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Extended School Time Proposals And Charter Schools

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This is why the Indiana legislature made it illegal for teachers to collectively bargain hours they work. This way schools can extend their day without worrying about compensation.

There are some obstacles to increasing the time students are in school. One is money. Time is usually equal to money. Unless you are going to not pay educators for the extra time then you need more funding for the extra time. This will be met with resistance in many states. Another obstacle is attendance. The very students who would benefit from more time are many times the ones who are chronically absent. They need to be there in the first place to get the time now and then the extra time. These are just a couple of the obstacles. I am not saying that we shouldn't try to get more time but we need to be aware of some of the obstacles we would face in doing so.

Another issue is teacher supply, demand, and attrition. Turnover in charters is clearly greater and such charters rely on a limited supply of TFA_like teachers to fill positions. If all schools in a state expanded school time significantly, the policy may create a huge issue with greater teacher attrition and a withering supply of teachers willing to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 45 weeks a year. Its pretty easy to do when you are single and 23 (been there, done that), but much harder when you are older and raising a family. thus, ultimately, policymakers would have to weigh the benefits of longer days/more days of schooling and potentially negative side effects of such policies. It is not entirely clear how this would play out unless states also hired more teachers, more aides, etc.

Good blog. I mostly agree with Ed Fuller's comment. That is a first, I think, in my life. Remember, there are 2 KIPP strategies happening in parallel. One is extended hours/days for students. The other is more teacher hours put into "planning." I use that term loosely to include: lesson writing, grading, analyzing and reacting to data, and phone calls to parents. To best of my knowledge, nobody has compared the "low hours" KIPP and KIPP-like schools to the "high hours" versions. Do longer-hour KIPPs outperform lower-hour KIPPs? I'd bet: No. But I wouldn't bet the house. It would be interesting to see the result. KIPP Massachusetts cut out its Saturday school entirely a few years ago. I think it was a 12% total reduction in annual hours of school. No effect on achievement. And to Fuller's point above, the key driver was to work on teacher satisfaction. There are 4 ways to pursue extended time. 1. Pay no additional cash, but recruit teachers willing to put in the time. That's what most high-flying charters do currently. 2. Pay modest additional cash by having some sort of lower-paid "Second Shift." This idea is advanced by Eric Schwarz of Citizen Schools. There are some scale limitations to #1 and #2, although both continue to grow. 3. Pay teachers a little extra, often a stipend. A number of districts are doing this. 4. Pay teachers some version of their pro-rated salaries, or full freight, for all additional time. To my knowledge, no district does this at scale. * So we have 3 debates at the same time. One is "what is value of extended day for kids, under what conditions." The second is "how much do we pay." The third is "who do we pay" -- teachers or non-teachers.

Before we rush to extend the school day (which I actually don't think is a bad idea IF it's QUALITY extended time), let's look at how we are using the time we already have. How much teaching and learning,"time on task" is going on? How much time is being squandered on test prep, test-taking, test make-ups, and other non-test related activities? Do the math; it's pretty surprising.

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