The first day of school can't come too soon for many New York City parents. Classes begin for most public school students on Sept. 8, which starts an 180-day school year, as mandated by the New York State Education Department.
A typical school day starts at 8:40 a.m. and ends about six hours later, fulfilling state requirements that children get at least five hours of instruction in elementary school and 5.5 hours in grades 7-12.
This schedule holds true for most of the city's 1700 public schools, but not for many of the 150 charter schools. Schools in the high-performing Success Charter Network started class on Wednesday, Aug. 24, a full two weeks ahead of others in the city. Many other charters, including those in the Achievement First and KIPP networks, open their doors earlier in the school year and stay open longer hours.
Authors of an op-ed piece in the New York Times this week argue that less time in the classroom affects low-income students the most, because middle class parents have more resources to pay for tutoring and after school enrichment programs.
Two years ago President Obama called for a longer school day or year, saying more classroom time is needed for the US to remain competitive with other countries. The Japanese, for example, have 243 days of school each year.
Yet summer vacation, and 8:30 a.m -3 p.m. school days are a long-standing tradition in the U.S. and parents and teachers may be loath to give them up. And, with cuts to the budget and the loss of school staff, changing the schedule may not even be feasible.
With the end of the 10-week school break just days away, we'd like to know what you think. Should the school year -- or school day -- be longer? Take our poll and tell us what you think.