Education Sector has a new study out, written by Senior Analyst Elena Silver, that analyzes the impact of adding extended learning time (ELT) to persistently failing schools, specifically those eligible for School Improvement Grants. The results are mixed for a variety of reasons, including that “demanding that teachers work more hours in such an environment threatens to repel rather than attract the very educators these schools need.”
ELT does work effectively in some schools but only if the extra time is used to “improve teacher effectiveness and student engagement.” And
Teachers, in turn, are attracted to these schools because they see a strategy for great education that depends on and supports them as professionals. But these schools didn’t get that way by adding minutes or hours or even days. Good schools are made by strong networks that support and demand great leaders, who create and cultivate effective teams of teachers, who really know what and how to teach students. To suggest that our nation’s worst schools will be transformed, and that student outcomes will improve because of more time is not any different than suggesting that they will transformed by more money. Both are necessary and both boast plenty of persuasive adages about why more is better. But both are overly simplistic treatments to the very complex problem of improving education.