Thursday, May 27, 2010

Charter schools gain edge from hours, says study

An article in the Boston Globe about a new study showing how important extra hours are in charter schools' success.  Why every school in the country with a high % of below-grade-level students doesn't have mandatory extra hours is beyond me.  As Geoffrey Canada once said (my favorite quote of his): "I know of no organization in the world failing as badly as our public schools in which everyone goes home at 3pm!"):

Students at Boston charter schools appear to have an academic edge over their peers at the city's traditional schools because of the additional time they spend in school each year, according to a report being released today.

The extra time in charter schools, roughly 378 hours annually, allows students to receive significantly more instruction in English and math and creates opportunities for them to receive tutoring during the school day, according to the report by the Boston Foundation, a charitable organization that supports charter schools and also works with the city school system on improvement efforts.

The longer school day also is a boon for teachers, the report said, providing them with more time for instructional training and discussing struggling students, analyzing student-testing data, and devising plans to help them.

Paul Grogan, the foundation's president, characterized the additional hours at Boston charter schools as "staggering'' and a key reason why charter schools routinely outperform other public schools in the city. Charter schools, Grogan said, "are not just adding more time, they are creating more opportunities.''

The new report is the latest in a wave of research suggesting the benefits, as measured by rising standardized test scores, of a longer school day. Research has documented how adding hours can revitalize the culture of a school, ensuring time for the arts, music, and physical education — areas that tend to fall victim to budget cutting or get squeezed out in a quest to boost standardized test scores in English and math.

An education law passed earlier this year urges superintendents to lengthen the school day or year, among other proposed efforts, as a promising strategy to turn around underperforming schools.


Charter schools gain edge from hours, says study

By James Vaznis

Globe Staff / May 12, 2010

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