Starting next fall many Fall River students are going to be
spending an extra 300 hours at school. Massachusetts is one of five states to
participate in a collaborative effort being announced tomorrow by state
leaders, the Ford Foundation, and the National Center on Time and Learning
"Extending hours, as far as educational, I think kids
need it," said Fall River parent Edward Coelho. "Especially the way
the level is compared to Europe."
And that's exactly the idea. The initiative is intended to
boost student achievement and make US schools more competitive on a global
level. Spending more time in the classroom, education officials say, will mean
more time for individualized help and better reinforcement of critical math and
The three year pilot program will affect almost 20,000
students in 40 schools in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and
Tennessee. Fall River Schools were chosen as one of only two districts in the
state and will focus on middle school students.
Under the program students could see longer school days, more
days added to the school year, or a combination of the two.
"I don't believe in it," said Geri Machado whose
granddaughter is in middle school. "I think it's long enough. That's not a
life for these kids, especially if they are involved in other activities."
Several Fall River Schools already have longer days including
Matthew J. Kuss Middle School, and the Carlton Viveiros and Frank Silvia
elementary schools, through 'Extended Learning Time' grants.
"I don't like it," said Kuss Middle School 8th
grader Theya Carreiro. "Then you go home you have to do homework, and then
you eat, and go to bed, and you can't do anything else."
Still, some students how have been through the extended hours
program say they are better for it.
1,000 U.S. schools already operate on expanded schedules, and
increase of 53% over 2009, according to a report by the National Center on Time