Before we jump in with both feet on lengthening the school day, let's see how long it already is. Students in the districts of our area board the buses starting at 7 a.m. (This means rise and shine at 6:30 if you're fast. Any parent who has waited for a teen-ager in the shower or seen a blow-dry haircut will rarely call his high schooler fast.)
Arrival at school is 7:30. Classes begin at 7:45 and end at 3:10. Buses are boarded at 3:25 and students reach their homes by 4 p.m.
The school day, therefore, constitutes nine hours, seven of which are spent in class sessions. (I have subtracted the 25-minute lunch period wherein the student must run to her locker at the opposite end of the building, go through the cafeteria line, eat, visit the bathroom, and make it to the next class with scarcely a minute extra to wink at her boy-friend.)
Add to this nine hours (call it eight if your chauffeur drops Sonny off and picks him up) the fact that the typical student stays after school for sports, drama practice, service clubs, etc. and you will find that a large number of kids do not arrive home (school bus again) until 6:30 p.m. each evening. I would call a school day of 111/2 hours sufficient as it presently stands!
Teachers are currently paid to be in their classrooms for eight full hours. This says nothing of the coaches and club leaders who devote two hours or more of afterschool time on a daily basis, and then return for evening and weekend concerts, fund-raisers, parent meetings, and sports events. Administrators are usually present at all school functions also.
Unless we plan to set cots in the corridors and hire the cooks to man the cafeteria for dinners as well as lunches, let's leave the school day as it is!
Lengthen the school year? Commissioners - if you think 30 eager faces will face the blackboard at 95 degrees F. all during July and August you deserve to be laughed out of your desks.
Or do you plan to squeeze the required billions to install and maintain air conditioners in every school in the United States out of the taxpayers who already are calling themselves stone dry and panting? Wouldn't this extra cash be better spent on additional teachers, or raises, or textbooks, or upgraded equipment? Or how about just giving Joe Taxpayer a break and not skyrocketing his taxes?
Don't jump in with both feet? Don't even stick in the toes!