not mean that the students have learned any better, nor any more.
What defines quality education is not quantity. In fact, the best moment of the day to actually acquire information is the morning hours. Most students are already tired, their medication gone, or just not motivated enough in the afternoon.
What they need to do is shorten the day to 5 full hours of learning, and then take 3 hours of diverse enrichment and re-teaching if needed, plus good activities for incidental learning.
The argument that the Department of Education is giving is that the demands of the modern education require a transformation of the traditional school day. In order for US students to be more competitive in a global workplace, the traditional workday is ineffective. Students in Asia, it is argued, go to school much longer than we here in the US do and, given the global realities that our students have to face, there needs to be a greater understanding that allows changing the school workday. At the same time, given the demands of No Child Left Behind legislation or ensuring that all students are heard, increased contact time will allow teachers and schools to structure learning to reach these students who need this.
Pohnpei covered most of the major issues of this educational dilemma in the previous post. By extending the school day to eight hours, students would only have to attend for four days instead of five. This would save local school districts in several ways: Utility costs would be cut somewhat; buses would only be used for four days, saving gasoline and (sadly for the drivers) the cost of additional salaries. Salaries could also be reduced somewhat for custodial and lunchroom staffs. Parents would save gasoline and time spent on transportation costs as well. Families could conceivably enjoy the occasional three-day weekend with their children off from school. Although most teachers and students cringe at the idea of a extending the school day which already seems too long, remember that many schools around the world have eight hour days (and longer) for a full five days.
I think it might be a good idea if schools in the US did this, especially if they then cut back to four days per week.
I do not think that 8 hours per day 5 days a week would be a good idea. I think that is too long.
But if you had longer days, it would be easier to have long classes that allowed teachers to do better and more in depth lessons. Hopefully this would increase the amount that students would learn.
If we then cut down to 4 day weeks, we could save money while still having a lot of hours in the classroom.