While it's true that the U.S. is falling behind other developed countries in educational achievement and N.C. is behind a lot of other states in the U.S., it's not because of the amount of time students spend in school.
While state requirements vary on the number of instructional days and hours in the year, the majority of states set the school year at 180 days (30 states). Eleven states set the minimum number of instructional days between 160 and 179 days, two states set the minimum above 180 days (Kansas and Ohio) and eight states currently do not set a minimum number of instructional days.
Comparing the U.S. to other countries, when it comes to the total number of actual instructional hours per year, we're about the same as, or higher, than most other countries with the exceptions being France and Taiwan (from a survey done a couple of years ago).
Having said that, we still seem to be falling behind. Perhaps the problem is as much a societal issue as it is scholastic one. The diminishing number of parents attending parent-teacher conferences is a pretty good indicator of the lack of family involvement in scholastics these days. Combine that with many schools being more interested in how little Johhny feels about things vs what little Johnny has actually learned and you've got the ingredients for a national crises.
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