Other higher achieving countries have a longer year with frequent breaks to allow students time to absorb the material. Students in Taiwan (who outrank American kids in math and science) spend the most days in school, according to the Carolina Journal. Some American schools have tried to make up for the deficit, not with a longer school year, but a longer school day. But children and school districts receive the most advantages from shorter school days.
More in Line with Competition
The developed countries in Asia that beat American student year after year in science and math scores do so with longer school years, but shorter school days. According to the Carolina Journal, students in Taiwan spend ten to twenty more days in school than Americans, but American students spend many more hours in school each year – 1,146 compared to 1,050 in Taiwan. It seems that these students spend less time in school each day and still have time to outshine American students. The length of the day is thus not the problem in America’s academic deficits. In fact, scaling back actually helps.
Schools that do not have to run for a full day can save the cost of powering schools throughout the district. This translates into savings for school district that can be applied elsewhere.
Focus more on Better Instruction
Another advantage of a shorter school day is that it will force teachers to concentrate the lesson plans in order to teach a full curriculum in what seems like a shorter amount of time. In truth, if the school districts shorten the days by a few hours and increase the amount of days attended each year, the students will actually be spending more time in the classroom in the long run, studying a more concentrated curriculum.
Better student performance
The attention spans of children are not very long. Teachers always run the risk of losing the class’s attention near the end of the day, especially on sunny days, the first snow and toward the end of the year. The hours are thus less productive. A shorter school day will cut the child’s instruction near the point where the average student’s attention begins to wane.
Dave Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen, “Time for School?” Education Next.
Teresa Stepzinski, “Shorter School Week Could Help Save Cash,” Florida Times Union.
Terry Stoops, “Benefits of Longer School Day, Longer School Year Do Not Add Up,” Carolina Journal.