Shorter School Days in America: A Reform Effort

Author: Nicole Hooper
Major: Political Science
Approved: Fall 2019
Status: In progress

This project will look at the policy of required school time seen in American schools compared to that of Finland. American students attend school for seven hours a day while in Finland they only attend for four hours a day in the lower levels of education. This project will look at how a shorter day of schooling can impact educational outcomes. Based on the World Top 20 Project, Finland is ranked second based on their educational system, while the United States is ranked twenty-sixth. This is important to look at due to Finland being in the classroom for almost half the time our students are, and they are further ahead on many educational aspects. While I recognize there are other factors involved in this progression, I want to focus on the hours required in a school day. As well as looking at the example found in Finland, I will investigate other examples within the US where schools decreased the hours required to attend and how it affected their educational outcomes. This will be conducted through a meta-analysis of studies on length of school days and educational outcomes. With this research, I hope to make an argument that shorter school days would be beneficial to our educational system, but will be keeping an open mind on what may come out of this research. Based
on the research, I will create a bill to push for a reform within our educational system. This is important because the American education system is need of a change, and I hope this will provide a possible solution and help our system progress forward.