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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 01/22/2011

How about a 21-hour school day?

By Valerie Strauss

Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, wrote the following as a response to a Washington Post article by my colleague Nick Anderson about efforts to lengthen the school day.

By Stephen Krashen
It is inspiring to read that so many educators, impressed by the hard-driving KIPP charter schools, are pushing for a longer school day and school year ("Efforts to extend school day, year reignite debate" Jan. 20). Proposals to extend the school day by 30 minutes, however, fall far short of what is needed.

Let's push ahead and consider an even longer day.

A study published in the Journal of Irreproducible Results in 1991 concluded that a 21-hour school day is optimal, with continuous classes and no breaks, except for two breaks for meals and one lavatory visit.

Among the many advantages would be fewer discipline problems and quieter classrooms because of sleep deprivation, which
"lessened the students' rebellious impulses."

The researchers also intend to do studies to determine whether food is really necessary for school children.


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By Valerie Strauss  | January 22, 2011; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Research  | Tags:  extending school day, kipp, length of school day, research and school time, school day, school reform, seat time, time in school  
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Next: What Rhee’s comments about her children say about her


Based on what teacher's are expected to do these days and are responsible for correcting all their flaws, maybe we should lobby the IRS for the child tax credit next.

Posted by: ilcn | January 22, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Marvelous! Except, what makes you think high school students aren't already putting in 21-hour days?

(One of my high school teachers told a student in all seriousness--at least the entire class took it seriously--that his parents should have closed their store for the evening rather than allow him to skip his homework to help out when a flu epidemic led to numerous absences. "You shouldn't," she told us, "have any responsibilities besides preparing for college.")

Posted by: sideswiththekids | January 22, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Since we are abdicating parental responsibility earlier and earlier in life, why not just make school a surrogate and drop the kids on Monday at the door steps and return Friday. The parents get the kids for the weekend, the surrogates are off for the weekend, and the five days between are devoted to school.

This would alleviate parents from shoving their kids into soccer, baseball, and other (apparently) more important events. Parents would be free to otherwise ignore homework for sports, free from feeding their child (we all know this is a big ticket item for the government), and government would have more control over how, what, and when kids are taught (read stupidly thinking this is learning.)

Wait, what if we just dropped the kids into a chute at the hospital on birth that delivered the kids to a surrogate...hmmmm...Naw...the NFL/NBA/MLB would scream because they would lose their farm clubs (a.k.a. schools).

Posted by: jbeeler | January 22, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

At 9 classes a day with a 15-class rotating schedule here in Korea, the day is long enough. I teach from 8an to 7pm. Enormous sums of money are spent by parents to private institutes for extra classes in the few hours available in the late evening and early morning, and on weekends, to make up for a pressure- driven results-oriented lackluster educational system here.

More is not better; better is better.

Posted by: ericpollock | January 22, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget that people like Gates and Rhee and all those involved in education for profit love to toss the term... human capital around (kind of takes the humanity out of being human)! No need for families... instead males and females will be breeders sending their offspring into "human capital" factories also known as schools! Kind of sounds familiar doesn't it... Brave New World...?

Posted by: teachermd | January 22, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The citation for the article I discussed, for those interested in seeing the original:

O'Neal, R. and Hicks, L. 1991. The 21-hour school day. The Journal of Irreproducible Results, 36 (6): 17

Posted by: skrashen | January 22, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

A favorite article from The Onion, which is often all-too-uncanny and prescient...

Increasing Number Of Parents Opting To Have Children School-Homed,17159/

Posted by: BmoreBio | January 22, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Longer days and school years will provide the means for the for-profit reformer crowd to push more assessments down the throats of PK-12 students and teachers. Are the testing conglomerates, data systems profiteers, and progress monitoring technology wizards lobbying for more time for more tests to further abuse public education?

Posted by: nfsbrrpkk | January 23, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

How about seriously considering policy issues instead of using your platform to make fun of initiatives to make education better?

Oh, does it mean some of your friends in the Union would have to work longer hours? Guess you'll just throw darts and remain devoid of positive ideas beyond "give them more money". You are an embarrassment.

Posted by: staticvars | January 23, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

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