Students pressed for time to learn — and so are teachers

Whatever the criticism of Renaissance 2010 and the turnaround strategy,
one element of learning that many of the city’s new schools have gotten
right is time—more time, to be precise, with longer school days and
longer years. Research has shown that extra time is especially
beneficial in boosting achievement for low-income children. Yet a
Consortium on Chicago School Research report found that CPS students
are engaged in learning for only about half of the officially scheduled
time in school.

A matter of time

Compared to national averages, the Chicago Public Schools  school year is 10 days shorter and the school day 45 minutes shorter. Research shows low-income students stand to gain the most from extra learning time, and district and state officials are planning bids to win federal funds to pay for it.

Not just an add-on

Research suggests that after-school activities are an important
addition to the regular school day, especially for poorer children.
Opportunities to dance, learn to play a musical instrument, play sports
or get tutoring—all the activities that middle- and upper-class
children take advantage of because their families can afford to
pay—help boost learning and close the achievement gap.