'Raising the Curve': 8 stories from a struggling elementary school

Writer Ron Berler spent a year in an elementary school trying to turn itself around after failing test scores. His book "Raising the Curve" describes what he saw.

3. Lack of teaching time


Fifth-grade teacher Keith Morey said he soon came to realize that he actually had very little classroom time with his students. "School began at 9:05 a.m.," Berler wrote. "But class didn't effectively start till the conclusion of the Pledge of Allegiance and the morning announcements, at 9:25. On a typical day, the children might have gym from 9:52 to 10:22. Snack time was ten minutes, starting at 11 a.m. Recess ran from 12:45 to 1 p.m., followed by lunch. Chorus might go from 1:42 to 2:42. Other days, they might break for art, music, the computer room, or library time. At 3:15 in the afternoon, Mr. Morey sent the students to their lockers to gather their coats and book bags. Dismissal was at 3:25. That left three hours and twenty-five minutes for learning – minus the time lost when the children rummaged through their desks for their workbooks and homework, when they took bathroom breaks, and when they grew noisy and Mr. Morey had to call for order."

3 of 8