Happy holidays, kids: Your present is an extra 300 hours of school in 2013! Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee will announce the extra learning time today, a three-year pilot program at select schools meant to improve student achievement and allow kids to take part in more enrichment activities like art and music. Ultimately, the goal is to expand the program to more schools, especially low-income ones, the AP reports. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has long fought for more classroom time in order to help the US school system become more competitive globally.
Initially, the program will roll out in 35 schools, which will extend both the school day and the school year, the New York Times reports. Within the next three years, 40 more schools will increase both classroom and after-school time. State education officials are running the programs, which are being funded with federal, state, and district funds as well as resources from the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning. But not everyone agrees more learning time is the answer: At least one report has shown that students in high-performing countries actually spend less time in school. (Read more education stories.)