Obama Wants More School, Less Summer Break

Wants to give US kids boost globally, idea 'not popular' with Sasha, Malia
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2009 2:09 PM CDT
Third graders at Jane Addams Elementary School in Springfield, Ill., watch and listen to President Barack Obama deliver a televised address to classrooms about education, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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(Newser) – Well, Barack Obama’s approval rating just plummeted in the K-12 demographic. The president is calling for longer school days and a shorter summer break, arguing that it’s a necessary step to catch up with kids from around the world. The president admits they’re “not wildly popular ideas. Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of the new century demand” it.

“Our school calendar is based upon an agrarian economy,” Arne Duncan tells the AP, “and not too many of our kids are working the fields today.” He notes that kids in other countries spend 25% to 30% more time in the classroom, though that isn’t entirely true. Though Asian countries like Japan and Singapore have more school days, and consistently score higher in math and science testing, they spend less total hours in school.