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Reader Feedback: Should School Day/Year be Lengthened?

Patch readers chime in on ideas discussed by the governor in his State of the State address.

In his State of the State address on Wednesday in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the possibility of extending the school day and/or the school year to help better educate students. Cuomo proposed a competitive grant program for schools that develop initiatives to improve student achievement that would include extending learning time by at least 25 percent.

We asked our Facebook fans if they felt that extending the school day/school year would be a benefit to students. Below are a few of the responses (add your own thoughts on the topic in the comments section below this article). 

Sean Brown: Having family members that are teachers in this state, the big problem isn't so much teacher quality, it's student quality. We're so afraid of hurting someone's feelings that students that don't meet the standard are forced into the next grade, setting them up for continued failure. These failures then reflect on the teacher that has to take time away from competent students to spend more time with students that are well below grade level. And we wonder why the world is beating us.

Kelly Guadagna: I don't think that extending the school day/year would help at all. These kids are already doing 3-4 hours of homework each night and don't even have time to just be a kid. Are you going to take away what little time left they have?

Jeanne Beilouny Tapler: My kids' school day is already extended by the insane amount of homework they have each night. Not to mention reports and projects that I did in later grades than what my kids are in now. There's already too much pressure on them. 

Katerina Nicole: The vast majority of teachers care a tremendous amount for their students. Smaller classes would help. Longer days and additional schooling will only burn out the students. They need the breaks to refocus, play, create and learn about the outside world. Education does not only happen within the walls of a school.

Sarah Schreiber: Extending the school day is not the answer. Teachers do care. Unfortunately, all these politicians want is to say they made a difference by improving test scores. First of all, education is more than one score on one test that is poorly written by some overpaid company. Second of all, students are not held accountable for state test scores, but teachers are. Those politicians and anyone else who thinks that you can make kids care about a test that does not affect their grades for the year can step into the classroom and try it.

Kelly O'Keeffe-Kellers: The school year needs an update, it's 2013. There are 365 days in the year yet they are only in school for 180, which includes half days.. Give me a break. We are not the smartest nation by far. Our children need a better education.

Andrea Stolz January 11, 2013 at 05:06 PM
I like the idea of creating educational summer programs that are more project-based and allow the kids to explore personal interests. Unless you can afford to send your kid away to camp for the whole summer, it's hard to keep them occupied. Most parents I know work and so don't want their kids' friends over when they're not home. There are all kinds of learning that can be done: exploring ponds, hacking electronics, putting on plays, that can recharge kids and give them motivation to get through the more test-driven, butts at desks programming they experience the rest of the year. Project-based summer learning could also give teachers experiences they could bring into the regular school year... I think there is an opportunity here to better educate and engage students.
THE SOCIAL WORKER January 11, 2013 at 06:47 PM
who cares
Ben Vitale January 12, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I see the frustration in my Grandchildren; homework, homework, homework. The military needs R and R time. students need R and R time. Do not extend the school year. Rather than bulk memorization, children should be trained to research and solve problems without your text books. In the real world, no one drops a text book in your lap, you must know how and where to find it. I agree with Andrea, and believe that "fun summer programs," would have a monumental effect on the persons sense of self esteem. My Grandchildren studied "Sailing," for three years; this had a profound effect on their self confidence and their ability to move forward in life.
Ben Vitale January 12, 2013 at 03:30 PM
I agree with Sean Brown; it is "student quality," and not teacher quality. How do I know this? My Jr. and senior high school experiences were horrible. I was always placed in a class with students that were idiots; their charge in life was to harass the teacher and show how cool they were, by disrupting the class, and bullying their classmates. I felt sorry for the teachers, they were powerless. Every class session was about dealing with idiots; not education. I good teacher was made to look incompetent by bad students. I did not start to learn until I entered Sachem High School in my Senior year. I am not a teacher!
Jo Miller January 12, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Andrea Stolz, Agree. This is a great idea and accomodates students whose learning style is different from traditional classroom learning.
diana smith January 12, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Patchogue Medford, as well as other districts, towns, and certaIn colleges, have terrific summer programs which include sports, art, cooking, theater, etc.. Even though there is a fee, it is usually affordable. The activities are out there, it just takes some looking. If we did increase the school year or day, think of the extra costs associated with doing so. Building maintenance fees, teacher, custodial, clerical, and administrators' salaries would increase. Albany cuts school funding every year which sends school districts into a tizzy trying to come up with a budget they can afford. Why all of a sudden do we have extra money to extend the year/day? Plus, in the summer, it is very hot in school buildings. Most do not have air conditioning. The school would need to be air conditioned, another prohibitive cost. The bottom line is that kids need to be kids. They need to have time to socialize with their peers, play, explore, and spend time with their families. Extending the day/ year would deny them of these rights. Plus, we can't afford to pay any more money in taxes. Albany should be focusing on how they can improve upon what is already there and put any extra money into updating technology, repairing and replacing equipment, fixing buildings, and offering exceptional educational services to children.
Bunnie January 13, 2013 at 09:20 PM
I just signed this petition, not sure it will make a difference but its a start http://roundtheinkwell.com/2012/12/29/petition-to-the-nys-board-of-regents-against-high-stakes-testing/

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