Does more classroom time = more learning?
Students in five states—Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee—will spend more time in the classroom starting next year. It’s part of an effort to improve math and science learning and increase exposure to arts and music, two areas often eliminated by education budget cuts.
Officials, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, expect that more classroom time will lead to more learning. This news comes on the tails of two reports earlier this week that U.S. students lag behind their peers in other countries in math and science.
But will logging 300 more classroom hours annually do the trick? Or would those federal, state and district dollars funding this three-year pilot be more effective supporting early education efforts getting children ready to really learn when they start kindergarten?!
“What’s remarkable is that in all the countries, this concept of an early start is there over and over again,” said Michael O. Martin of the International Study Center which authored one of the reports. “You can get the early childhood experience in a variety of ways, but it’s important you get it.”
Dr. Edward Zigler, renown Yale researcher, agrees in his study of Parents as Teachers.
“This study says those states that wait to start early childhood education until age 4 are making a huge mistake…by starting at birth, Parents as Teachers starts at just the right time.”