Back to School Already? More Schools Are Shortening Summer Break

Shouts of "School's out for summer!" may soon be replaced with the not so melodious refrain of "School's out for a few weeks!"

The New York Times reports there's a new trend to lengthen school calendars from the traditional 180 day sessions to more like 200 days in hopes of offering more education time.

According to the newspaper, the nonprofit National Center on Time and Learning notes that 170 schools nationwide (most are charters) are already on 190-day or more schedules, and champions of adding more school days say it's a way for low-income kids, especially, to compete academically.

"It's not as simple as 'Oh, if we just went 12 hours every kid would be Einstein,'" Chris Gabrieli, the center's chairman, tells The Times. "On the other hand, the more time you spend practicing or preparing to do something, the better you get at it."

Research also has shown kids often come back to school after summer forgetting much they had learned, the newspaper reports.

"The fact that our calendar has been based on the agrarian economy when almost none of our kids work in the field anymore doesn't make any sense whatsoever," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tells The Times.

Not everyone agrees, however. On the other side of the debate, parents and teachers' unions -- and certainly many kids -- aren't ready to see summer breaks dwindle down to a few weeks. 

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