Make us your home page


Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Maybe it's not time on task after all?



longer_school_day_clock.In calling for longer school days and longer school years, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said other countries require more time on task for their kids and the U.S. should follow suit so they're not at a competitive disadvantage. But a new report says Duncan doesn't have it right.

Kids in the U.S. spend as much time in school, if not more, than students in India, China, Finland, Japan and Korea, says the report from the National School Board Association's Center for Public Education.

The report does offer this caveat:

"It is important to keep in mind, however, that these comparisons are based on required minimums. It’s possible that certain schools in these countries and states do provide more time for instruction. Furthermore, students in countries like China, India, Japan, and Korea have a tradition of receiving additional instruction through non-formal schooling such as tutoring and night schools, especially at the high school level, which could also have an impact."

"However," the report continued, "the point should not be lost: the U.S. does not require schools to provide less instructional time than other countries."

The St. Petersburg Times' fact-checking site, PolitiFact, checked out similar statements made by President Obama and rated them Half True.

But even if the president and the education secretary got their facts wrong, are they still on point with the argument that struggling students need more time on task - longer school days, longer school years - to get caught up?

At least one Republican state senator in Florida thinks they are.

(Image from



[Last modified: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 9:46am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours