Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Longer School Year?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Longer School Year?

Article excerpt

AMERICA needs a better educated work force if it is going to be competitive. One answer being advanced - and it's not a new one - is to lengthen the school year.

Japanese students attend school 243 days a year; the German school year is 210 days. And Americans? They are in class 175 to 180 days a year. No wonder the Japanese grow up to build such nifty cars. Or so goes the reasoning.

A longer US school year is probably not a bad idea, though it should not become mandatory. A time frame closer to the British average, 190 to 195 days (an extra three weeks), is realistic both for reasons of cost and support.

If a longer school year is joined to a more serious effort - by teachers and especially parents - to help students love to learn and think expansively, it will mean something.

If, however, a longer school year is simply a rallying cry for politicians looking for a cure-all, no thanks. The problem is not that students aren't fed enough facts. The problem is that the value of learning - the search for truth and excellence - is not taken seriously enough in the US. …

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