One Goal: Extending the School Day

Mariam Brillantes:

Jennifer Davis is on an educational mission to extend the school day. She’s president and CEO of the National Center on Time and Learning, an organization that describes itself as “dedicated to expanding learning time to improve student achievement and enable a well-rounded education for all children.” Ms. Davis’s says under her organization’s scenario, children would be happier because they have more time to learn, teachers would be able to devote more time for enrichment programs that go beyond standardized tests, and parents-especially those from lower-income families-would be reassured their children are safe in a learning environment. Below are excerpts from an interview with Ms. Davis:
I think it’s safe to say that most schoolchildren would probably hate the thought of an extended school day. How can a longer day help them?
The initiative we are promoting involves the redesign of the school day to include more enrichment opportunities like music and art and apprenticeship. It includes significant recess and lunch time. And it also includes a lot of project-based learning and one-on-one time with teachers — and all those things, students like. If you interviewed students in the schools we’re working with… the students are enjoying the schedule in part because it gives them lots of opportunities. What’s happening all over the country is that classes like physical education, arts and even recess and lunch time have been shortened or eliminated because of the pressures of testing and classes that are tested like math and English.