ERIC Number: ED433603
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Rakoff, Todd D.
This paper examines the construction of time in education, emphasizing the development of the 180-day school year. A 1991 study showed that schools throughout the United States follow a distinctive time pattern that the report labeled dysfunctional. The norm for required attendance is 180 school days, stretching across a school year that begins in late summer and concludes near the end of spring. This 9-month pattern began in the period between the Civil War and World War I and developed in conjunction with compulsory education. Educating children was seen as beneficial to both and the country, but the fact that education was compulsory angered many parents who complained of an overreaching government. Subsequently, the school year, which had encompassed more of the calendar year, was shortened. The paper compares the school year in the United States with those of other countries and considers the benefits and drawbacks of lengthening the school year. Breaks in the school year are filled with activities that are important in a child's development, and the current 180-day period is intimately connected to parents' working life. The article examines some year-round plans and suggests that the study of time patterns can facilitate dialogue concerning the school year. (RJM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).