Proponents believe that more classroom time will give students the opportunity to have a more well-rounded curriculum that includes arts and music, as well as more math and science. The extended hours will also provide more individualized time for students who may fall behind. This is all in hope of better preparing children to be more successful in the future. An additional benefit is student safety. There are multiple dangers students face in the hours between the end of the school day and when working parents return home, especially in low-income or inner-city neighborhoods. Therefore, keeping students in the classroom longer may ultimately keep them safer.
Extending classroom time may face a challenge from teachers unions, as it did during the Chicago Teachers Union strike earlier this year. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was able to win that battle and extend the school day, but had to concede other issues to the union. Other critics argue that longer school days are not the answer to America’s education problems. It is hard to argue against providing more learning opportunities for students, however. Hopefully the TIME Collaborative pilot will provide more information as we see how the different schools across the five states implement the program and how it impacts student achievement.