A student’s nightmare

Vrinda Chauhan, Staff Writer

Tick tock, tick tock goes the clock as most students anxiously await the hour hand to finally strike three.  However, about 2,000 sixth-graders in New York will have to wait until 5:30 to finally breathe a sigh of relief and begin heading home. In an effort to raise test scores in light of the new Common Core Standards, 20 NY schools will be trying out longer school days. Although these extended days may benefit the academic aspect of the students’ lives, it will also take away time from extracurricular activities and cause more stress amongst students.

New York City officials will be launching the pilot program this September. Twenty schools throughout New York with the lowest reading levels will be selected to undergo this plan of action. Sixth graders attending the selected schools will be forced to remain in class for an extra two and a half hours every day, for two academic years. For the duration of the extra hours, the students will receive intensive language tutoring. If they outperform their peers, the city will seek to expand the program. For the most part, however, this decision will be doing more harm than good for the students.

The city officials seem to forget that adding two and a half hours to class time would also be cutting two and a half hours away from the students’ free time. In order for children to be well-rounded individuals, they will surely need to participate in other activities outside of school. Whether it’s pursuing their hobbies or just relaxing, students need leisure time. School should not consume a student’s entire life. With the added school hours, students would either need to quit their hobbies or cram their schedule to include them, which would only increase students’ stress levels. Some students, for example, may simply prioritize other things before their education. Little Johnny may have a passion for football and want to be a professional football player in the future. Extra school hours will deter him from practicing the sport.

Moreover, CCSS can lead to improved test scores if the standards focus on refining the material taught in class. By improving the curriculum, extra time at school would be unnecessary. Perhaps this program can be applied on students who suffer academically, but the whole school shouldn’t be obligated to participate in it. For those who are doing well at school, these two hours will be a waste of time.

The millennial generation has already proven to be the most stressed generation in America as it is. According to a study conducted by American Psychological Association, the stress caused by keeping up with schoolwork, social life, and extracurricular activities already derive about 50 percent of the generation of sleep. The study also revealed that academics are one of the primary causes for stress in this generation. Adding more school hours would only stress students out further.

Can longer school days really make little Johnny read?

I don’t think so.