According to a 2003 report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. ranked 15th in reading literacy, 25th in mathematics and 21st in sciences globally. To boost these scores, some lawmakers and educators are pressing for longer school days and shorter summer vacations. There are, of course, some educational advantages to the longer school day, but there are also drawbacks. A shorter school day can bring physical, social and emotional benefits to students.
Students Could Focus on Other Activities
Students are in school about seven hours a day. After school, many of these students participate in extra-curricular activities, such as sports, clubs, theater or volunteering. Although academic work is vital, these extra-curricular activities are also significant for students because they teach responsibility and teamwork. In fact, most colleges require a wide variety of activities for incoming freshman students. But these important activities are often squeezed out by time in school and with homework. The educational system should focus on forming well-founded persons, but students are instead focusing primarily on intellectual pursuits. Less time in school could allow students the freedom to discover other interests that are fulfilling and stimulating.
Students Should Be Getting More Rest
In addition to students having more time to focus on important activities, a shorter school day would give them more time to rest. According to WebMD, children between the ages of 12 to 18 need at least eight hours of sleep each night, sometimes even nine. In addition, many schools begin very early in the day, as early as 7:30 a.m. To get the recommended amount of sleep, students may have to go to bed around 9 or 10 p.m. The reality, though, is between time in school and time doing homework, students don't have the time to spend on other activities, friends and fun, let alone getting the sleep they desperately need. A later start would help students receive the rest that doctors recommend.
Teachers Would Be Healthier
Teachers are often under-appreciated, under-paid and over-extended. Even though they get the summers off, they often have to go above and beyond the call of duty during the school year, with grading, programs and out-of-class tutoring. If they worked shorter hours during the day, they could better focus on their students and their education through mentoring and the work they do from home, such as grading and lesson planning.
Students Are Not Employees
Some people argue that because the work day is roughly seven or eight hours, the school day should be as well. But students, especially young ones, should not be expected to perform the same amount of time at work as adults. They need breaks from sitting at desks and in the classroom. Some educational settings allow students to be active during the day, and this helps, but students still shouldn't be expected to put in an eight-hour work day.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
Pros & Cons of School Starting Later for Teens
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends start times of 8:30 a.m. or later for middle and high schools, and few teens would...
Home Schooling Advantages & Disadvantages
More parents are making the decision to educate their children at home. While homeschooling is the perfect choice for most families, others...
Why Are Days Longer and Shorter?
Days are longer in summer and shorter in winter because the earth spins on an axis that’s tilted. As the earth revolves...
Facts on a Four Day School Week
Four-day school weeks are an option for school districts across the United States facing tough economic times. A lifesaver for small rural...
Cons of Having a 4 Day School Week
A growing trend across the country is a move from the traditional five-day school week to a shorter four-day week. The argument...
Pros & Cons of Longer School Lunches
School lunches are traditionally short. Advocates for school nutrition, students and some teachers support longer school lunches. Allowing students more time to...
Pros & Cons of Lengthening the School Day
Extending the school day is a hot topic for educational policy making bodies. The driving force behind the proposal to lengthen the...
Reasons School Lunches Should Be Longer
Schools have short lunch periods for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the administrators may want to let students and teachers...
The Advantages of a Four Day School Week
Public and private schools are always trying to institute changes to their policy in order to maximize the amount of education a...
The Advantages of Having a Shorter School Week
An idea first introduced in New Mexico after the oil crisis of the 1970s, the shorter school week is gaining popularity in...