Introduction

A six-and-a-half-hour school day is business as usual for most U.S. students, running from early morning to mid-afternoon. With such a long day at hand, there is undoubtedly plenty of time for learning and focusing on subjects in a structured curriculum. However, while this may sound beneficial, there are cons to the current length of school days here in the U.S. Students may find themselves with less time to manage a busy schedule, where they may have to juggle homework, family responsibilities, playing a sport, and many other important parts of their lives. Although longer school days leave more time for students to learn, students have less time to focus on other important parts of their lives, and there is no direct correlation between longer school hours and overall student success. Shorter school days give students more free time and are utilized by the highest-ranking education systems.

Longer School Days

The longer students are in school, the more time can be invested in learning and studying, which may seem beneficial considering that we are a competitive nation, and currently, U.S. test scores fall behind the test scores of other countries such as Finland and China. To solve this problem, many would assume that students would have to be in school for a longer time. If students have more school time to invest in learning, they might perform better on tests, and the overall U.S. student test scores may rise above other nations.

Knowledge in different work fields constantly advances with the times, as research findings continuously become updated. It is important to keep students well-informed on a consistent basis so that they will be aware of the expanding knowledge in different fields. A longer school day may appear to be the answer for this.

The structured hours where students arrive to and leave school align with the average work schedule of their parents. Because parents won’t have to stress as much about drop-off and pick-up times, this releases potential burdens in child-care.

Cons Of Longer School Days

Although supposedly leaving more time to invest in learning, longer school days take a lot of time out of a student’s day. This leaves less time for them to focus on other important aspects of their lives, such as playing a sport, doing homework, participated in enriching extracurricular activities, or tending to family responsibilities. With less time available to focus on these aspects, students may feel stressed under the pressures of strict time management and could fall behind in these activities, preventing them from becoming invested in other important parts of their lives outside their education.

Furthermore, studies have shown that longer school days do not directly improve overall student achievement. Therefore, when approaching the issue of U.S. test scores falling behind other nations, it wouldn’t seem beneficial to lengthen school days as this would not provide any positive effect on student test scores, and could even cause them to fall even further behind.

Shorter School Days

Shorter school days should be utilized in the U.S. education system as it comes with many benefits. Students have more time outside of school to focus on other important aspects of their lives. Therefore, they won’t feel as stressed with time management, and won’t fall behind on such enriching activities.

Furthermore, countries with the highest-ranking education systems operate on shorter school days than those of the U.S. Finland, for example, educates their students in a way that they can receive time alone to reflect on what they have learned, and to focus on other activities that are intellectually stimulating. This also leaves students with a reduced workload, creating less stress and more room in their minds to effectively comprehend learned material. This is one of the factors that allows Finland’s education system to be among the highest in the world, and student test scores are significantly higher than those of the U.S. If shorter school days are established for U.S. students, we can follow Finland’s lead and create a better education for students.

Although shorter school days might conflict with the average work schedules of parents, after-school activities or child-care programs could be established to provide care for students who may not be able to go home with their parents directly after school. Such programs could include fun and enriching activities for students, such as reading or playing games with their peers. This will keep children entertained and will release the stress of child-care, as parents will not have to worry as much about drop-off and pick-up times for their students.

Conclusion

In conclusion, U.S. schools should operate on shorter school days. This will leave more time for students to focus on other activities and comprehend learned material. Although longer school days may seem effective, there is no correlation between longer school hours and student success, and less time is set aside for students to work on other aspects of their lives. Shorter school days are utilized by some of the highest-ranking education systems, and should be considered for the U.S.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and/or student and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of United 4 Social Change Inc., its board members, or officers.
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