How Much Instruction Time Is Required of Grade School Students in Each State

It was the Puritans that first realized the need for public education in the United States. The first public school was Boston Latin School which was founded in the year 1635 in Boston, Massachusetts. The curriculum was basic math, science, English and religious values. Today the school is still operating and is one of the best in the Boston area also ranking 33rd in the nation.

In the 18th century many schools were focused on religious education. Classrooms of the time did not reflect the warm and welcoming school rooms we see today but instead were cold and barren with just chalk, slate boards and a few books. One teacher taught students of all ages but only of Caucasian ethnicity. From about 1869 to 1870, the school year was about 132 days long and about 5 hours long. Today the average is around 6 hours and 38 minutes and kids go to school for an average of 180 days.

According to this bar graph from the team at Playground Equipment there are some states that do not have a law on the books for the number of school days required. Colorado has on average 160 and Arkansas, Nebraska, Ohio and Oregon are just some that have no required minimum. Oklahoma is among states that have also implemented a four-day school week.

25 different states now have at least one school in this alternative timeline. Benefits to a four-day school week include saving the districts money, improving the quality of life for teachers, which also improves the district turnover rate and also allowing more time for kids to spend time with their families. On the flip side, opponents argue a four-day school week makes it more difficult and expensive for parents to find childcare.

Shorter days of school during the week also equal longer hours during in session school days. Typically, schools in session four days a week extend the school day hours up to an hour and a half.

Where does your state fall in terms of the number of days and the hours kids attend school? Do you think it should be more or less?

Further reading: What are the best high schools by state based on math and reading skills?

How Many Instructional Hours are Required in Each State

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