Back to Basics: New Program in Five States Will Expand School Calendars


While Idaho continues to squeeze its funding for education as it debates whether to distribute laptops to its students, five other states are expected to announce today that they're embarking on a program to boost student achievement using the most basic of premises: more classroom time.

A three-year pilot program in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee is expected to add at least 300 hours of learning time to some school calendars. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the schools, working in concert with districts and parents, will decide whether they want to extend the school day, add more days to the school year or both.

The Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time and Learning will be kicking in some funds, along with federal, state and district dollars, to cover the costs of expanded learning time.

According to the Monitor:

"Spending more time in the classroom, education officials said, will give students access to a more well-rounded curriculum that includes arts and music, individualized help for students who fall behind, and opportunities to reinforce critical math and science skills."