Class dismissed? No, not yet
What do kids and grownups think of the White House's call for longer school days?
By SCOTT WALDMAN, Staff writer
First published in print: Wednesday, September 30, 2009
[Longer school days and less summer vacation] could become reality as [President Barack] Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan push to have the next generation of America's work force ready for the global economy and to compete with their peers who are spending more time in the classroom.
"Now I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," the President told the Associated Press earlier this year. "Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."
Obama, the father of a sixth-grader and a fourth-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.
Richard Iannuzzi, president of the 600,000-member New York United Teachers, said he is open to the idea of extended days. He said some public schools already have moved to longer years and longer days, and that administrators have developed scheduling that does not require teachers to be in school for 12 hours a day or 11 months a year. He said the focus should be in the schools where the extra learning is needed most.
"There's a lot of potential good in where this administration is going in terms of transforming the way we do business," he said Tuesday. "My goal ... is to put those ideas out there in a way that's good for kids and fair for teachers."