By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Center for Public Education has examined the claim that children in India and China spend 25 to 30 percent longer in school than American kids.

It turns out students in China and India are not required to spend more school time as is the case with countries that score high on international assessments — Korea, Japan, Finland, and Canada, and with economic competitors — England, France, Germany, and Italy.

Compulsory elementary level instruction per year in these countries ranges from 608 hours in Finland to 926 hours in France compared to the 900 hours required in California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts.

While many believe that additional time may help improve student outcomes, before policymakers decide to increase time, they should determine how effectively school time is currently being used and explore block scheduling and lower cost alternatives that use existing time, and consider lower cost options, like four-day weeks.

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