California's public schools are falling behind -- by giving their students less.
As the state makes budget cut after budget cut to education, local school districts are shortening the school year. This is particularly true in Los Angeles, where L.A. Unified has already taken a week out of the school year, putting the total number of school days at lower than 180 a year. At the same time, according to today's Los Angeles Times, local Catholic schools are adding 20 school days to their school year, giving them 200 days a year.
Why does this matter? Because studies have shown that additional instruction time is one way to improve student achievement. Other countries that surpass the United States in achievement typically have longer school years and more instruction time. And some of the most successful charter school operations in the U.S. have made more and longer school days a central piece of their program. The Los Angeles archdiocese has cited the need to make students more competitive as the reason for the expansion of their school year.