Weekly Round Up

Wow, it’s been a big week in the education world. Let’s start off with a few big national and regional pieces, shall we?

The Associated Press reports that the current administration hopes to increase time in school. One program described as ” a 3-year-old state initiative to add 300 hours of school time in nearly two dozen schools” has shown early good resuts. And

Researcher Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution looked at math scores in countries that added math instruction time. Scores rose significantly, especially in countries that added minutes to the day, rather than days to the year.

“Ten minutes sounds trivial to a school day, but don’t forget, these math periods in the U.S. average 45 minutes,” Loveless said. “Percentage-wise, that’s a pretty healthy increase.

As a parent who is already dealing with exhausted kids, I have to wonder how effective an extra hour a day would be- particularly at the lower elementary levels. On the other hand, a few more minutes every day could sure help make the classroom a more Critical Skills friendly place. What do you think? Would extra time be useful to you and your students? Do you think extra time would increase your use of Critical Skills?

The article goes on to talk about Charter Schools:

Charter schools are known for having longer school days or weeks or years. For example, kids in the KIPP network of 82 charter schools across the country go to school from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., more than three hours longer than the typical day. They go to school every other Saturday and for three weeks in the summer. KIPP eighth-grade classes exceed their school district averages on state tests.

which makes me wonder about this from The New York Times

Students who entered lotteries and won spots in New York City charter schools performed better on state exams than students who entered the same lotteries but did not secure charter school seats, according to a study by a Stanford University economist being released Tuesday.

We all know there’s a lot more than increased set time to account for this success, but it does make one wonder…

Critical Skills is featured in an online exclusive in this months Kappan, though you have to be a member to get to the article. (Give a holler in the comments if this- or the $4.95 purchase price- is a real problem for you.)

Locally, we started NECAP testing around here this week. It’s the first time that I’ve been on the “mom” side (rather than the “educator” side) of the equation. I’ll be writing up the full experience for a later day, but suffice to say that my progressive educator side is highly conflicted with my mom brain. The same can be said for our recent adoption of Everyday Math and the associated drama in my house. While I certainly see the benefits to my own kids, I’m equally conflicted about the use of a highly prescriptive program that seems to be sucking away valuable time for art, science, social studies and recess.

I suppose that’s a nicely circular to end things, isn’t it? It’s all about time.

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