wasting bandwidth since 1999

More Doesn’t Equal Better

Whenever politicians and educational “experts” start talking about reform, inevitably someone will toss out the idea that we need more time.

If only kids were in school for more hours in a day and/or more days in a year, “achievement” (almost always measured in terms of higher standardized test scores) would improve.

This week Jay Mathews returned to the same topic by using a report on the number of schools who using the tool of time from something called the National Center on Time & Learning (no slanted approach from that group :-) as his starting point.

A study which, in the end, is just another excuse for Mathews to write about his love of charter schools, especially any with KIPP in their name.

Of course, he never even comes close to explaining why more time spent in an educational system that doesn’t work for an increasing number of kids is an idea that passes for reform.


  1. Patrick

    But what if more time in school works for some types of students, especially the motivated, voluntarily enrolled, high risk students at KIPP?

    Should a school be allowed to innovate according to their needs? Should a system allow each school to what is best for their context? When we can answer those questions, we’ll understand why extended school, as an option, is a good policy option for those needing it, but it doesn’t have to be for everyone…

  2. Tim

    I certainly agree KIPP could be the right answer for some students (although the schools have been shown to be burnout machines for most of their teachers). And schools should certainly be allowed to test and use whatever might work for the neighborhood they serve. But don’t call it reforming the education system.

    Unfortunately, many of these education “experts” I rant about tend to push a narrow set of alterations, often recycled, and almost always small variations in the assembly-line school format created for the industrial revolution.

    Instead of advocating for charter schools (which usually use the same curriculum and pedagogy as traditional schools) or merit pay (which rewards better test prep in traditional settings) or more time doing the same thing, we need to take a larger look at what it means to be well educated in the 21st century and how do we as a society build an education system to get our kids started on that road.

  3. Dave

    Although things never seem to move as fast as we’d like, I think education is moving forward…I think we’re getting to a place in some of these broad education discussions where we may need to be stricter about not lumping together all schools, all students, and all teachers — if there were solutions that worked for everyone, we would already be implementing them. (I’m not saying that to single anyone out, I just think that the whole blogosphere of education discussion is probably going to need to take a step in that direction pretty soon.)

    I remember reading that offering more preschool at an earlier age seems to do a lot to help students who might not normally get much educational support outside of school, but didn’t have much effect on students whose parents were already very supportive of early literacy skills and preparing for K-12. I’d imagine that the “more time” idea plays out in a similar way.

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