As the start of the school year approaches, schools are going back to the basics with a vengeance. Many Milwaukee students, and some suburban ones, will arguably spend more time on reading and math than during any time in recent memory, although some educators argue that the trend is to the detriment of other subject areas, such as science and social studies.
In a set of lower-performing Milwaukee elementary schools, students will have at least two hours a day of reading instruction and an hour a day of math this fall by decree of the central administration. The time will be much more focused and prescriptive than it has been in the past in terms of what is being taught, and how. These schools will join the ranks of several others that already have beefed up the amount of time spent on the so-called three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic.
At St. Marcus Lutheran, a private school in Milwaukee, middle-school students get 90 minutes of math each day – as opposed to the 45- to 50-minute block of five years ago.