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The Boston Globe



Longer school days pay off for kids in struggling cities

Sandwiched between Governor Patrick’s call for major increases in spending for early childhood education and public higher education is a modest bump of $5 million to extend the school day in fiscal year 2014. The money is focused precisely where it belongs — middle school students in high-poverty districts.

State-funded pilot programs in 19 schools have shown that adding an average 95 minutes to the school day provides opportunities for both academic catch-up and the kinds of enrichment programs — arts, music, and sports — that are standard fare for students in higher-income communities. The proposed budget increase is only enough to extend these efforts to a small number of new schools. But it is meant to signal that the initiative has moved out of the experimental stage and into the mainstream of high-poverty schools.

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