5 states to increase class time in some schools

WASHINGTON - School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer.

Five states are to announce Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. They are Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee. The initiative 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. 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. The Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning will also chip in resources.

Education officials say spending more time in the classroom will give students access to a more well-rounded curriculum, individualized help for students who fall behind and opportunities to reinforce critical math and science skills.

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