Mommyish Poll: Should The School Day Be Longer To Accomodate Working Parents?

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More and more parents are going to work these days leaving many unable to structure their time around their children. While some parents may have the luxury of working from home or designing more flexible hours, the majority of families do not. What often results in many households is exhausted parents return home for the “second shift” of dinner, chores, and eventually homework — some of which is considered needless. And while some parents go as far as to do the assignments for their kids, the truth is that many kids are just too exhausted from the day to learn efficiently when they come home.

In a debate over at The New York Times, Geoffrey Canada, president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone and president of the Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy Charter Schools, makes the case that extending the school day could help working parents by ensuring kids have sufficiently tackled their studies before going home:

An extended school day gives administrators the ability to ensure children get a well-rounded education. Many schools today are sacrificing social studies, the arts and physical education so children can cover basic subjects like math, English and science. This is hurting children across America, depriving them of the chance to find discipline and self-expression through the arts; and we should be ashamed to cut physical education while our children face an obesity epidemic.

However, Vicki Abeles, mother of three and  the co-director as well as producer of the documentary “Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture” points out that more time in school will not necessarily make kids learn more:

I have found no compelling research that supports the proposition that a longer school day improves educational outcomes. One only has to look at countries like Finland, where students achieve higher test scores with less instruction time and less homework than in our country. The real issue is the quality of the education we’re providing, not the amount of hours spent in a classroom.

She writes that children need time outside the classroom, away from standardized testing and assignments to develop their learning capabilities. While scholastic progress is important, a major component of that evolution is also the development of their personal interests and hobbies:

Young people need time outside of school to develop as whole people. They need time to grow creatively, physically, socially and emotionally, not just academically. A large part of a child’s learning occurs outside the classroom, through play, reading, family dinnertime interaction, community participation, volunteering and working part-time jobs.

So what do you think, mommies?

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