About Time

The best way to improve American education would be to move to metric time. If we divide the day into 100 ‘hours’ of 14.4 minutes, we can claim that our children attend school nearly 5000 hours a year – more than China, Japan and Korea combined.

Okay, nobody will buy that.

The current discussion about this country’s dismal education system, however, is all about time. How much time — days, hours — should our children be spending in school? More is always better, right?

Students in Japan attend school 240 days a year; in South Korea, it’s 220. In the US, it’s only 180. Since those countries regularly best us academically, the solution seems obvious: keep kids in school for more days, or make the days longer.

Some states have eliminated snow days in order to force districts to make up these ‘free’ days. My district gets only 3 snow days this year, where last year we had 5. In most years, we use up those days, and in a few years, we’ve had to make up a day or two because we’ve used up our allowance. Rural districts have ten or more snow days a year; unless they use up spring break and a few Saturdays, they’ll be in school until nearly the end of June. In other words, don’t plan your vacation yet.

I’m not so sure that keeping kids in school five more days in June would replace the time we would have spent in the classroom in January or February. More

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