Students in three Connecticut school districts will start having longer school days beginning next year. Governor Dannel Malloy joined U-S Education Secretary Arne Duncan and leaders from four other states to announce the initiative in Washington DC. He says Connecticut will use a mix of state and federal funding to help pay for an additional 300 hours of school time next year.
"Starting in three districts -- East Hartford, Meriden, and New London -- Connecticut is on track to have an additional 3,184 students benefiting from expanding time next year." A spokeswoman for the initiative says one elementary school in East Hartford, two elementary schools in Meriden, and three elementary schools and one middle school in New London will be participating. The state says the districts are still in the planning phase as they figure out how to add those 300 hours to the school year.
Malloy and Duncan are making the case that more time in school leads to better educational outcomes for students. This initiative will also require participating schools to take part in a year-long planning process that includes administration officials, teachers, union representatives, parents and members of the community. Here's how Duncan sees it: "So we've been trying to push this as a national movement for a while. What you see now is I think some real creativity and innovation, public/private partnerships, political leaders, foundations, non-profits, working together. And I think this is the kernels of a national movement."
The governor stressed the value of increasing school time. "Time -- meaning quality time in a school -- is by far the most important things that we can do. It's one of the reasons that, as mayor of the city of Stamford, we went to universal pre-k, as well. These are important things, these are important investments, and we have to continue to make them." The other states involved in the effort are Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.