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Why five states will give their students 300 more hours at school

Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee will take part in a new pilot program intended to boost student achievement and make US schools more competitive on a global level.

Image

Students at Draper Middle School in Rotterdam, N.Y. School head for the cafeteria. Five states announced Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013.

(AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

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 Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer.

Five states were to announce Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.

The three-year pilot program will affect almost 20,000 students in 40 schools, with long-term hopes of expanding the program to include additional schools — especially those that serve low-income communities. Schools, working in concert with districts, parents and teachers, will decide whether to make the school day longer, add more days to the school year or both.

A mix of federal, state and district funds will cover the costs of expanded learning time, with the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning also chipping in resources. In Massachusetts, the program builds on the state's existing expanded-learning program. In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy is hailing it as a natural outgrowth of an education reform law the state passed in May that included about $100 million in new funding, much of it to help the neediest schools.

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