School days might be longer for some students in Massachusetts

Alicja Kania, A & E Editor

Some schools in Massachusetts and at least four other states will be adding 300 hours to their calendar, either by adding extra school days to the year, or lengthening the amount of time students already spend in school, according to the Associated Press.

While the additional hours will not affect students at Ludlow High School next year, the trend seems to be going in that direction.

“I don’t know if an extended school day is the answer to making education better,” said Brian Bylicki, LHS history teacher.

The Associated Press reports that this extra time will be used for educational purposes only. Students may use it to get extra help and tutoring if they’re struggling, and cultural activities such as art and music.

Earlier this year, the idea of longer school days was proposed by President Barack Obama. He talked about how he wants schools to add time to classes, stay open late, and allow students in on weekends just so they have a safe place to go.

“Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas,” said Obama. “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.”

One of Obama’s initial reasons for adding the extra hours is so the United States can compete more with students from other countries. Studies show us the amount of smarter countries, and many of them happen to have to have more time in school than American students. However, not all the educational statistics about us versus other countries that we see are entirely true.

According to a 2011 Harvard study, Massachusetts students rank fifth in the world in reading. In math, Massachusetts is ninth in the global rank and if some international educational studies didn’t rank Shanghai and Hong Kong as separate countries, Massachusetts would’ve been ranked two places higher.

Adding hours to schools’ calendars will not come easily. There are bound to be a great amount of complications and difficulties that come with extending classroom time.

“The idea is somewhat controversial” explains the Times. “It’s hard to fund, especially for cash-strapped districts already struggling to fund the current school calendar.”

The program in Massachusetts costs an extra $1,300 per student, or 12 percent to 15 percent more than regular student spending. The program received more than $17.5 million from the state Legislature last year.

Many students and staff members would be quick to agree but Ludlow High School isn’t going to be adding any extra hours to its school calendar mainly for cost issues. If the hours were to be added in the summer, the heat would most likely be unbearable for students and faculty to handle. Cost of air conditioning would most likely be one of the largest issues to overcome before our school could even consider the idea.