Today on CNN Newsroom

The latest news and information from around the world. Also connect with CNN through social media. We want to hear from you.
September 30th, 2009
08:31 AM ET

School Daze?

Will students benefit from a longer school day or school year?
That’s what President Obama is suggesting. According to Mr. Obama, American kids spend too little time in school – and that puts them at a disadvantage with other students around the world. But we want to know what you think.

Will adding time to classes or establishing a longer school year make a difference? Leave us a comment below and Heidi will read some of them on the air, from 9a-11a in the newsroom.


Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. ken

    I don't think it will make a difference to students. There are no jobs waiting for students who graduate because manufacturing is gone, and high tech jobs are being outsourced or given to aliens with work visas. lt will however make a difference to taxpayers because the teachers will demand more money. When you give more money to teachers you will have to raise real estate taxes to pay the teachers. The schools will also have to pay for the extra electricity, airconditioning and heating bills which contribute to global warming.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  2. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Longer school days should be voluntary both buy the students and teachers the Government is stepping on Americas free will just alot to much.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  3. Deb

    We don't want socialized medicne and our public schools need an over haul.
    There are 5 things that could be done to help our children right now and really they don't cost that much.
    1. School uniforms for all.

    2. ALL children get bussed no cars in the parking lots!

    3. No extra actives.....no football, basketball ,socker ,NOTHING the savings to the schools could be to hire more teachers or better lunches.

    4.All must have a C or better average to pass to the next grade.

    5.Raise wages so teachers can live on the salery.
    We need to get back to basic teaching and for get all this social networking sports and silly crap...........

    September 30, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  4. PHIL

    hi Heidi, i think year round school would be better than longer days.
    thanks
    Phil

    September 30, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  5. Julian Russell

    Making the school days longer is a horrible idea, kids and teens buckle under stress, many states have changed to a 4 day school week and have found test scores to be higher and dropout rates to be lower. As a college student I have found that high school was more stressing than college is.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  6. Kate Paine

    I believe a longer school day would certainly serve our students better. Year round school might be too much. A longer school day would give student's better focus and more immersion on subjects where they need it. As a mother of two, I've found they have too much time off and I wonder just how the lessons they learn can be consistent – enough to really "sink in."

    September 30, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  7. Greg in Houston

    We definitely would benefit from year-round schools. I see my children lose tremendous amounts of information they have learned over the summer. Face it, no school in the summer was meant for an agrarian society. We are not a nation of farmers anymore.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  8. Ryan

    If you compare the US education system and statistics to other countries who enforce longer school days you will see the benefits.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  9. Kevin Oliveira 12,NJ

    I think that is the most ridiculous idea ever.Why add more school time?We go to school longer then most other countries.If we go to school longer it will just waste the goverments money.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  10. Rithvk

    I don't think school will help students any more than it is now.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  11. Avery

    Heidi,

    I was a straight A student throughout my school years, and we did not have the distractions children have now. Our children today would benefit greatly from that extra class time. They need to know that we as adults take education seriously. What better way than to increase the time spent learning?

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  12. Doug

    I am in favor of a longer year and longer day. I also think that standards need to be raised, and the students will rise to the level of expectations. the only problem is where is the money to pay for this going to come from? the only logical place would be a tax or higher tax to pay for this extended schooling but we all know how the general population reacts to the word "tax", acting like its a plague, and the classic saying "not with my two cents".

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  13. boss68man

    Length of school by day or year does not matter if the student does not want to learn.
    Tell these students to stop worrying about that stupid Simon singing show and start worrying about being educated...then maybe we can get somewhere.

    Dave
    Pgh. PA.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  14. Felix Dodge City KS

    Longer school days would just tire out the students, but a longer school year would be a bit more beneficial if only just a couple more weeks out of the year

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  15. Irene Molina

    I do not believe the quantity is the issue. I think the problem with our school system is the lack of quality education.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  16. Navi

    Amazing!! This is definitely a step in the right direction. I'm from India and I've also attended school in the US so I've been able to compare the two systems. I have to say that kids in schools in america, relatively, have it WAY easier. I don't think longer days would be effective for younger children and wouldn't be as efficient. Rather, an extra 2 months wouldn't hurt and would be very beneficial. Kids would have something to keep them busy as well.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  17. John

    Heidi,
    This change will redefine childhood as Americans know it. It will also penalize children who are succeeding in their studies. I think time would be better spent trying to engage parents in their childrens' education in public schools. Otherwise more and more parents will choose the home school option.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  18. Tracy Annable

    This year round system is available in Red Deer, Alberta. It provided three week breaks with nine weeks lessons. This is slowing the burn out that many teachers feel, but is a problem for those needing child care. There is no doubt the children learn and retain the knowledge better.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  19. Ian Wallace

    Having a full year of school can be a great benefit to students since it will perpare students for a full work year.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  20. Stephen

    With teachers basically not allowed to fail students in many districts here in Texas, along with the amazing priority placed on "teaching to the test," adding hours to the school day would not increase the level of productivity, nor the ability of students to compete educationally at an international level.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  21. Rich

    Heidi,
    I would expect this would be great for students as far as learning, my only reservation is , will teachers look for higher pay. Right now teachers are yearly salaried people that only work 185 days or so a year If we extend classes and hours will they want additional pay for the same years worth of work.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  22. Kelli

    If the President is in favor of longer school days, longer school years then he better figure out how to pay teachers and staff more for their time. Most teachers I know with Master's degrees have to have summer jobs in order to make ends meet. And during the school year now they work 10 hour days and bring work home every night . Asking them to work more and longer with no pay is unreasonable.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  23. Mary Oei

    Longer school days are not going to help as long as the QUALITY of the education does not get better!
    I'm from the Netherlands where children don't start learning before they are six, have recess 3x a day and go home at 3pm with NO HOMEWORK until 5 th grade. AND they are ADVANCED to here! WHY? Because there is no pressure and a balance between work and relaxing.
    Where is the time for American children to be a child?

    September 30, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  24. Katherine

    Like any proposed school reform, an extended school year or school day alone will not improve education. It's a great start and a good idea, but more time in school won't help students unless there are better prepared and supported teachers, smaller school communities, more resources, and state of the art school facilities. We need to start talking about any one change as part of a much larger picture!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  25. Natasha, Mauston, WI

    Schools should be focusing on higher-quality education rather than higher-quantity education. I recently graduated high school and my teachers spent most of their time bashing President Bush and impressing their personal beliefs on the students. Maybe if we had more teachers who taught their lessons than their opinions our students would be better educated.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  26. Diane

    That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a while. All the children look forward to now is their holidays and time off so they can have a break to actually be a kid and enjoy a little bit of "life". They have the rest of their life to be tied down all day long to a job.

    If any thing, I think this should be optional for those over-achievers who wish to do so. It seems like the students are being pushed more all the time to learn over and above earlier than the rest of us did. Seems that in all the "push" for more.....some things are getting lost behind such as "cursive writing" for example. Also, if school lasts all year long, where is there time for "Family Vacations"?

    September 30, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  27. Joan

    Who will pay for the necessary renovations to provide air conditioning in the schools in order to provide adequate comfort for students and teachers?

    Nationwide our school buildings are old and in need of extensive renovations and/or replacement.

    Like alot of Obama's comments, they sound good in news bites, however the overall effect of his "great ideas" are poorly anticipated.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  28. Saiid

    The problem doesn't lie with not enough time in school. The problem is a complete lack of respect on the part of students toward teachers
    hence a resistance to LISTEN and LEARN ! Even at an early age kids
    learn the teacher has no recourse. Obama needs to bring back the
    Fanny Whacker and reinstate corporal punishment in schools. Discipline and respect is what the next generations lack....Bigtime !

    September 30, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  29. Dawn Jordan

    Heidi, it is imperative that our kids go to school both longer hours and days. I went to Egypt 10 years ago on vacation – many of those impoverished kids were speaking 3&4 languages fluently back then! I thought to myself at that time that American kids will eventually work for these Egyptian kids if we don't improve our educational system. I now have 2 small kids of my own who attend public school and it is obvious we Americans are continuing to slide behind the curve ball academically.;-(

    September 30, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  30. Renee Larson

    School here in Indianapolis starts the second week of August, so here, school starts too early for many families. It's stressful to have that final summer vacation all while getting school supplies, register children and getting physicals filled. It would be nice for school to start after the Labor Day holiday, children usually don't retain information until after the Labor Day weekend.

    Also, school here usually starts at 7:30 AM and some schools, depending on what disrict you are living, dismisses sometimes at 4 PM, not including any extra activities, programs that students are involved in. I believe that children should be children and there shouldn't be any extra hours added to the school day. Besides, most children come home from school, ready to go to bed.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  31. Brendan

    The performance of students would GREATLY improve if school was in session year-round. I have numerous friends who are teachers of various grades who spend the first month of school reviewing lessons from the previous school year because of the three-month break over summer. I've spent many afternoons since this school year began going over lessons that I am certain my step-child knew just four months prior.

    Not only would it help the students, but it would be beneficial for many single parents who have to spend hundreds of dollars a month for day-care over the summer months while they work.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  32. Emilie

    Meaningful school reform must be based on the QUALITY of schools, not quantity. We have too many schools that are simply miserable places for our children- what good will spending more time in misery do for those children? Arne Duncan has also voiced his support of continuing the the fixation on high-stakes testing which has severely crippled schools from providing the rich educational opportunities our students desperately need. We need comprehesive reform that will encourge highly qualified teachers to teach in the most challenging of circumstances and give all teachers the professional respect and trust to make approrpriate decsisions based on the needs of their students. Yes, all schools must be held accountable, but longer schools days with more of the same test-driven teaching will NOT produce the thinking citizens this nation so desperately needs for the continuation of our democracy.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  33. George

    School all year round? Seems cruel, no vacation for them or there parents. Kids look forward to summers off. Im sure its going to make most kids hate school even more and they will learn less. I have two in Penn state and one in high school.. they do just fine the way it is... besides whos going to pay for all this extra school? People Cant afford to pay the school tax now,

    September 30, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  34. Kris T.

    Children do not need to be in school any more than they already are! There is so much time that is wasted during the school day, and children as young as first grade are overwhelmed with homework. Cutting out wasted time would be a better idea. Sitting at a desk for yet more hours a day will lead to higher child obesity rates, boredom, and behavior problems. Let's fix the problems in our schools before we sentence our kids to doing more time. It is worth noting that President Obama's children do not attend public school. Maybe he should be more concerned with why the public school system is not fit for his own children, instead of telling us that our children should spend more time there.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  35. Connie

    I strongly disagree w/longer school days and or year-round school. My children look forward to their summer vacation & I feel it gives them a chance to re-charge & have some free time to be KIDS. They (students) have plenty of time after they graduate & go to college & begin their careers to have such rigid schedules. BUT, while in school, let's let them continue to have that summer vacation & breaks throughout the school year & just be what they are=KIDS.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  36. John

    Each child has his/her own particular skills that need to be further enriched. In my opinion all children should be offered a free public college education just like grade school and high school, as well as, trade schools.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  37. Grace

    I agree with President Obama that children should have a longer school day and year. If increasing the length of day and school year will make it possible to reinstate the Art and Physical Education in school. These programs take the first hit in cutting and balancing budgets. This is how I believe we will increase innovative thinking in our scholars

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  38. Steve

    I think that would depend on the school. In the first year I was out of school, I've learned far more on my own than the entire 12 years through school. It's what schools teach that is all wrong; we don't need more of that, we need it to change... I could sit here all day and list things I learned in school that are no longer even valid or true. I was only interested in the sciences all my life and should not have been forced to learn anything but science.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  39. Julie

    No way should the school day be longer what about the parents who want to spend time with their children, who look forward to having time one on one with their child/ren. Being home with their parents and doing other childhood activities is of equal importance as is being in school (I say equal because I believe school is important too.) I think kids are being forced into adulthood way to early, they need a chance to be kids. Educated kids with strong family values would help in allot of situations in life.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  40. Heidi R

    While most people are comfortable with the typical school year, I think structuring a year round education program would be great. Kids spend about a month or more just trying to recap the previous year after summer break. If we had year round schooling with several week or two week breaks in between semesters the kids would have more continuity in education. It would also be easier on teachers and parents. Teachers wouldn't be out of work for two to three months and parents wouldn't have to find childcare for those summer months. It's a win win all around especially for the kids!!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  41. Krista, Pennsylvania

    I agree with the idea of a longer school year for students. It would be an enormous benefit to eliminate the months long summer breaks and instead implement a sort of year-round schooling, as some schools in the nation already do. Students lose too much over the summer months of the knowledge they acquired during the school year, and in my opinion, they lose much of their ambition to learn as well. It seems as if our country is in an academic slump in comparison to many other nations around the world, and we need to step it up and better educate our youths, for the sake of our nation's future on the world stage.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  42. Barbara

    My daughters are involved in after school activities such as
    cheerleading practice, key club, student government etc.
    These clubs meet after school and I have to pick them at any where between 4 and 5 pm. With a longer school day this would change to 6 or 7. When do we have dinner? at 10:00 – what about homework
    and other activities outside of the school such as dancing lessons?
    A longer school day is out of the question.
    If the Obama's had to worry about cleaning the house, food shopping, cooking, cleaning up after dinner etc he would think differently.

    Why doesn't Obama bring back jobs from India, China and Japan
    and maybe when these kids graduate there will be jobs for them.

    Government should stay out of this.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  43. Anita Reynolds

    Longer school days may not be effective. Concept overload and attention span are factors involved. Some research, however, supports the concept of year-round school. This research indicates that many students lose academic ground over the summer months, and low SES students feel the greatest impact because they often do not have many educational opportunities during the summer months (library, museums, travel).

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  44. Jackie Atlanta, GA

    Longer school hours is a good idea if it is more hours of quality education. The teaching standards need to be fixed first before longer hours be considered. Higher quality teachers need to be put into schools and a decent rate of pay given to them. I don't want my child in school longer if she isn't being taught by the best teachers possible. A far as overall cost... if you invest strong values and intelligence in children today, they will know even better than us how to deal with the problems of tomorrow.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  45. charlie como

    All year long school is a good idea whose time has come.It has been proven time and again that many of the gains mase in our short year are lost in the summertime unless kids go to summer schools. Different teachers, different programs, time lost. It is totally ridiculous. Of course, the right wing will fight against the idea, but they're ridiculous, too.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  46. Mike Armstrong TX.

    The kids needs closed campus schools to keep out the drugs not longer years or days.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  47. Lori Law

    As a single mother in American society, I think a school day should coincide with a work day, so that single parents and all parents can work without having to worry about daycare. The jobs that may be lost in the before and after school daycare programs may be compensated for in more education for those workers to become teachers. In addition to increased learning, another benefit of longer school days will include kids not being alone or getting in trouble after school.
    ~Lori Law in Iowa

    September 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  48. Jose G Rodriguez

    I think that the children will not benefit with more school days or longer days. I think there will be more drop offs if President Obama do that.
    I think President Obama should think about how to make school more accessible instead so more students want to stay in school.
    I think President Obama is taking more decisions on peoples private lives than he is suppose to as President.
    I think President Obama is becoming more like a dictator and the Senate or Congress should really think about the Foundation of this country and do not try to set another foundation.
    It's just not going to work.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  49. A. Anderson

    My children attended year round school in California and it was wonderful. We were able to plan and enjoy breaks and they didn't forget everything they learned in 3 months.

    I believe schools should reduce individual class sizes, stagger starting times by grades, incorporate community service and basic life skills so that school becomes a better utilized event.

    I love the concept of community schools where community services such as intergrating social services, adult learning centers, community health centers and public libraries and senior service centers are intergrated on a single campus thereby fully utilizing buildings.

    I like the idea of low income communities developing 6-6 schedules which would allow non-profits to utilize the school buildings to promote activities and tutorial programs during the dangerous period of 4-6 p.m. in the evening. Activities like 4-H, physical fitness programs, organized arts and crafts, youth business programs, community landscaping.

    I firmly believe American education needs to come into the light and stop operating from the 1700s but I also believe we need to incorporate the technology to allow for master teachers who teach via the internet; subject matter expert from industry being incorporated into classrooms; the extensive use multiple learning styles and teaching assistants that allow for a more personalized intervention.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  50. Eric in Fort Lauderdale

    Heidi,
    I have agreed with the President on most issues, but on this one I completely disagree. We need to put more effort into the quality of education and strategies which will help our kids be more competitive and not add more hours. We need to focus on quality and not added hours. We need kids to have a life and in the process teach them responsibility, entreprenuership, and skills which the country will need to get ahead. Also, teachers need to be paid more and based on their ability to to teach. Think about it, teachers shape our society through education yet they are among the lowest paid when compared to other professions. Case in point look at athletes and teachers. I guarantee a teacher will have more impact in the life of a child and later adult life than 1 baseball player who makes millions. We need a good foundation rather than exhaust people more with radical change that I cannot fairly see improving things. Leave the hours alone and focus on quality in the education, fair pay, and above all else lets teach our kids to have manners. Lord knows we need more of that!.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  51. Mike

    IF we extend the school year, and are going to be spending the extra money, why don't we bring back the opportunities we have stolen from our children such as sports and the arts. These things have been PROVEN to increase retention and success rates in graduation and decrease adolescent crime and truancy.

    It's a VERY simple principal that we continue to ignore. Placing a dollar sign on your childs head is not only ignorant but is borderline neglect, if not abuse.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  52. Rex Thornton

    Heidi, I taught in Japan for a year and I teach currently here in the US. The Japanese covet the originality and creativity of American students. We love their test scores. The tests we have added since NCLB have actually reduced the number of instructional days. Those days need to be replaced, but more days aren't the only potential solution. We should look at rearranging the calendar, but also hiring more teachers and spreading the load across more educators.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  53. Jane

    My grandchildren have just moved to Arizona and started school in July only having about five weeks off. I think they benefitted by not having so much time off during the summer. They are doing better in school and like school much better. They also have different shifts that the children go. I believe that if the teachers are there for the children's benefit instead of the paycheck the children are lucky!! The buildings are empty when there is not classes and the bills still have to be paid, so why not utilize both.

    I believe our children need to have more education in reading, math, sciences, and geography to keep up with the other countries.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  54. JMD - In Northern VA

    Let me see, if you add just 1 hour more to the school day, it will decrease the opportunity for millions of America's youth to get into trouble outside of school. In addition, each child will gain 5 additional hours of learning per week. Just ask yourself this question, would you want medical professionals to be 5 hours smarter per week,...Firemans to have 5 additional hours of training per week, Police to patrol our streets and neighborhoods 5 hours more per week,...or even Congress to give us 5 more hours of our paid time hacking out new laws,...hopefully better health care for all? It should go without saying that our kids would greatly benefit from an extended school day/year vs what they have now,...which is pretty much...go home a play video games and send text msgs the rest of the day. Lets do this already!

    JMD

    September 30, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  55. John

    Extending the school day sounds good, but who will pay for it. In Iowa the state has cut funding to schools, and the local tax ismaxed. We already have school districts sharing administrators. Who will pay for utilties, school lunch programs, and salaries for faculty and staff. My local taxes already takes a whole months pay. Can someone explain to the government, there is no money!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  56. Jen

    I subscribe to the old adage, "it's not the hours you put in, but rather what you put in the hours." Without resources and reform to increase the quality of instruction and value placed on education in our communities, increasing the length of the school day will only make it harder for students to gain a breadth of experience through sports, music lessons, or part-time work. Additionally, not all geographic regions of this country are suited to year-round school. My siblings attended such a school in Phoenix some years ago, and our family found that recess, physical education, and even just kids walking home at 3pm don't work when it's 112 degrees outside.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  57. Kay Chitty, Mt. Pleasant, SC

    In the days when reading, writing,and arithmetic were the focus of the school day, nine months a year was sufficient. Now Americans expect the school system to take over numerous other parental responsibilities. Teachers are held responsible for so many non-educational functions there is little time for academics. And no, I am not now nor have I ever been a school teacher! By all means, lengthen both the school day and the school year. Maybe then Americans could again compete in the global community.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  58. crystal

    I think it is too much!Kids diserve to be kids.Not all children don't make the grade. Why punish them all?Why not just make an after school program just for the ones who need it.After all you can not fill a shoe store with all size 6 shoes and expect everyone to find a pair that fits can you?I have had a teacher tell me that it's not her responsability to see that my child gets and understands his work.Well then whoes is it?Maybe there is your problem.Too many teachers are there going through the motions just to earn the check and they don't care beyond that.I diserve my time with my kids.I have been a good involved mom and my kids are both making the grade just fine.I was told by thier kindergarden teacher they were the first in 30 yrs who could already read and do basic math and I didn't send them to preschool like everyone else I TAUGHT THEM AT HOME.So maybe your problem is with the teachers.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  59. Gina

    Yes, I think kids should go to school all year long. I think they lose a lot of what they learn the year before by having such a long summer break. Then when they get back to school -they spend a month of the school year reviewing the material from the year before. Going to school year long also helps working parents as they don't have to worry about where their kids will go during the summer months.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  60. Bill Haywood

    It's ridiculous to think that added time would result in better educational outcomes. What is now lacking in schools is the teaching of fundamentals like reading, writing and critical thinking. Added time in a classroom will not alleviate this problem, only a change in standards and curricula will do that.

    I have watched while subjects like foreign languages, grammar,latin, physical education, drivers' education, music, ad nauseum have been slashed due to our unwillingness to fund liberal arts education for our children with predictable results .... a plethora of near illiterates.'

    A favorite hobby of mine is to count the grammatical errors I hear made by TV news talking heads. An inability to distinguish between transitive and intransitive verbs is probably the most common, (lay, lie) folowed closely by the inability to distinguish between the subjective and objective. (me, I)

    Adding more hours to the school day doesn't address any of the fundamental problems which have now become endemic to American 'education'.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  61. Dave

    Has anybody noticed that half of the world's top universities are in the United States and 70% of the students are from high schools in the United States. Our schools have a product that competes just fine on the world stage. We don't need a major change in our system just because the opportunity offered in our school system is not taken advantage of as it is today. Average statistics are very misleading and we have to stop using them. We need to work on our bottom half of our students and don't ruin what works for others.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  62. Salah

    I am strongly in favor of extending the school day and school year for all our K-12 students. Extra time in school will hopefully allow us to bring back subjects such as music, geography, and special interest programs. I hope, however, that we are prepared to invest in the success of this endeavor by preparing to pay the additional cost this will entail, including compensating our educators for the time they will have to put in to make this work.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  63. Mike in Mississippi

    The school year in our municipal public system has been extended from August 1st to May 30 for the past several years now. Increased energy costs, specifically school bus fuel, has been significant. I say learning expands as to fill the time alloted for it. The morale of the students also lends itself to major consideration. I say "no" to further extensions of school years. Focus on improved teacher quality. And put managers, not educators, in admin roles.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  64. Ann

    I feel like it would benefit , there are so many non-academic classes (not that they are not beneficial) and other time that is taking up core classes time, such as lunch. Proof is in the fact that the students who work extra at home and go above and beyond what they do in school accomplish more and do better on tests.

    There are many students that will not do that on their own and don't score as high as those
    parents that see to it that they study and do extra time at home. My daughter is a 10th grader with 4.0 and scores highly on all her national testing. It isn't because she is smarter , it's because I spend extra time getting her extra books (like testing books, etc.) and requiring her to spend that extra time .

    September 30, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  65. Jordan G

    A year round option isn't necessary if schools have proper funding to implement quality education in the classroom in the form of instruction, technology and professional development.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  66. Sarah Salter

    Year round school is a no brainer not some wacky idea that President Obama is advocating. As someone who got a Masters of Education (down the street from CNN at GA State), we not only studied theory and statistics, but heard from real people at a local Georgia county that had changed their calender. Instead of having one long break, they had breaks every six weeks. In that county, teacher burn out rates and stress levels went down and student test scores and information retention went up. Ask any teacher what they teach in Sept., and they will say that they review April and May because kids forget so much over the summer. With year round school and increased information retention that time can be used learning NEW information not repeating old. Studies have also showed that college attendence rates go up and juvenile crime go down when longer school hours/years are offered to low income students. And yes, you should pay teachers more!!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  67. Jessica

    My grade schooler has been in private, public and now a newly charter independent study program. I have always been a supporter of year round school, unfortunately in our town in California it turned out to be not profitable for the district and they discontinued the program. While in year round they children were able to retain more knowledge that they would have otherwise forgotten over summer recess. I do not agree with longer school hours. I have found that my third grader and kindergartner tune out after a while. We will be putting more stress on our kids.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  68. Desi

    Oh yes. Longer school days will definately benefit our children. They spend more time out of school than they do in school (185 vacation days). They only attend school for 180 days. This means there is time for more idle minds. And you know what they say, "An idle mind is the devils workshop." More important, they have a better opportunity to retain what they have learned. They will not have everything crammed down their throats. As equally important, a longer school year and longer school hours will keep a lot of children out of the streets (this should help to reduce crime).

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  69. David Jay

    I agree that students would benefit from a longer school day. I went to one high school where the class periods were shorter but were more and compared to the high school I attend now, with longer class periods and and one period less, I can see in retrospect how students could loose focus easily. However, as a California student I have witnessed first-hand the impact of the gross debt of the state and budget cuts of the school system. Expanding the school day would require more resources and I just don't think some school systems could handle that sort of economic stress, at least not for a decade or more. In addition, I have found that ,here in the Central Valley, more and more students would like to find constructive ways to use their time after school such as community service, which is a requirement in Modesto City Schools, Junior College courses, private courses, recreational classes, jobs to help out the growing rate of struggling families, and most would still like to be able to maintain a social life.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  70. crystal

    JUST IMAGINE HOW HIGH THE DROP OUT RATE WILL GO NOW.Not to mention when they all get tired and worn out on it,how far will your scores go then?

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  71. Alice Lillie

    No! Rather, shorten the day. Time goes much slower for kids than adults, plus smaller children tire. The attention span is short. Children are not small adults. They are *children.* Even teenagers are hard pressed to stay on task.

    And, do not lengthen the school year. Shorten it. Summers with camping, fishing, swimming, ball games, etc. are important for physical and mental growth. I can't begin to tell you how much my summers meant to me.

    The purpose, IMO, of education is to train a person to think independently and not in a box, be that box big or small. Individuals need to be more independent, and government, particularly nowadays cannot be trusted with education. In fact, government can be trusted to teach conformity and obedience, and not thoughtful questioning.

    Google me!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  72. Miss Claire

    It is very difficult to compare our educational system to those of other nations because we have such a unique population. I think an extended school day and year should be only for students that are not successful in schools – students who have not mastered English, have difficulty with mathematics, or consistently fail tests.

    Unfortunately, many parents view school as "free babysitting" instead of an essential investment in their children's future. American schools (unlike most other countries) have no real authority to suspend or expel students. Our public schools need more tools to discipline troublemakers and hold parents accountable for their children's behavior.

    By the way, if you cannot write a complete and coherent sentence on this comment section, then perhaps you should consider returning to school, even if it is a public school.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  73. LAMB

    It would be ok if you could trust the school you were sending your children to. I have had numerous issues with our schools here on Long Island and don't trust their judgement when it comes to the school making them safe. Putting a child on a black tar walkway in 80 degree weather because he was overwhelmed (due to being dislexic) was punished instead of finding out what the problem was – this is the mentality of the school systems here in Middle Country schools. My children always get sick, they don't have proper systems in place where they have the children wash their hands before eating. My son has come home with a black eye because he got hurt on the play ground and I was never called. He came off the bus and could barely walk because the gym teacher didn't properly warm him up before taking a physical fitness test. He was not given his medicine (inhaler) before gym because the nurse or the teacher forgot to send him down to the nurse so he had trouble breathing, and the list goes on.

    I am a parent who loves having her child home for summer vacation. Children need the family values and foundation a loving home gives them. And I don't trust the schools to take better care of my child than I do. As far as educating them... the school fights NOT to give my son the proper education he needs to help him with dysgraphia. He was tested by the school system who states that there is nothing wrong with him. My pediatrician stated to have him privately tested and they found that he does have problems that need additional help. So it depends on the school system your in. (sigh)

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  74. Darsheen Smith

    Yes students will benefit from longer school days. What else do they have to do during the summer besides "nothing"? I think school schould start in september and end in the middle of July. I also believe school hours should be longer. This will help parents out who may need to work late and also it will be more structered than after school care.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  75. Martha Lynn Fazio

    Longer school days would solve many after school supervision problems but nobody wants to pay for the increased time for teachers. What happens to the vacation industry which thrives in the summer?

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  76. Grandma Pat

    Of my 4 children, one went to year round school.
    She is now a teacher.
    The best student of all 4.
    It was helpful to me as a working parent.
    I support it.
    y

    September 30, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  77. Maynard Griffith

    I don't think this is a good idea, because I don't believe the students would learn anymore . The mind can only endure so much in a day and if you exceed that it would be senseless and unproductive. There would be a lot of burned out teachers and students. I hope this idea does not evolve in our shools.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  78. Scott - Houston, TX

    As the son of a US Navy Officer I attended 17 schools between kindergarten and 12th grade – both in the US and in other countries. Obviously I experienced a wide range of school systems from state to state and country to country.

    I attended a "year round" school while living in San Diego, CA. It was one of my best educational experiences. I never got "tired" of school – just as all the students were getting restless in class, it was time for another 2-3 week break from school. Families preferred it because family vacations could be taken at off-peak times during the year instead of fighting the crowds of travelers in the summer.

    Our current system is a throw-back from the days when children were needed to help work farms when we were an agrarian society. That is clearly no longer the case so why keep this outdated mode of thinking?

    Although I'm glad to hear that the government is looking at this issue, there will continue to be a deficit in our schools until our teachers are provided with competitive pay. I received a degree in education in 1995, but literally couldn't afford to teach as the salary in Texas at the time was around $24K per year. With rent, a car payment, groceries and paying back my students loans I was left with no option except to forgo teaching. I went straight to work for Southwest Airlines making more money throwing luggage on the "ramp" in a job that only required a high school education.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  79. Christine- OR

    When I was in high school the idea of year round school was in the works for the school district. I, unfortunately, had already graduated before the idea went in to affect. I am for year round school because I know that once kids leave school for the long summer vacation things that they learned during the school year are forgotten. The high school that I went to was place on three terms, with a three months on, one month off schedule. It still give three months a year out of school, but streatches them out instead of giving them all at once. It was a fantastic idea and I wish I would have attended school with that schedule.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  80. Joseph Lincoln

    I believe more school always helps young and old American's. However I live in NH. And many school dept. are cutting cost's left right and everywhere. including shorting school days and hours. Mostly due to lost Fed. money and poor economy. How will day's get extended when we can't get the kids through a complete school year right now? Foolish to even discuss. Fix the Other MAJOR issues in our economy before spending more that we don't have.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  81. Dennis

    I think that Quality not Quantity is what needs to be addressed here... I don't see how more hours of a bad educational environment will help anyone.
    There are too many students in this country that don't have updated book, computers, or even quality teachers...

    Fix this... That would be something to aspire to.

    This idea seems to be more evidence of the disconnect between the have's and the have not's...

    September 30, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  82. Johanna

    It's nonsense to prolong a school day or the school year. The students spend already way too much ineffective time at schools. What they need is qualified, dedicated teachers that they need to respect and good discipline. Prolonging the day just means prolonging the babysitting service that it already is. Too much time is wasted. Also, students crave stability and thrive in it. Mixing students up every year is bad for them. In many European countries students stay together in the same class throughout their school time, it gives them stability, a sense of ownership and creates lifelong friendships. It's emotionally hard for them to start each school year with new classmates.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  83. Scott C.

    Heidi,
    I say we extend the school hours in lieu of sending students home with homework. Homework is most often notr coordinated and some days we'd have it in 4 or 5 classes a day. The rule being to do homework first and home after dark meant you were house-bound most of the school year!

    Saving daycare/sitter costs is another global benefit. This issue also effects the type of job the parent(s) can go after. Paralleling the school day with the work day would better prepare our kids for the typical life as an adult working, provide better education ability and allow the parent to have more option on the job they choose.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  84. John Bruce

    School has already become a place where teachers babysit and send reams of homework home for parents to teach. My great-grandmother taught for 65 years and thoroughly believed that talented teachers could educate more in less time, sending children home with no more than a combined total of one hour of homework nightly. "Kids will have their whole lives to work long hours," she said, "but now they need time to be kids."

    Besides, There is no evidence to show that longer school days equal better education: "Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests – Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days)." (Huffington Post)

    Just say NO to longer school days years.

    John Bruce
    Las Vegas, NV

    September 30, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  85. Joe Hudson

    Heidi, I think longer school days is a great idea. But it is not a new one. When I was in school in the late 80's I was in school from 8:00 to 4:00. Now my kids get to class at 8:30 and is home at 3:00. Yet they have around 3 hours of homework to accomplish. I find myself teaching just as much as the teachers. Futhermore, being an active duty military member, I am amazed at how much schooling the kids in other countries get. And when you talk with them and find out that they are required to learn multiple languges to include English, it can be a little embarrassing. Clearly, American kids are behind in the education field.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  86. Jacob Staven of Racine,WI

    Quality is the Problem, Not Quantity. First they take away recess now they want to take away summer vacation, also many districts have taken out PE. Small wonder the obesity rate is on the rise. Children are restless enough. Let kids be kids. Too much structure is detremental to anyone, let alone a child. 180 Days and 8 Hours is long enough. We should not judge ourselves by the other nations of the world. President Obama should look at the Quality not the Quantity of our education system. Work On THAT Issue.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  87. Ezra

    Autonomy is the key to better learning. Longer days won't benefit students if they don't take a personal interest in their own learning.
    School should promote creative expression and autocratic mindsets. We need curious observers. Not test taking robots.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  88. Nick Perko

    We don't need more time in school; we need BETTER time in school. I am in college now, but I can recall that at least HALF of my high school and middle school classes were pointless because the teachers were horrible or because the curriculum failed to cover important material. More relevant material needs to be taught and we need better teachers.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  89. Joan

    Year round school would be a good change. As it is now, students forget too much over the summer & the first month or so in the fall is just review. The goal of an education is to create a population of critical thinkers, which means we (as parents) need to encourage our students to think and analyze what they are hearing. We also need to pay teachers a living wage & respect their abilities. Anyone who thinks teaching is an easy job has never tried to maintain order (let alone teach a subject) in a classroom of 25 eleven year olds!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  90. Jimmy Evans, Arkansas

    I don't think they should be in school longer,they are already loaded down with 2 or 3 hours of homework after their 7 hours of school.They don't need to be up till midnight!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  91. patricia maher

    I am all for extending the school year, but who is going to pay for the additional pay for teachers, also the added insurance costs and utility bills. I pay $3,800 dollars a year in taxes for schools alone and another $1,500 in township taxes. This amount will be increased if the schools are kept open all year. I am a senior citizen and I am struggling . I have not had a cost of living raise in the past two years, so how are we supposed to pay for the costs of a longer school year. This is not the time to do this. It seems that presidend Obama is all over the place with his ideas but hasn't a clue on how to pay for it all!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  92. Pat

    That is all well and good long hours, but until the teachers get the respect they use to have in school, it will not matter, it will just be a baby sitting job for the teachers. Our schools do not have the disapline that the other countries have. Our children get away with a lot. To boot you take away arts and music just think of what it will be like for our kids.
    The parents have to much to say when disaplining their kids, and no matter how much you talk about parents involment, some parents do not have the time being now both work they are tired when they come home and lot of them just leave the work up to the children, But when something goes wrong they are the first ones up to the school to blame the teacher. Again our teachers hands are tied they get no respect from the parents, I must get that point across to our President, It is a wonder we still have teachers. These parents maybe should home school their children.
    When I went home with a punishment my mom said to me," what did you do wrong", not what did the teacher do or how unfair the teacher was. So longer hours fine but give more resect to the teachers or our children will not learn. You should interview some teachers and get their view.

    Tell that to the President. If there is no respect for the teachers there will be no learning no matter how many hours they are in school,

    September 30, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  93. Duke

    The issue of extending the time kids spend in school is well-intended, but in my opinion, mis-guided. It basically comes down to parenting.
    It is the job of a PARENT (not the school) is to follow through on what their children should be doing in school. If parents increased their attention on reinforcing the importance and value of their child's education, we would undoubtedly improve what our children take away from their education. And the family would spend more time together as a family unit. Imagine that!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  94. Philip

    It's not necessarily the amount of time that kids spend in class that effects their education, negatively. It's the amount of genuine effort that today's students put forth into their own studies. Today's kids are showing up in school with cell phones, ipods, incomplete homework, untouched textbooks, and rotten attitudes that are in no way geared towards learning from or respecting their teachers.

    Lengthening the school days or years is only going to drive perfectly qualified, once dedicated, teachers away. If you want to increase your children's knowledge and academic standing in the world, you've got to stop giving them the opportunities and equipment to blow it. You've got to take charge as a parent, and stop blaming the schools for your children's embarrassing standing in the world, and take up some of the slack yourselves.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  95. Jerry

    I believe schools should run almost all year long once the children reach a certain age. The three month school break was originally developed early in the US history to allow children to work on the family farm providing their food and finance for their family. In the late 20th century that was no longer the case with family farms with the children primarily working is a rarity.
    So now schools should run longer to focus on education and like a previous post the grade to pass should also be higher.
    I also believe that if time and education plans were arranged correctly that our children could have a bachelor degree from a public or private school by age 18 or 19. Then teens can enter the work force without being in majorly in debt or they can continue on to doctorates degrees earlier. Work hours are usually 40 or 50 per week and as teens approach graduation they should be accustom to that type of hours.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  96. john

    Mrs Heidi,

    I personally believe that the extra education will only bore the students, which will then lead to the lack of attention. therefore, not paying attention will reduce the amount of education the students are taking hold of.

    Also, the amount of stress put down on the students can lead to anxiety.The worry of tests,long hours of every day to deal with, including what sports they have, they have no time to relax, wich will lead to exhaustion. which increases the amout of stress, and decrease productivity.

    Extra cirricular actvities will help students relax and enjoy certain areas of interest.

    -John Sonnier
    Mckinney TX, age 10.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  97. Tim C

    I think we need to go to year round school. I have seen both and think year round is so benifical to our children. I am also concerned who recently graduated students from college, who in an interview for a job wtih my company, could not answer the simple of answers in geography, math, and their communication skills. Several graduates thought that Atlanta was in France ( seriously). My company is a fortune 500 and is global.
    Not only going year round in school, but we need to ensure that our children get basics (reading, writing, math)!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  98. Mary

    Requiring students to attend a longer school day will have little effect as long as the schools in America are focused upon merely getting the lowest quartile learner to achieve a passing score on a standardized achievement test. Compare this to the Asian countries where the scholastic efforts of their highest achievers are recognized and lauded. America education must also address the disciplinary problems in America's schools, especially those in urban areas. Compare this to Asian education where discipline problems are few. America's educational system is in trouble;however, seeking longer hours without focusing on the root causes of the problem will achieve little and leave us farther and farther behind the Asian countries. Indeed, internationally,our country may be becoming known as the "Nation Education Left Behind".

    September 30, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  99. Joe B.

    I have taught in a year-round school, which in this case, same time
    off, but shorter. School starts earlier in the year, and ends later.
    Same amount of time in class, but breaks are spread out over the year, so
    retention is greater. The main problem was scheduling for the parents. On a regular schedule, teachers emphasis has to play
    catch-up the first of the year, taking up time from the instruction
    that was scheduled for the next level, grade. The Seigel Middle
    School in Rutherford Co. Tenn, had both schedules at the same
    time. It worked, and we were hoping to go to yr round permanently.
    Too new, too soon.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  100. Stephanie

    I believe that first we need to overhaul the school system that is already in place.
    1. Uniforms for all schools should be mandatory
    2 Summer break for all schools should be for a month and a half instead of two months
    3. Make the school system that is already in place tougher

    September 30, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  101. Julianne

    my kids need the time off for sports camps and need comradery with their friends. Time to work and start saving for college. They can't squeeze any more into a day. My boys are gone from 7 am till 6 pm, with only 3 minutes in between classes. They carry all their books all day long because they do not have time to go back to their lockers. Kids need time to be kids, not machines for government statistics.

    The US does not need to be #1 at everything, give the East the best Math and Science students.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  102. Mike Armstrong TX.

    The only people who wants to go along with this school thing is the parents that are looking for a year round baby sitter.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  103. Doug

    Writing "I will get better grades" on the blackboard a 1,000 times instead of 500 times does not make Johnny a better student.

    Extra classroom time does not address the issue of parental responsibility to be involved, prepare kids for school, make them motivated, eager to learn, and to give them dreams and goals. Schools have a hard time overcoming detached and bad parenting.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  104. Daniel from Texas

    I know of a high school graduate who didn't know what the holocaust was – We have a 1950s education system to educate children in 2009 – This is a great first step – We need to do so much more – I was told that I needed a high school diploma to get a job – That is not true anymore – Today it has just as much value as an Enron stock certificate unless you're going to college – We made an investment in education in 1950s – Since then all we have been doing are patch jobs when the system "spring leaks" – Today we have an education system that is nothing more than 50 years of patch jobs – No more patch jobs – It's time for a new roof!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  105. michael martin

    We don't need to change the hours of education for a children, we need to change the methods and the teachers. We have far too many lackadaisical teachers who are not interested in our children's future, who treat the job of teaching as a save easy way to earn a living.

    Example; my son has learned more spanish in a month from his teacher this year than he did last year after a full year in spanish class. The difference, this years teacher is from spain and can actually speak spanish. Last years teacher was a coach who took spanish in college. This can be applied to all subjects.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  106. crystal

    Seems like ppl are just looking for free daycare.Why did you have kids anyway? I enjoy having time with mine.I think that is just as important and helps provide for them mentally as well as emotionally.Stop just trying to get rid of your kids and think about the fact that they are just kids and need family time just as much.They also diserve to have lives as well.Shame on you all!

    September 30, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  107. Arnolyn Elise Spencer

    No, I don't think it is a good idea. Alot of us are already running on fumes, with full schedules. In our public schools, making sure there are qualified teachers and that they are doing their jobs in educating our children adequately is necessary. There is a real problem in our innner city schools with disciplinary problems and violence. This needs to be addressed immediately, by getting rid of the trouble makers that compromise the learning process for the children there, that geniunely want to learn. This is not happening, our teachers, faculty and parents need to be held to a higher standard.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  108. Rys Smith

    To answer the question, we should look at Finland, the world's top school system. Finland's children go to school 190 days a year, four to seven hours a day. That's comparable to the current American system and far less than countries like South Korea and Japan, who have 240+ school day years. In brief, it's far more important to improve the quality of teaching time than the quantity.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  109. Rich

    Most folks qork an average of 240 days a year, 8 hours a day. Teachers only work 185-190 days a year and only 5=7 hours a day, lets pay them by the hour and then extend the school year. It wouldn't cost a penny more for the administrivi and the kids would get more hours in the books and less hours on the vidoe game circuit

    September 30, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  110. Sherry

    My daughter has just started her freshman year. Her school has a block schedule and already she is stating that she is bored. A friends daughter just came home from her first semester at college and stated that the school didn't prepare her for college. Good luck getting teachers to work year round and getting the state of Wisconsin to put childrens education a higher priority then on the dollar tourism brings in to the state. Being a whore to the dollar has cost society in many ways

    September 30, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  111. Ann Romer

    The hours that schools are open should mirror the average workday of adults. I suggest schools be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Employers must buy into the 'workday' for parents and their children.

    Kids get into a lot of trouble in their neighborhoods unsupervised, after school. Or parents pay a great deal for after school care.

    Every elementary school I drive by has many school busses lined up after school, but even more daycare, after-school busses and mini-vans are waiting to transport children to yet another institution.

    I prefer the system in Palm Beach County FL where aftercare is available; the cost is too much for most families. But it's wholesome, safe, and at school. These schools are designated "Community."

    September 30, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  112. jere gallup

    No. Student education program lengths are fine and should not be changed. What should be done is more inspired, unsupervised programs that add incentives to read good books during after school hours and the summer recesses. Bypassing fundamentals through which we think, observe and communicate for ourselves can not be substituted for, but only improved through reading where they are presented a broad spectrum of new ideas. Learning is based on desire and should not be spoon fed or forced by government based on what they deem to be important for them and not the student. Students should be encouraged, not discouraged, and taught to think for themselves, a really dangerous idea for the times we live in now.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  113. Kelly

    Kids today already have long school days. However, they have many breaks. On a global scale, we are not preparing our children for success.

    Summer vacation is too long for our kids in grades K-12. Instead of one large summer break, we need to implement vacations every couple of months. Kids lose too much information when they embark on the long summer vacation.

    In additon to that, every state needs to have mandated state wide exams that kids need to pass in order to move on to the next grade. Teachers are so worried about teaching kids how to pass efficiency exams that they are losing interactions with our children.

    Our children are smart, we just need to show them how to embrace their intelligence and natural talents. A longer school year, will help teach kids more than science and math. We can incorporate art and music, and make our kids well rounded and prepared for the future.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  114. Julianne

    Deb, so you want all children to be the same? I have a son, that is capable of barely C's despite working hard. Do you throw him away because things do not come to him as easy as his twin brother. As far as sports go, sports are proven to keep kids out of trouble, raise their grades and a higher percentage go on to college, you want to break what isn't broken??

    September 30, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  115. Tim

    Children today have no respect or regard for the opportunies that are out there for them. We need to teach are children more discipline and respect and stop enabling them to think they deserve something instead of having to earn it. Education starts at home and until we change the way we raise our children, nothing else we do will matter. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink

    September 30, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  116. Mike Armstrong TX.

    The government needs to get there own act together before they start pushing there bad ideas onto the public.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  117. Maria

    When you add the missing days due to weather and holidays, our children are not spending much time in school. I think children can benefit from a longer school year (not the school day) by decreasing the summer vacation by a month. Children will become more successful and failure rates may decrease. As far as the teachers, they work during the summer anyways and therefore the electric bill will not be an issue (as mentioned in another email). As long as we are making changes, we should look at using uniforms to prevent gang colors and I believe it can also help the kids focus on studying versus their looks. I support President Obama 100%.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  118. JMD - In Northern VA

    Someone post, "school has become a place" where teacher's babysit our kids, etc., To that I say, which is better, a teacher babysitting or a prison guard monitoring our kids on lock-down? Or! Even worst,...more youths committing senseless criminal offenses?

    JMD

    September 30, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  119. Jim

    Adding time to the school day will improve our students education....if we fix our school system first. Longer days of the current environment is like extending daycare hours. Once again, we are looking for a solution to a question that may not be the appropriate question. The current failures and obstacles in our system is not a byproduct of "short days". Comparing our schools to the world's schools is irrelevant. No other country faces the complexities that accompany the most multi-cultural society in the worlds history. Extending our costs and current system is the very definition of insane...."Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" (Einstein I think).

    Jim
    Virginia

    September 30, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  120. Lillian Hord

    There is enough time spent away from the family. For some parents, children are away from them enough as it is. There is not enough quality time spent together. Either the parents are working late or even 2 jobs just to make ends meet, or the children are loaded down with homework. And with extra curicular activities at school, that makes it even longer. What is he thinking anyway?

    September 30, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  121. Julie

    I think year round school is allot better option then longer days. As long as the kids still got time off once in awhile to spend with family. This year our school cut out half days, so it would be nice to have a week or two after every quarter throughout the year then having to wait for 9 months to spend a significant amount of quality time with your child/ren.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  122. Daniel from Texas

    Great comments, John Sonnier from McKinney TX, age 10 – I do agree with him on one thing – School is very boring – We need to bring back the extra curricular activities and art and music and sports – We also need to add classes like graphic design, webmastering, computer networking, MEDICAL ASSISTING, nursing, etc – I also agree with the others that we need to make school year long not the school day longer – However we should offer after school programs to give students and parents an alternative to running around in the streets (This is mainly for urban areas like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, etc.) – You pay for this by kicking out of school students that don't want to be there – We pay too much money babysitting kids at the cost of creating environments that discourage learning for others –

    September 30, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  123. Saiid

    I think longer school daze would have helped the people posting comments here !
    If you read them more than half of the responses from people are full of typos and misspelled words !

    September 30, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  124. Sarah Salter

    I also think that it is important to correct a few facts that I have read in some of these posts. Year round school does _not_ mean going to school 365 days a year. Most year round school systems include a rotating schedule of more school time broken up with _more_ and shorter break in between. Some models use semesters or quarters like in college while my favourite is the six week model where there is break every six weeks with a slightly longer break during the summer. Under every model however, kids have plenty of time to "be kids" and enjoy a familiy vacation or two. Also, teacher pay today is ridiculous! Teachers make as little as $30,000/yr. in order to educatate our future whereas an IT engineer who is trying to make your iphone compatible with your dvr gets paid 5 times as much. Thankfully, my husband has such a socially important job that allows me to survive on a pittiful teachers wage. Many teachers struggle just to make ends meet.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  125. Donna

    Heidi,

    I am in favor of the school year being longer. My son has a learning disability & we ended up having to hire a tutor over the summer to come into our home to work with him. Having 3 months off during the summer is WAY TO LONG for kids because they loose alot of what they learned during the school year. Also, teachers having 3 months off during the summer is not right. I have a lot of respect for our teachers but I have never agreed with them having 3 months off. I don't know of any other job that lets you get the whole summer off~! Lets think of our kids & put them first.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  126. Lisa in Va

    My Children are already at school 7 hrs. class starts at 7:45 and ends at 2:45. They get on the bus at 6:15am and back home at 4:oopm.
    My son is in sports and gets home at 6:00pm. Then they have homework. If hours were longer ther would be no family time. Children would get burned out. They need time to be children.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  127. Sarah Salter

    Another alternative to longer school days, research has also shown that just tweaking the hours of the school day can increase performance. Most kids learn better later in the day, so by changing school from an 8-3 model to a 9 or 10 to 4 or 5 model can improve student attention and retention. Most parents are still in work until five anyway so no family time will be lost. Most working parents use before school care anyway, and most school activities can be moved to the morning hours with students choose to participate. This would also decrease the instance of kids getting in trouble after school.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  128. Gloria Nixon-John

    I am surprised that our bright President thinks that year round school will fix the problem. It won't. What we need are quality schools for all of our children, not just for our more affluent children. Schools reflect the ills of a society, and until we solve for some basic problems such as equal access and opportunity, quality teachers, concerned and loving parents, we will not solve anything with year round schools. If you break down the stats. you will see that students from safe, and thriving communities, (and schools)do well no matter how long they are in school.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  129. Regina

    Our children don't need to spend more time in school. I think they will spend more time concentrating on these tests that are so important for them to pass to the next grade. Also some of these teachers don't really want to teach. (My S. In law for ex.) Years ago I filled in for a Sub. at a Middle school and in one of the classes I walked into, the teacher was talking and papers, pencils, and anything you can imagine was flying in the air throughout the entire class time. I couldn't believe my eyes. What our children need is to learn more languages and homework every day. I already don't see my child enough and we look forward to our family vacation once a year. Also look what our liberal teachers made our children say about hope etc. it's brainwashing. Lastly don't expect too much from someone that is for abortion. Thank You.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  130. Aziza Diallo

    Hello Heidi,
    Although its great thing for kids to stay in school for longer hours, however, I don't think that is going to help them at all, because longer hours will make them tired, bored, and lost of focus. I believe, parents should take more responsability in tutoring their kids at home , family time will make learning fun and enjoyable than spending stressful longer hours in school.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  131. Jose G Rodriguez

    Why do we have to compare our educational system to others in other countries?
    Why not make the time more productive instead of making the school year with longer days?
    Would you prefer a longer day of work so you can get more pay? or would you work smarter in a shorter day being more productive and get the same pay as if you work more hours for working smarter instead of longer?
    Manufacturing companies loose money when the have to keep employees longer hours. If an employee finishes his or her work before the 8 hrs. in a day; isn't if better for the company to let them go home pay them for the full day of work and save on possible personal accidents, insurance for the worker and so forth?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  132. Bill Flemingssss

    I have read comprehensive studies even as far back as the 1980s. American students do not do as well in math, science, and liberal arts compared to our major competitors in Europe and Japan. U.S. schools have been stuck at about 180 days while our competitors have their children in school for up to 220 days. The resistence to more school days is not with children but with adults. However, teachers are resistent to more class time, too.

    Students would also benefit by staying at school until around 4 to do homework since many parents don't make them do homework or are too uneducated to help them.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  133. Terri Williams

    I disagree with President Obama on this issue, I say leave the school days and year like it is. If you want to do something put recess and prayers back in to our school systems. Children need a balance of everything, school, family and social time and with longer days their will be no balance. As far as longer school years that will mess up the enconomy due to less family trips during the summer which we look foward to each year. Let kids be kids, we are trying to make them grow up too soon! Final Exams in the first grade is absurd!!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  134. Melanie Sari

    In my opinion, a longer school year or longer school days do not solve the problem. I went through the German (Bavarian) school system, and although no school system is perfect, there are some changes that the U.S. school system would benefit from: a "year-round" school with more frequent but shorter breaks is more motivating for children, and the "burn-out" due to the long school year here in the U.S. that I have seen with my own children could be avoided. A more even distribution of the overly long summer break would also prevent the learning loss that occurs in the summer. As for the length of the school day, I do not think making it longer will teach children more. Rather HOW children are taught matters. More critical thinking, more emphasis on studying, learning things by heart. No multiple choice tests, as they do not express true knowledge. In essay questions, even the poor test-taker cannot be confused with other "options". If students have studied the material, they are able to answer and explain in their own words.
    Another very important thing the schools around us here are missing is frequent outdoor recess. Only children that get to run around and get oxygen moving to their brains can sit still and focus afterward. 2-3 short (10-15 min) outdoor breaks a day would be great. Instead, I see teachers stay inside if they deem the weather too cold (40 degrees F and cloudy), or worse, take recess minutes away from children for punishment ( no HW, disturbing class, agenda not signed!) Taking recess, especially outdoor recess, away is the worst imagineable thing that can be done to children. Instead, extra homework can be an alternate punishment.

    I agree with the President on many things, but simply making the school day/year longer will not solve the issues a lot of our students are having. It will take a whole different approach.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  135. Brigitte

    Yes, I believe children would benefit from a longer school year.
    Summer break is much too long. The students become lazy and
    they forget a lot of what they have learned the previous year.
    More days in school will keep them on track.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  136. dj shakespeare

    i could write poem after poem or maybe just one really long poem about the immense beauty that is Heidi Collins....my goodness...)

    September 30, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  137. Martin Thomas

    The school year thing is stupid. I'm in 7th grade myself and i believe that we should have 4 day weeks with 1 hour longer school days.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  138. kealan

    i am seventeen years old, and am a junior in high school.
    every day of school drags on, hour after hour. my day is spent
    counting down the minutes to the next bell. by the end of the day,
    im so drained i rarely find the energy to do things with my family or do my homework.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  139. Rory Welper

    More school for our children will enable them to be a greater competitive force in a world with a burgeoning population. This will secure their parent's future as well as thier children's future. This has become a "no brainer" to the success of the American way of life.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  140. Dylan

    Better American students will be created when American students begin to value education. We can make K-12 students go to school 9 hours a day, all year long but if they don’t “buy in” to the importance of education, we will be in big trouble.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  141. SpringWolf

    Extending the school day or year isn't going to make our children smarter as long as our schools and teachers are substandard. There are a large portion of great teachers out there, but because of tenor, we can't say that about all teachers. No other profession has this kind of performance system. It's out dated and should be abolished. We hold the schools and their districts up to high standards and refuse to give them accreditation unless they earn it. Why are we not doing this with the teachers as well.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  142. Brooke

    I think having a continuous school year would do a great deal for our children. Give breaks for vacations, even make the breaks the parents choice, like our vacation days at work. But too much is forgotten over three months of summer.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  143. Josh Harbour in Dallas

    Of couse it will. Our public education system is a joke. To get an "average" score on the SAT, a student can miss HALF the questions. How can we expect our students to compete with other countries when our students are only expected to master half of the content they are supposed to?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  144. Jose G Rodriguez

    It has been proven that working longer hours make you tire and it is when workers make more mistakes and accidents happen.
    So, what tell us that longer days is the solution to be competitive. If we don't get the lessons we won't get them no matter how much time we spend on them.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  145. Erin

    As a product of the public school system and a current college student, I felt completely unprepared when I started college three years ago.

    Public school standards are too low and I think increasing the amount of time students spend LEARNING can only benefit them.

    How can we compete with students from around the world who are several levels above us in education?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  146. Dan Leo

    I feel like it would dramatically help the education of the kids currently going to school, and would strengthen the future of the US. We have to compete with the other countries who already have been practicing this education system. Our education system is broken and needs to be fixed.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  147. Vonique

    The worst thing to do about education is to increase the days, hours and weeks children go to school. If anything, it should be decreased, and the quality should be increased. Less is more. We are trying to shove so much "knowledge" down our children's throats and they are so stressed out.

    Instead, we should teach them "how to learn", coping techniques, and how to expand their minds, rather than the specifics of a subject, so that when they are out in the work world, they will have all they need to learn how to perform.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  148. grant

    In Canada, homework for student in grades K through 4 has been eliminated because studies indicated that the time spent on school work was deteriorating family life.

    Quantity will not replace quaility.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  149. Bednarik

    Heidi – This question and the President's objective should be addressed in terms of the performance of students in a particular school district. This is not a global fix for anything. There are students who excel in their district while others are performing poorly. The problem here has two roots: 1) the lack of responsible parenting at home, and 2) the lack of proper teaching performance at school or poor administrative management – neither can be corrected by extended the time students are in school. It is not the amount of time the student is in school, it is how that time is spent.

    Dan Bednarik, PhD
    Highland, Maryland

    September 30, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  150. Leo-Rey

    Yes Kids will definitely benefit from more time spent learning. I am not sure however, that an entire year of school would be ideal. There is much value added from recreational activity that is undertaken during summer breaks.
    What I would suggest is implementing a policy for schools that have been known to have a history of under achievement. These schools should have extended school time for learning, possibly a one month early start tot the school year, or hours of extra classes each day.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  151. Chris in Mexico

    Over the years there have been numerous studies that focus on the brain drain that happens with U.S. students over summer vacation. We no longer need an agrarian school timetable. Even here in Mexico we have a longer school year. If U.S. parents expect their kids to compete in a global market they MUST go to school longer and take their education more seriously.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  152. Jose G Rodriguez

    I think the solution is basically that the student applies to his/her studies and may be count more on school mentors or counselors to see why the child is not learning as he/she should.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  153. Sean Nedd

    Ultimately, adding more days and school hours is good. All kids actually want to learn, no matter how they complain about the extra time, but these same kids are also little adults and they can discern if their time will just be wasted by bad teaching, staying hungry longer, further lack of exercise time, having fun, being able to take tests any better, adaptation to their learning styles, responsibilities at home (or work) being pushed back into their sleep time. The point here is that immediate benefits of additional teaching/learning time cross over with all other negative issues that pervade the education system as a whole.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  154. Jacob Ramirez

    It's no lie that the United States is academically behind a lot of other countries especially in mathematics and in the science fields. If we take a look at those countries that are leading us in fields that I feel are important, i.e. math and science, we see that they have longer school times and are functioning just fine. I feel that children today are not being challenged in areas that will not only prepare them for the real world but in fields that can open up good professions that will not only benefit them but this country. We need the doctors and the scientist, and we need them from our country not from other countries. Lets think why those countries are producing such more academically advanced students than the U.S.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  155. Brandon Cox

    I think it is a great idea. Education has always been very important for the future of our children. The President is not only the leader of our country, He is a father who loves his kids.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  156. Lea Martinez

    Funny this topic is hot now...I've studied the pedagogy of the United States and for the past 30-50 years our country would and can still benefit form an extended school year not day. Too much down time has proven to be Academically unsuccessful in a public school calendar. Children need time to play, absorb new information, and apply new knowledge and this is usually not obtained in our limited fiscal calendars. I fully support a new extended calendar for public schools but not an extended day.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  157. Charles

    I did year around school schedule when I lived overseas back in the 80’s and ABSOLUTLEY loved it! …I remember wishing that we had it in the States when I got back. Not sure of President Obama’s proposal but we went 3months on and 1month off. Might be a bit of juggle for parents like me and my wife during the 1month off but the kids will constantly be refreshed and ready to hit the books. Believe me, if I was excited by school in this system, ANYONE would be excited by school in this system.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  158. Elizabeth Sims

    Instead of looking at the school year which is currently handled on the local level as some cities have year around and others have traditional we need to look at the quality of the education and pressures we are putting on parents. I am the parent of two elementary school students and the finacial burden even in a two income household is enormous for snacks for the whole class, projects, and added classroom supplies. If we can't afford our schools now who is going to pay for all the extra days our hours and if we decide to cut the school days shorter then who is going to be able to afford the childcare costs? This isn't an education problem this is a fiancial problem!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  159. Dixie Proctor

    Maybe a longer school year, but definitely not longer school days. The fatigue factor, after school athletics and music, after school jobs for high school students would all be affected. Longer school days does not make for a better student. Let's look at the quality of education while the students are in school. Longer days just makes it look like they are getting a better education. Let us work smarter, not longer.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  160. Chris Kasza

    I have a post graduate degree and was just replaced by a cheaper H1B visa worker with much less education. Pushing education and not jobs is putting the cart before the horse. America needs jobs first, the education will follow on its own.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  161. Jose G Rodriguez

    Our kids are not less smart than other children in other countries. Generally we all have the same capabilities. The difference becomes when we decide to apply ourselves to something and the interest we have of becoming successful at what we do.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  162. Beth

    I was a teacher for 14 years before becoming a mom. I can tell you that what children need is SOMEONE at home for them. It takes financial sacrifice but it is what they NEED. It is a NEED for a child to have someone to count on. IF they had this we would not even be discussing more school because the kids would thrive. They need a parent there to thrive. This 2 parent working family thing does not work! Thanks to all the Hippies (my parents included) we have made the last priority our youth. There is no school or recreation program that will replace the love of a mother. I am not saying that people should not have options. I am saying that we need to take a good look at our values and our decisions. Where is personal responsibility? Kids need to run and play. There is something called ASSIMILATIONOF KNOWLEDGE... it means that what I have taught you does not just instantly become KNOWLEDGE. If you have ever had the experience of that moment when something suddenly made sense... that is what I am talking about. That takes time and relaxation. Let the kids run in the park! Stop asking other people to babysit and take an active role in their lives. Then they will thrive. The problem is not in our schools it is in our actions and our sense of personal responsibility.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  163. Brad in New Mexico

    Heidi,
    For about the first five years, after transitioning from school to the world of work, I showed up to work during the summer. But that's about it. My heart wasn't in it because I was used to having summers off and was disappointed about losing that. School best serves students when it prepares them for working for a living...and other parts of adult life (I knew all about prime numbers; but, I didn't know how to balance a checkbook.) And on the flip-side of the argument, I've known several teachers over the years who really weren't all that excited about teaching or kids. But they'd just shrug and say, "What other job has summers off?"

    September 30, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  164. kealan

    i am seventeen years old, and am a junior in high school.
    every day of school drags on, hour after hour. my day is spent
    counting down the minutes to the next bell. by the end of the day,
    im so drained i rarely find the energy to do things with my family or do my homework.
    i am not an anomaly. i feel confident saying that most kids feel this way.
    the idea that we, and every generation after us would have to endure three more hours of school made my jaw drop. i become mentally checked out by the middle of my day, and by the time school is out i can not focus on anything. Three more hours of school would do nothing but drain more of my time and energy. i would not pay attention during class, and i dont think many other kids could either. It would make more children dread school, make practice for sports stretch long into the night, and put more stress on our youth. there are better ways to increase the amount of education we receive.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  165. Elda Orozco Spackman

    Longer hours and school years at schools that mostly fail our children will only serve to cut into valuable family, and extra-curricular activity time. The Obama Administration assumes (wrongly) that children are not doing anything valuable after school, and during their summers.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  166. guatanabe

    Absolutely, the more time they spend in school the more they learned. It will also keep them out of mischief by not having so much free time.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  167. Tom Filley

    I think it is about time we think about education. Unfortunately the US culture needs to be changed too. We need to counter the fear of science that is being pushed so strongly by the religious right. Until the vast majority of the US views education as a good thing and not evil or irrelevant, nothing will help. The drive to succeed in the future begins at a very young age and begins at home. I became motivated to learn when I was two years old when I watched Apollo 11 land on the moon. That day is burned in my memory. My father encouraged me to always ask, "why" and he always tried to answer those questions.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  168. Dylan

    Better American students will be created when American students begin to value education. We can make K-12 students go to school 9 hours a day, all year long, but if they don’t “buy in” to the importance of education, we will be in big trouble.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  169. PATRICIA WEST

    At age 15 and 16, I lived in European with year round school. We had some very long days of school, 2 half days per week, and breaks of a week or so within the school year. Unlike the US, the transition from one grade to another was not broken with a long summer break – we did not have to spend the first month of each school year gearing back up due to information we’d forgotten while on summer break. The classes were longer in duration, and we processed a lot more material than anything I’d experienced in US schools. I liked it!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  170. Connie Ragle

    Heidi,

    It isn't the hours in the day that we need - it is the quality of what the teachers are teaching in the hours they have. My son recently graduated from high school from a school that was great in sports and poor in education. He is finding out that he was not prepared for college and is adjusting. For four years he had classes where they were shown the latest movies instead of education. Other countries don't send their children for more hours, they teach in those hours. I am tired of hearing teachers complain about their long days already and can't wait for breaks but what they are doing (oftentimes) is not using the hours they have correctly. So many of our schools have an emphasis on sports to the exclusion of education in basic areas. Sports, sports, sports . . . not much English, math, or science.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  171. Ganga

    In my opinion, longer school year, not longer school day is definitely necessary. Most of south east asia has longer school days, not the mimumum 180 days as in the US. Kids work a lot more there. They have shorter summer breaks. I went to school In India and we did not have a 3 month summer break , so we never forgot most of our basic stuff in Math and science. Here, having such a long break is awful for kids since they forget most of what they've learnt the entire year. As a mother, I have to keep up with the math and spelling and reading and writing throughout summer to make sure my daughter does not forget stuff. They could just increase the number of days break the kids get during christmas , thanksgiving and the spring breaks to make up.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  172. Mary Fromm

    NO NO NO MORE HOURS IN A SCHOOL DAY AND NO MORE TIME IN SCHOOL!!! Our poor kids have barely 2 months of a summer break and a very limited number of days off from school to just be kids. In the 1960's and 1970's, kids started school after Labor Day and finished the schoolyear by Memorial Day and snow days were automatically built in to the schedule. Those very kids are today our very successful teachers, doctors, lawyers, journalists, etc. We had short but important homework that could usually be done in less than an hour. We wore whatever clothes we had and time between classes was enough to use the restroom, go to your locker, actually walk to class and be seated. Now the schools are giving our kids
    4-1/2 minutes between classes, a set number of minutes in classroom time and even 1/2 minute times to start classes. Our kids have no time to be kids and no time to be a member of society. They have become the property and prisoners of the government and are told what to say, what to wear, how long to be there and they're fed up and angry – – hence you have bullies and fights and ADD problems,etc.
    The government needs to leave education to teachers and parents and govern the country!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  173. selena smith

    Instead of longer hours or days in school, I believe that students should spend more time in their classrooms. I am a teacher and I see kids constantly moving back and forth from their classrooms to go to programs that change every year.
    Weather it is a reding program or a math one, students continuosly have their days disrupted, and I believe that this causes the lost of interest and concentration in our students.
    President Obama should look at some European nations, where students stay in their classrooms most od the day and teachers go to them to teach the different subject matters. Of course kids have a little break now and then to use the restrooms and have a little snack.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  174. Laylah

    YES longer school days and shorter summers will be beneficial.
    compare our country to China and all others. whats the "worst" that could happen if our children learn more? teaches them responsibilty getting up in the morning when they are adults and working.
    how could anyone not agree with this? Obama wants what is best for our Americans! It is about time our fellow parents want what is best for our children.it is about time we keep our children in school longer Education is everything. Parents are working and dont have time or dont make time to educate there children. Nevada has one of the poorest academics in the country and It saddens me that despite the huge amount of money that is brought in to Las Vegas through tourism and gambling our Kids education is on the back burner.
    HOw could parents not want more for there children? the way our Economy is going it couldnt be a better time to enrich our children with being educated and teaching them responsibility and prepare them for what life is about its about having the stamina to get up every morning being leaders and being educated. 3 months of summer is way too long children have to sit around the house now due to parents not having the money to send children off to camp, girlscouts what have you and obesity has increased childrens brains are being overstimulated by T.V. and video games. Please people come to your senses how could you not want an education for our children it effects this entire generation!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  175. MICHELLE S

    Some kids need to live at school. Then they might be able to get a decent night's sleep and three square meals...sad but true.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  176. Elizabeth Sims

    Additional Comment:
    I've found the more time I have to spend with my children at home helping them study the better they do in class and on tests the problem with this is that it takes two incomes just to stay out of poverty so by time my husband and I get home we're often too tired to give enough of the needed attention to our children.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  177. Martin in TX

    President Obama is free to make as many recommendations as he wants but the decision should be up to the states. That being said, there are studies that show information is better retained in small doses, so school days should not be extended. However, three straight months off is probably a little too much. Cut it down to 2 months and see if things improve.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  178. Jodi

    Heidi
    I think extending the school year is beneficial to kids. I live in orlando & summer is very hot either you have to be in waterparks or home playing video games 3 months of summer is too much on parents & kids. My daughter will be eagerly waiting for school to open after a month of summer holidays. I am from india even there the summer holidays are a month now.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  179. Grace

    Hi Heidi,
    I believe that school children have too much time away from school. If we are programming our children for jobs for the future, I have no idea where children will find jobs that offer all of the national holidays, weeks off for religious holidays (Easter, Christmas and more). They then have two months off for Summer. We then complain that our students are failing in many of their major subjects, and that they do not have a lot of time to spend studying those same subjects. Times have changed since the school year schedule was devised. The US is behind in producing the better student and I think to do that our students need to spend more time to get better better results.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  180. PJ

    The thing that is needed for schools is more actual educational time in the schedule they already have, not more time without actual education.

    Our children need to be challenged and tasked, much like we are at work. If you aren't getting your job done at work, does the company increase your hours?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  181. Reuben

    In New Mexico what board members and administrators constantly hear is that students need is more time "instructional time" – "time in front of the teacher". If the president is serious about more school days for children then he has to be serious about funding it. I believe it's a great idea. The current concept goes back to when we were an agrarian country and it no longer applies. Go for Mr. President – But FUND IT!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  182. Tracy R.

    I live in Michigan and once again they are cutting school funding because of their budget crisis. I have to wonder how they could afford to run a longer school day or year. Our schools are failing because of lack of funds. It's not longer days or years, it's the quality of education our kids are receiving that should be the focus. If my 6 year old has to go to school 10 hours a day or all year round, I will home school her instead. I love being with my child and would not miss her childhood in lieu of someone's ill thought idea that longer days are somehow better for her.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  183. Michelle Dane

    No, Children learn from playing. They need the time off to decompress. To much stress for children is not good for them. They need to experience real life. I think kids spend to much time in school already. They are only children for a short time let them be children.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  184. Mrs. Yon

    Heidi,
    Children are let out @ 3:00pm and at my school it is 3:25 the president is talking about 3 more hours that would take it to 6:00pm and mine to 6:25pm this will not fly because in the winter months it will be dark!!!

    This puts children that walk in a dangerous situation sex offenders already try to abduct children in the daylight this will be like saying here they are come and get them!!
    I know this happens, Last year someone tried this at my school in the morning hours and there are a lot of parents that don't come with their children or pick them up!
    Plus a lot of schools will have to shut-down because they will not be able to afford it. Not to mention all after school activitys will most likely be stopped there will be no time, Dinner will be delayed some won't have dinner til 7:00pm or later and many children do not go out after dark how will they be able to burn off all the food they just ate??

    And what about the bus drivers some drive 2 hours or more droping off children and by the time they would get home they would have to go to bed! I just don't see this working out I'm all for better education but a time change will not work!!! The president needs to think this through more the american public does NOT have secret service to escort their children like he does,This will mess with our day to day lives to much. All parents I've talked to about this said NO

    September 30, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  185. Kathleen

    Longer school days, are you kidding me!! I am so glad I home school my daughter. Schools and teachers have become nothing more than a babysitting service. My daughter studies at home for 3-4 hours a day and if she keeps up with the current pace she will graduate high school a year early.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  186. Maritza

    Hi, Heidi!
    I'm not agree with longer time in school. The kids need time to extra activities and sometimes they don't have time for that, because they have a lot of homeworks. I think it is not only teaching time, but if the quality of theaching.
    Teachers should provide homeworks for kids not to parents, because then the children do not learn well. Also, if they spend more time in school they would have no time to spend with family, because where we living now they normally arrive at home at 4:00 pm.

    Thanks

    September 30, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  187. Billy

    I agree with President Obama. My fiancée is a teacher at Mastery Charter School in West Philadelphia. I think it’s amazing that with longer school days and years, both student violence and turnover have dropped by 85% and 30%. Over 90% of Mastery's students have enrolled in higher education. Her school has caught the eye of Washington and has been recognized as one of the leaders in closing the educational gaps.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  188. Christopher Lodin

    Hi
    I'm a 14 year old home schooler. I don't go to school but I have friends who do and I think that longer and more school days won't do much! Kids won't want to go to school even more , They'll just be more tired and we learn more on our own more then in a class! If you are going to add more school days maybe one or two more hours but for four day a week. It's the same time just less days.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  189. Lisa Richard

    As an inner city teacher, lengthening the school day and the school year is not the answer to fixing our education programs. If President Obama wants to improve our outdated system, he should mandate that students in ALL middle schools must actually pass middle school to move on to the high school. Instead of socially promoting failing students that when they get to the high school level, they have no accountability for themselves. I suggest there are other things within the school system that need to be looked at with a higher microscope instead of lengthening the time that our inadequate students are in chairs

    September 30, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  190. Jodi

    I agree that kids forget what they have read in the previous grade during summer. In India they give summer homework so they do not forget what they learnt in the previous grade. They are expected to complete the assignment & bring it back to next grade.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  191. Dorothy

    While I believe that children should be in school as much as possible, I believe that this is happening now because they have changed the format so much over the years that children are being taught the wrong things. They are not sticking to the basics. Too many frivilous subjects are being taught. Also, children need to have some time off in the summer for family. Maybe they could cut the summer vacation down to 2 mos.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  192. David

    Extending the school day may or may not help education but it would help to counter the influence of violence on our disadvantaged population. Less students on the street means less juvenile crime. As a result less can be spent on prison systems and more on education.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  193. John Gimbel

    I think the problem goes far beyond more time being spent in the classroom. I think we need more qualified teachers and more challenging classwork. Plus, I think a majority of the problem comes from kids' lack of interest in learning. These days kids would rather watch TV, play video games and play with there iPhones. Also, I think kids these days have a lot of pressure from their peers, particularly in the poverty culture, to actually be underachievers. In the poverty culture, many kids put pressure on other kids to be part of the group and not to excell and rise above it all.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  194. Teri

    Longer school days......NO thank you. It is hard enough for a kid with ADHD to sit in school as long as they do and focus, be still, and keep quiet.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  195. Leigh McCann

    I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Outliers" where he cites studies done by sociologist Karl Alexander. Mr. Alexander tested the reading levels of 1st to 5th Graders in September, June and then again the following Sept. From Sept. to June all reading levels improved across all grade levels and all socio-economic levels. However, when these tests were administered again in Sept. (after a two month summer vacation) the results were much different. Students from wealthy families continued to see marked improvements in reading levels, middle income students less so, and low income students less than 1% with a decline after grades 1 and 2. Gladwell concludes that schools are doing what they are supposed to do, we just need more of it!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  196. Lillian Sanpere

    Why is it that Europe seems to be so ahead of us in so many social things?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  197. helen

    President Obama is making a big mistake on the school situation. The kids need more quality schooling not quantity schooling. It is proven that our kids spend more time in school that the other countries. President__ get back to finding jobs and food for our homeless in the U.S. You are trying to do too much is such a short time and you will burn yourself out. I have been a strong supporter but I have to admit I am disappointed in some things you are doing.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  198. curt w.

    Instead of looking at longer school years, we should look at who we are trying to educate in this country. We take every learning disabled child, every emotionally disturbed child, and every child that could care less about being educated and put them all in the same classroom. Then we tell the teachers its their fault that things aren't right. Instead of comparing the US to other nations results, we should be looking at the way the other nations educate their kids. They weed out the incapable, and the uncaring students and "leave them behind". Then they take the students can do and want to do and concentrate on them. Equality of opportunity is a great idea. but it's not practical. As I was taught in college "Nothing is so unequal as equal treatment of unequals (sic)".

    September 30, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  199. Nina

    In Switzerland, children go to school only 4 days. Yet they are among the highest rated. Our children do too much of busy work rather than content. A study hall to do homework after school day is a must. My school did that and students liked it.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  200. Jodi

    More holidays during winter around winter is good for kids to enjoy here in florida area than summer.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  201. Charlotte

    Will longer school days end the 2 plus hours of homework? I would favor a longer day if this were the case. When I went to school we went 1 and a half hours longer with very little home work. we had more class time to do the work that is now forced to do at homework.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  202. Dick Schonewolf

    Heidi, In your last segment you made one mis-statement. You said that All parents want the best for their kids. While this is true for those who value education, there are an alarmingly large number of educationally disadvantaged parents who care more for themselves than their children. I mentor in a Middle School and see it every day. My wife works daycare and sees it everyday Until we change parental attitudes about education, the apple will not fall far from the tree, and these disadvantaged children will do no better than their parents.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  203. Nal Viswanathan

    I believe longer school days do benefit our kids. Compared to many nations, our country has the shortest school day. In order to compete with other nation's kids, and prepare our kids for future, they need to get well prepared. I don't subscribe to all year school. Kids needs to have their summer fun too.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  204. craine

    I agree children should spend more time in schools and make them the pride of the community.
    I think one of the biggest big for the education buck is when the incident of the other day can be prevented.

    I suddered when I saw the young black children beat a young black scholar to death. A fool with a cell phone would rather take pictures instead of calling the police and grown folks in the community not stopping those kids who did not not have enough sense to fear for their furture and lacked self, civic duty, and decency for the santity of life.
    Yes kids should have more time in school...its like chicken soup...it couldn't hurt! But make sure that the commitment and civic duty of the school is to uplift the community perserving the bl;essings of liberty to our posterity.
    I pray for that community there must be many kids their afraid and sad.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  205. AFR

    NO, students will not benefit from longer school days.

    Students will benefit from improved educational programs that provide "qualified" instructors and that focus on Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and the Sciences. School systems need to be held accountable for providing sound educational opportunities. Students and parents need to be held accountable for making the most of those opportunities.

    The longer school days proposal smacks of socialized daycare and will drastically increase costs for administration, teachers, security, utilities, food services, maintenance, etc.

    Quality education is the key; not longer days in school lockdown.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  206. njbaker

    It appears many of the posters here who oppose longer school days/year round school, might themselves have benefitted from more time in the classroom!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  207. Rob Furman

    This is just another example of people possibly making decisions with no research nor investigation involved. How does spending more time doing the same poor curriculum with poor support and no more money to fix the issue going to help our students? If we spend more time forcing our students to pass No Child Left Behind tests (which failed miserably in Texas when it was there prior to making it a national mandate) how does that help us to move ahead in the international arena? You see, NCLB forced educators, like myself, to take a set of standards and required us to teach to those standards. Sounds good right. The problem with that is so vast I am going to try to do my best to explain. First, there are so many standards that it is impossible to shove all that into into a kids mind with out being able to master any of them. If someone would actually look at the international education trends they may see that most nations choose say 10 standards and focus on those few until they are mastered. Sounds like to small a number? Then why are they better then us. Secondly, this is not an issue of the schools. Let's all be honest the teachers have become more effective with better research, better technology, and better means of dealing with issues. This is not totally a school issue. THIS IS A PARENT ISSUE. Parents do not hold their kids accountable at home. The kids do no wrong in the eyes of their parents. The parents do not require excellence from their kids in school. Instead of how it used to be when my mom would say " the teacher is right and if the teacher is wrong, they are still right" and " you discipline my kid at school then call me and I'll give him double at home". Parents fight the school to make things easier for an "A" grade, or to get their child out of a failing class instead of telling them they need to just work harder. The parents have enabled their children to coast through school and not really have to work all that hard. And, of course this is not every parent. Don't be so simple to think I am talking about only you, but if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck.....

    September 30, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  208. Mrs. AnneMarie Coleman

    Hello Heidi, I am a mom who home schools 3 children. I chose to take them out of public school system 3 yrs ago. The reason why, we need a more unified way of teaching the children. From school to school and classroom to classroom you are playing russian roulett with our childrens education. One teacher actually teaches the children why the other gives the lessons for the children to learn. I really believe the children should have not only more time in school but more productive time in school. I do not give my children a whole summer off they get a lighter schedule (I stop Art, Science, Geography, Music), I keep them doing Math, and all forms of Lang. Arts. You won't believe what it has done for them. In school I was told 1 of my children had a learning disability. But at home she has not only excelled but is completing 2 yrs in one and one of my other children actually got double promotion last yr from third grade to 5th. We owe this to our childrens future to give them what they need to succeed even if it means less playtime. In the long run they will appreciate their life of success.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  209. Marianne

    No.way. I would absolutely take out my children and homeschool them with the same (or better) quality of learning, but within a 3 hour day. My poor 5-year old goes for 7 hours a day already and that makes me sick.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  210. Sarah Salter

    I hated the "debate" section that I just saw on the TV. You had the pro position articulated by a working educator with advanced degrees with documented and successful real world experience vs. the con who was the head of an interest group. If she had other qualifications similar to her counterpart, CNN did not show that in her info boxes. Heidi asked if there was research out there. The professional said yes, there is alot. The nonprofessional argued no, which is incorrect. Heidi left it at (and I'm paraphrasing) that she was looking for the studies and didn't see them. That is why I CNN, I expect you to present the facts and the research. In this case you didn't, and what should have been a simple answer of highlighting the research out there turned into a he said/she said. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I still think that if you give people all the facts that they will see the what is correct, especially when you are talking about issues that are research and results based rather than based in just opinion. BTW...there are plenty of other things wrong such as funding, teacher pay, and hiring practices (coachs should not be hired as teachers unless they have a background in the subject as well).

    September 30, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  211. Jeff Summerlin

    Longer school days is not the answer. Our local school system added an extra hour to our elementary schools this year and it has been very demanding on the teachers and children. Just think about it people we have 4 year old children going to school for 7 1/2 hours a day already. Do we really want to make our small children go to school longer than we are required to go work?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  212. The Real Issue

    The Real Issue my fellow Americans is not an edict from the President of the United States. The Issue is our youngster's education. Rick Perry, a principal and an educator of note, is right on the mark. We need a longer school day and school year with a curriculum that allows our students to perform at a greater level.

    Our youngsters need more focus and less time devoted to cell phones, computer games, getting in trouble, and doing basically nothing at all (wasting time). Youngsters need to be challenged and brought into school climates that have strong updated curriculums, great and dedicated teachers and staff, strong programs that include higher level mathematics, science, literacy, fine arts, dramatic arts, musical arts etc.

    With this type of school environment/curriculum/programs/ and subjects, our students will improve and have the best test results that will substantiate the costs within our country!!

    Our students in every school must have the best and this will happen with more productive time within the school day!! Other countries have it for their most prized possessions, and we should also. And that's the Real Issue Americans!!

    September 30, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  213. Jose G Rodriguez

    Anyway, what is Mr. Obama's agenda for students to stay longer in school?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  214. Sandra

    I think it could go either way. Childrens attention span only goes so far. After awhile, minds drift, they stop paying attention. Longer school days wouldnt help.
    On the other hand, while extending the school year may or may not be a good idea, Ive wondered about the all year round format. Shrink summer vacation down a few weeks, and stick those extra weeks somewhere else throughout the year. A month, month and a half in summer, couple weeks in the fall...
    As mentioned in an earlier comment, 2 1/2 – 3 months break at one time is too much. The longer you stay away from something, the more likely you are to forget it. Come June, most kids are MORE than happy to toss their books and forget everything they just learned. Therefore, much of the first couple weeks of the new grade is a review of whatever they forgot last year.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  215. Anna

    I could not disagree more with Deb, who suggests that we should cut after school programs. She calls such programs "silly things". It is discouraging when people assume that just because kids aren't in school they aren't learning. The idea of longer school days concerns me because it would take a very good teacher, and I'm afraid most could not step up to the task. No Child Left Behind has taught our children to learn only within certain boundaries, and I would not want longer school days to perpetuate this kind of do-the-minimum thinking. If parents want their kids in school until 5pm, we should fund a wider variety after school programs, and encourage kids to get involved. It gives them an opportunity to pursue a real interest, become a leader, a team member and a responsible citizen.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  216. Mike Lonergan

    Kids need their summer vacation, look forward to, need it, just as adults deserve theirs from work. What we need in this country is vocational educations and training, as much as academics, so that those that don't have the academic ability or GPA's to qualify for college have the opportunity to learn a skill or trade. That is what will bring us back from the brink of financial ruin. . . when American Engineers design and the American Tradesmen produce we can again become competitive; then we can start buying from within and stop borrowing from China to buy from China.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  217. Darrell Collins

    Sep/30/09

    Hello Heidi,

    I've worked my entire career in public education. I am forty-one years old.
    The school year should run with eight or nine weeks in session, then two or three weeks off, and rotate accordingly. This schedule would run year-round. This method gives the students the intensity they need to learn in two months of focusing on a set amount of units or chapters that can't be negotiated away, as,'We'll get to that chapter next semester," at the expense of the final chapters never getting covered because June came around too quickly.
    The variability of 8-or-9 weeks, in, and 2-or-3 weeks, out, is to adjust for holidays during the calendar year. People who complain about this supposedly making child-care harder to schedule, is an excuse to keep things in the failing mode we are stuck in. Longer school days are a cover-up for public-funded daycare, period.
    Everyone involved in schooling (teachers, students, staff) are fried by the time Thanksgiving comes around, and by the time Christmas break starts, they are just plain burned out.
    The school day should not be longer than seven hours. Students are not bottomless pits where tons and tons of information can be jammed without enough time to process data unconsciously during play and sleep (longer days equal more homework and less sleep).
    Standardized tests are not the answer to anything. I wrote, edited, and scored 'No Child Left Behind' tests for two major assessment publishers. This faulty model makes schools 'teach to the test' and leave out genuine learning experiences.
    I have no faith, whatsoever, in Arnie Duncan. He is just another yes-man that came to us out of the train-wreck of Chicago Public Schools, and Obama (for whom I voted) made a huge mistake in hiring Duncan in the first place.
    Politicizing education will keep it in its failing methods, while the kids lose out in the short and long run, again and again and again.

    Thank you,

    Darrell Collins

    September 30, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  218. Jim Nicely

    It would seem to me that if we are able to teach children to read, as young as two years old, that an opportunity is being missed teaching these same youngsters the basics of mathematics and science.
    Instead we would rather have all these talented computer animation techs rendering blood and gore.
    Give me a break. I would gladly fund software that is written to give this country an edge up instead of a continuation into the abyss of being dumbed down.
    If a youngster is put in daycare anyway, what would be wrong with a little cranial stimulation that their brains are craving?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  219. Deborah Elliott

    We working mothers here at the office often wonder why the kids' school day can't be more consistent with our work day. School starts early (some have to get their kids to school by 7:15 a.m.), then the kids languish in aftercare while we finish our 9 – 5. It's a long day with a lot of "wasted space." A shift in school hours would make the kids' time there more productive, and put them more in league with their counterparts in the world, and make life easier for us.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  220. KIm

    What academic benefits will we see with a longer school year ? We currently have all year round schools and what results have we seen ? We have choice now with our all year round schools. What data and evidence are we to base keeping schools open all year long ? Opposed ! When do we resolve the reauthorization of NCLB,PL107-110 ? How much money do our school systems need this year and we're opening the discussion for all year long ? Talk to your local school system principle about her operational costs and budget with Public Education. Our National Bus Association was just on CNN in need of money. NC Perdue used educational lottery money to balance the state budget. The Washington Teacher blog has many educational connections upon which you can research for a realistic perspective. Saddle up education and what are they doing ?Who is funding schools open all year round ? How's your current budget working out ? NCLB mandates ? Let's get the reauthorization of NCLB straightened out ! One fire truck and a marching band ! Engage to motivate ! Opposed and see data and research !

    September 30, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  221. Jose

    What is Scientific Integrity Mr. Obama?

    September 30, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  222. Tara

    It is ridiculous to think the school day should last as long as a work day! Adults can handle those hours but kids cannot! Wow. I'm sorry for the working mothers out there but we hard working stay-at-home mothers have, and look forward to, giving a lot of our own education to our children once the arrive home.

    September 30, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  223. shemaya

    Our education problems are not a matter of days in school yearly. As a former teacher all I can say is that we need to quit treating education and teachers as a sacred cow.

    Having said that our problem is the teachers and the low quality of their teaching and other services that are now expected to deliver in loco parentis. Too many education majors choose it after failing in other degree paths. Too many want a high paid (in rural areas) job where they can often do as they please, or teach (only) to a state test, etc. So it is not the days because this would simply raise their checks for what will turn out to be the same level of education eventually because teachers, like other workers, will default to the easier level of daily work.

    Teachers cannot and should not replace parents as creating good citizens and productive people. I can tell of school culture and it includes teachers who are drug users and addicts, adulterers, perverts, every personal problem that exists in others. A parent with a problem may effect a few kids, but teachers effecting 20, 30, 40 students at a time? My principal told us regularly not to "let our business out into the community." In other words keep the personal and sometimes illegal habits secret and unexposed to parents and the community in general. Watch each others' backs.

    I'm sure there are good, professional and effective teachers and they do their job no matter what schedule school follows. But they are not the majority and kids are not being educated. As a teacher, who at one point, taught special education and alternative school students who had been basically thrown away to read or pass the GED. I taught CAD, Social Studies and computer related programs and special projects, I watched my own children get cheated of education. Why are teachers overlooked as the common source of the common problem of poor education?

    The result are students with third world learning and skills who are culturally submissive, culturally indoctrinated, and suitable as low level, low paid employees. College graduates may have a decent high school level education.

    September 30, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  224. Starr Nagdev from CA

    Our U.S. Constitution is based upon the belief that educating our people will create contributing citizens. I am so tired of the lack of focus and funds going toward education. The state of CA is in trouble and yet the first thing they eradicate is education. I am a motivated, recent graduate student who returned to school to become an educator because I want to make a difference in our country – yet, I cannot find a job as a full time teacher in the state where I live! The state of CA and the rest of the U.S. needs to spend some money to investigate best practices – beyond test scores and possibly elongate the school year and programming so that we can compete globally and remain an educated populace! Remember America – we mandate that every student MUST lawfully remain in school until the age of 16. We do this because we believe that education creates prosperity – education creates contributing citizens – education equals freedom. As tax-payers, it is our duty to better our schools and country's goals for education- WE ALL BENEFIT FROM THIS – whether you have children or not! HELLO!

    September 30, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  225. Jeff W

    My girlfriend is a teacher and it's true what she says: "Those who are not in the education system ALWAYS know how to fix it." –note the sarcasm.

    Also, the 2 people that were interviewed.....the woman made a valid point in stating that the teachers should be focused more on teaching the kids the information provided to them and not worry about being nurses/counselors/mediators...etc. What was the "ingenious" answer from the other person (the man who had longer school days), "That's what you signed up for..."

    Wow....are you serious? No, that's what COUNSELORS are for.....that's what SCHOOL NURSES are for...etc. Teachers are not a cure-all as this society wishes to believe. If you want them to take on more social responsibility during the school day/year, PAY THEM MORE!

    September 30, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  226. Jeff W

    Here's an idea................make sure the educators are QUALIFIED and that will transcend the educational barrier between teacher and kids.

    September 30, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  227. Rock Solid

    Adding stress wont help at all. They should make math classes try different styles of teaching instead of " I show you, now you have homework over it." They should explain it so other styled learners can grasp it.

    September 30, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  228. Ellen Childress

    I am a teacher in a year-round school. I don't think that keeping students in school longer will help them learn any better. The real problem to be addressed is student motivation and parental involvement. Teachers can learn all of the new methods out there but it won't matter unless the students are motivated to learn and they see the importance of an education. Parents need to be involved with the schools as much as possible. Sometimes we only see the parents when there is a problem with their child. They tend to believe everything their child says and blame the teachers who are banging their heads on the wall trying to get them to learn a concept. In addition, why is the school year 180 days? If it is based on a agraian society then maybe we need to rethink the length of the school year. Where I work we enjoy our breaks and come back refreshed and ready to teach.

    September 30, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  229. sherry

    My grandchildren come home with a LOT of homework. Somethimes as much as 2 hours every night for the three older ones. My daughter is a single parent. She has four girls ranging in age from 4 yrs old to 12yrs. If they had longer school days and still come home with so much homework it would be even more stressfull on her and the children. She would still need to help each one as well as to try and get supper ready and other evening chores.

    If I had to vote one way or the other. I think extending the school year another month or six weeks, would be better.

    Other concerns of mine is the quality of the teachers and how would we pay for this?

    grandma

    September 30, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  230. KIm

    Kennedy just passed away and was the chairmen in charge of reauthorization NCLB. What progress has been made to agree to disagree for resolve of PL 107-110 ? It's been put on hold again ? Is this about academic gain or tough economic times ? I'm following the war and more troops with missiles firing in Iran. NATO and Afghan with McChrystal. Now they're getting us all upset in education and that's my heart and degree. Send our school system principle the money he or she needs under Pl107-110. How about let's get that straighted out first ! Show the cut of dollars on that stimulus check for education and call up a school system superintendent. Bring them on for perspective with CNN ! Go get the principles in our school systems ! Washington State just had a teacher protest that was not legal and the judge said get back to work by Monday or you'll see a fine up to $200.00 a day. The protest was about smaller classrooms. How much of the budget was cut in your local school system this year for needed support and programs ? Bees can't sting and make honey at the same time Dr. Duncan ! What's going on with privatization and corporate ? Finland,Denmark and Sweeden are in the lead globally but are they teaching to a test under NCLB ? No ! Race you to the top Dr. Duncan ! If we have school choice currently for all year round then compare and contrast data on results. This sounds more driven in view of tough economic times than the academic benefits of children. Prove the data wrong ! Call Guskey and Marzano for an interview with CNN ! End the mandates on NCLB,it's not working ! Hillary Clinton !

    September 30, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  231. Toni in Oregon

    I'm always amazed at how people think a longer day and year will help kids learn more. Most homeschoolers have higher scores on standardized tests even though they spend less time in school (my 6th grader spends 3-4 hours a day, an increase from last year). Unfortunately, this cannot be done in public schools because of the following problems:

    1. Behavior and discipline issues take up an increasing amount of time (just ask long-time teachers to compare today with 30 years ago). Too many of our students are coming from dysfunctional and disrupted home situations, often due to drugs, alcohol and violence. Some might say that increasing school time for these kids would be a good idea. Indeed it would provide a refuge for them, but there are greater societal issues that need to be addressed. Otherwise, we will end up with the state taking over as parent.

    2. Teachers no longer get the same support from parents that they used to. A former teacher of mine told me one reason she took early retirement is that parents would argue with her about behavior issues rather than take their children to task. When my mother started teaching almost 50 years ago, it was the rare parent who did not attend parent-teacher conferences. By the time she retired 10 years ago, she felt lucky if half the parents showed up. Those who did show had the same responsibilities as those who didn’t – like jobs – but they made it a priority to be involved in their children’s education.

    3. An entitlement mentality has swept the country. Many in the younger generation think they have a right to a good-paying job, lovely home, two new cars, etc., as long as they merely show up for work. The importance of hard work, responsibility and a job well done is fading. I think this mentality has also seeped into schools. Kids think they should get kudos for all sorts of things that used to be expected baseline behavior. Rewards should be given for truly exceptional performance – not merely academic, but in all areas, so that even kids who struggle academically can be praised for exceptional kindness, etc.

    4. The self-esteem movement (partly responsible for #3) has greatly damaged our schools. I believe kids are eternally and inestimably valuable, but even kids see through the false praise of the self-esteem movement. They would feel better about themselves if they knew they had worked hard to truly earn something.

    5. Our country's obsession with entertainment has also affected the schools. Kids think school should be fun and entertaining, rather than realizing it is a place where they are to work and learn, which will sometimes be fun and entertaining, but not always.

    6. Younger children especially are not developmentally ready to be in a seat for so long. Hence, the over-diagnosis of ADHD. This is partly the fault of families who do not encourage physical activity for their kids, but also a problem with our educational system. Longer days would make it harder for those kids needing more movement time, unless part of that time was strenuous exercise (not some of the mumbo-jumbo that passes for P.E. nowadays).

    So until we address these issues, I don't think a longer school day should be considered. Perhaps adding a week or two to the year might help (last spring our district ended up cutting a planned week because of budget shortfalls). Personally, our family relishes our 2.5 months of summer, when we connect with each other while having all sorts of fun at home, camping, visiting the swimming hole, etc. Of course, too many families do not have this option so that kids are left on their own every day in the summer, so maybe a couple of extra weeks would really help these kids. Year-round school intrigues me until I think of our weather here. I love it that our time off happens during our dry (and perfect) summers!

    September 30, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  232. Robert Lake,MI

    Good for Obama, it does surprise me that a liberal would actually suggest that kids dont go to school long enough! Teachers all across the country will be whining but oh well its about time they earn their paychecks. I know of no other job where you can make $35,000/yr starting out and get 4 to 5 months off per year paid! I say to teachers out there stop whining about how much paid time off you get and the decent salary to boot and start teaching these lost kids! If you are worth what you say you are then prove it to the American people. Get our kids`s test scores up and run even par with the rest of the civilized world before you cry about how bad you have it! Besides the longer kids are in school the less time they have to be menaces to society!

    September 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  233. christophe

    I was born and raised in France. I went to public school (which is the case for 90% of the French population) until College.

    Schedules:
    First, Pre-school starts at 3 years-old and is four-days per week, 8:30 to 11:45 until kids are 4. Then school hours are 8:30 to 4:30. Wednesday was a day-off.
    In Elementary school, Hours are the same: 8:30 to 4:30 with addition of Saturday morming or Wednesday morning, 8:30 to 11:45.- it used to be that Wednesday was reserved for out-of-school church classes (aka Sunday school in the US).
    In Pre-K , Kindergarden and 1st Grade thru 5th, children have an hour and half for lunch recess. Some go home to have lunch, other stay at the school cafeteria which serve a home-cooked (from scratch) meal.
    From 6th to 12th Grade, the school hours are increased. Typically, 8:00 to 5:00, five days per week, with sometimes some elective classes on Saturday morning. Also, due to space or teachers constraints, the hours sometimes extend until 6:00pm. There are sometime study time built-up in the middle of the day, between classes. I used to spent about 50 hours/week in school, but only about 32 hours in classes, the rest being divided between lunch time and study time (in study rooms or school library).

    Homework:
    In First thru 5th grade, we had about 5 hours of homeworks per week.
    From 6th thru 9th grade (our junior high is 4 years), we had about 8 to 10 hours of homework per week.
    In high school (10th thru 12th Grade), which is more like preparatory years for College, I routinelly spend more than two hours nightly and 4 or 5 hours on weekends doing my homework. And for those who aspire to enroll in the best colleges, business school... there was a lot of work, and extra curriculum classes to prepare for some hard entrance testing in 12th grade.

    Final exam: Baccalaureat
    It was a constant pressure building up as you entered High School to prepare for the Baccalaureat, the end of High School graduating exam held at the national level. It tests, both knowledge and ability to express in writting through long essays (anywhere from 4 to 12 pages) and logical reasoning, especially in Math.

    Extra-curiculum activities:
    Minimum or none organized by schools. Outside of school, mostly by citizen, church, or township associations. All the school hours described above do not include any extra-curriculum activities, but only class times. School is considered a place of learning to prepare you for College and work.

    School year and vacations:
    School years for all K-12 students is about the same. Voted by the Parlement on regular basis, it is administred by the Ministry of Education for the whole nation. It has branches in each region that might adapt very slightly the hours due to specific requirement (mostly weather related: snow days, storms...). But in essence, it is the same for the entire nation.
    I think the main difference with the american school year is that we had more vacation time during the year: one week in early November, two weeks for holidays, one week in winter (February), two weeks around Spring/Easter. The school year started the first week of September and ended at the end of june or sometime first week of July.

    I have been living in the US for the past 12 years and have a 6 year-old daughter and another one on the way. I am a bit concern by the lack of discipline and focus on school work in my adopted country. I am not advocating the French system, because it is specific to certain cultural, economic and political environment, but I think it was a good learning model for me.
    I think American children would benefit to spend more time in school on a daily basis, but that's not the only solution. Quality of teaching is problably the most important and less extra-curriculum activities.

    September 30, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  234. miss represented

    Well why not just invite everyone over for another beer summit?Seems like alcohol is the answer for most everyones problems these days.Thanks for sending that message to the youth Mr.Prez.Maybe thats why you want our kids in school longer,so Americans can all just get drunk and forget about it.Oh wait, most already do.Pour some $ into Social Services and make parents be parents.Sober them up and make them take interest in thier children or be held acountable.Teach our teachers more so they are better informed.Stop punishing our children.Do something that doesn't include making yourself more famous.

    September 30, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  235. David

    @Melanie Sari Should homework be given as a punishment?

    September 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  236. Larry

    Everyone is entitle to their opinions. But year around schools will be great. On the average U.S childrens have a 180 day school calendar, by the time you take out all of the teacher planing days and holidays they are only going about 120 or less, compared to other countries that have 280 to 300 days of school.
    U.S. education rank lowest in the world.
    We need to improve the quality of the eduaction, go back to basics, reduce class size and pay our teachers better

    September 30, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  237. SlowIdle

    Making the summer shorter is definitely not the answer. I remember every summer of sports, family vacations and exploring many things which interested me. A summer reading program which could apply in the next school year could be useful.

    I think one of the problems is that a lot of basic academic and cultural subjects are being replaced by trying to teach things that should be solely the parents responsibility, including but not limited to indoctrinating students on current political affairs. I do not want the schools teaching my children about much more than reading, writing and arithmetic in their basic and advanced forms. Critical thinking skills are also important. Self esteem issues maybe should be addressed with a picture of Bill Gates as a 12 year old next to his picture as an adult next to his balance sheet.

    A child after first grade should know who George Washington was. Oklahoma should fire all its educators and start over.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  238. Sarah Salter

    "Teachers all across the country will be whining but oh well its about time they earn their paychecks. I know of no other job where you can make $35,000/yr starting out and get 4 to 5 months off per year paid! "

    It is comments like this that blow my mind. Teachers _do not_ get 4-5 months off a year or as another poster stated work only 4-6 hrs. a day. The reason why teachers don't get paid hourly is because you wouldn't want to give that much of a raise!! When I taught school, I was there by 7 am and often left after dark. This is in addition to all the homework and lesson prep that I did at home (often late into the night) and on weekends. As for summers, which are only 2.5 months, not 4 or 5, most teachers I know are using that time to do research, lesson prep, or taking continuing education which is required by many states. They are _not_ taking a paid vacation to do nothing as many corporate and higher paid types get to enjoy. The work of teaching never stops! Even during the school year, if your child is not in school, don't assume that the teacher is just relaxing at home, in addition to the above, there are teacher work days, conferances, set up days, teacher in service and training days...etc...etc...

    September 30, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  239. Jules Ohrin-Greipp

    Do students need more time in school? Absolutely!!! By adding one week to each of the four quarters of school (and three weeks off between), as well as adding one hour to each day, that will increase school time by 20 – 25%. That would be a substantial jump. But, is the federal government going to pay the 25% increase in salaries??? How about just starting with a class-size limitation? K-5th grade: No more than 20 students in a classroom. 6 – 8th grade: No more than 25 students. And high school, no more than 28 students per class. The difference in class size will go a lot farther (in my opinion) than increasing in-school time. And, at the same time, an increase in teachers' salaries to reflect their value is crucial. No entry level teacher should ever receive less than $40,000.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  240. David

    You actually have to talk to the kids and work with them and prepare them for assignments.

    My thoughts on the topic.

    Culturally, we are preoccupied with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so young people are maybe not getting as much attention as perhaps they have received, or as they should.

    @Slowidle though your comment is the usual posture of a blog writer, I agree, summer vacation does not need to be shortened overall. There is a lot to be said for things like a summer reading program and letting students explore their interests on their own. However some schools, and school systems could benefit from lengthening the school year somewhat, maybe only a month, but I've heard that the additional month is helpful for reviewing subjects and consolidating progress in those subjects.

    Activities such as speech, sports, student govt. are fun outlets for kids.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  241. Tannon Posey

    Hello i Am a freshmen at a high school in dallas. I feel that making school last longer would just add to the drop out rate. As a student 8 hours is already stressful.. 9 or 10 i would probably drop out. The youth today is not set for a longer school year if anything the government should steadily increase the school year length over time. Another thing we cannot try to compare ourselves as a nation to China. The only times two countries should be compared is if they are living under the same type of government and conditions.

    September 30, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  242. Laylah

    The crime rate goes up as well during the Summer involving Students. Kids hang around and whats the easy thing for them to do it is get into "trouble"

    September 30, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  243. David

    One other pt, I think the admin shld be careful about aquiescing to the hypercompetitiveness of commerce when thinking about how to best support education in the US.

    Also, I don' think the carrots and sticks approach works with anything. Doesn't work with me.

    September 30, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  244. Gabbie

    It's apparent to me that some of the people who have commented on this post could have benefitted from an extensive education... er we all culd jist get sum Gubment cheese

    September 30, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
  245. Ron

    I work as security in a school district, and to extend the days isn't a bad idea - EXCEPT who will pay for it? The first thing cut from any state budget is education funds, and the states are in awful shape. Our state law requires class sizes to be no more than 28 students, and the cuts in the budget have caused them to again rise to 40+. Teachers are so busy trying to get kids to shut up and sit down, that they don't have too much time left to teach them.

    When I went to school, my first class was at 8:00am, and my last class ended at 3:30pm, with a mandatory study hall period in between. I have two Masters degrees, so I don't think the long days hurt me.

    October 1, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  246. Vonique

    If they increase the hours what time will they get home? When you consider after school sports and other activities, they already don't get home until 6 or 7 in the evening. And then with homework, they won't even be getting to bed until midnight. Crazy!

    October 1, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  247. Giovanni

    In my opinion, both longer days and year round school should be put into place. This could put us at a great advantage.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  248. Katie Jones

    I think this is definitely a great idea because this could also decrease the crime rates in some state. If you watch the news; that do you mostly see incarstirated or dead? It’s the young African American males. This is because after school is over at 2pm most students don’t have a job or nothing ales to do constructive. This can be the reason why most of the youth find things to do for fun but nine times out of ten it’s illegal. I believe that if the school day is longer test scores and academics would increase because you have no other choice to learn. By the time the new school hours are over students will be too tired to even commit a crime. Students would most likely watch some TV. then sonly fall asleep. The negative portion of this idea is if the students are too tired to do homework how is it going to get done when they get off from their long day of school. My idea to make both pros and cons work is to not give students homework and focus in on the curriculum so that students would be fresh for your class the next day.

    October 1, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  249. Darla Rohan

    As a retired teacher, I do believe that a longer school day would be advantageous. A 50 minute class is just not enough time to instruct and reinforce and I believe that a longer school year also would enable districts to schedule breaks between 6 week/9 week reports instead of a two month break.

    Texas teachers are paid for 187 days spread out over a 12 month period, so the pay scale for teachers on a longer day/longer year would involve appropriate pay.

    October 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  250. Kariem

    I don't think that its how long one spends in the class. To me its who is in the class and having teachers in the classroom that are there because they love kids, loves to teach and are not there just to collect a pay check. But there is another aspect that some teachers don't have and thats patients. Im not saying that kids cant be out of control at times but you can establish who is in charge in the class room without a whole lot of shouting and yelling. How many people you know that are actually gonna listen to you when all you are doing is yelling and shouting eight hours a day! Not many. You get alot of times what you give. I was lucky enough to have good teachers and i mean good.

    No offence for those teachers that actually are teaching for kids and not a pay check. but for those that are there for a paycheck if the shoe fits wear it

    October 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  251. Michelle Lawson

    Year around school does not mean that the kids are in school longer through the year. It means they go for 3 months then have a month off.

    Sept – Nov., Dec. off
    Jan-Mar., April off
    May – July, August off

    Hope this clears up some confusion about year-round school.

    October 2, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  252. Vonique

    That's not necessarily true. It goes by what your local school board decides. But if that were to be true, I think it is a good idea. Three months and then a month off almost seems too good to be true, unless you have small children. Then what do you do about daycare?

    October 5, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  253. Priscilla Earhart

    My opinion is based on my feelings as a parent, my exposure to education by being a substitute guest teacher in different school systems and life experience. My child and my family are my first priority. It is not the governments job to raise my child and be my day care service. Schools already have my child for more waking hours a day than we do. I do not wish to give up more. Currently, her 12 year old school day is about 7.5 hours long plus at least 1 hour in travel time. This is close to the equivilant of an adult work day. She has a half hour for lunch no recess, no physical education, and unlike the average work place she does not have two 15 minute breaks. Additionally, more time is added through homework.

    Teachers are very frustrated because of the current testing requirements. We are now teaching our children how to take tests instead of being able to address curriculum and creativity. The practice tests and tests themselves also take away a lot of teaching time. I ask you, were Einstein, Ben Franklin, George Washington Carver, Henry Ford and Bill Gates good test takers? I don't think that is what drove them and inspired their creativity which resulted in accomplishments that impacted the whole of our society.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  254. Ted Gervais

    Obama winning the Noble peace prize is right on target. Who better to receive such an aware than a person who is trying to do some much good for the US. I am surprised that he is the winner but very much support this action..

    October 9, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  255. Paula

    Good Morning Heidi,
    Even tho I voted for Obama, I am and have been extremely dissapointed with him, at least to this point.
    I happened to watch last night when the vote was announced.
    I was truly shocked. It is my opinion that he is NOT worthy of the "honor" given to him.
    My only hope is that, "finnally" he will live up to the honor bestowed upon him... and begin to prove, especially, to most of us in America, that he is compenent, and will prove it by his actions.

    October 9, 2009 at 10:28 am |