Are Students Sick of 180 Days of School?

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Brighton Seymour, Writer

Students across Massachusetts in grades 1-11 are required to attend 180 school days each year, but why? Much research has been done, fine-tuning the curriculums and days in which to attend school in order to try and get this number of days down to a T. Yet after all of this research, it is still a topic open for debate, as no two students learn the same. Would students and teachers benefit from fewer or more school days? Let’s see what they think… 



“I think schools and public education are locked into more traditional patterns and thinking, so it’s fairly random, or, it’s actually historically out of date, that you go to school for 180 days,” says Mr. Seymour, the principal at Pentucket. He stated that it’s all about “the end goal, and then how do we get there.” As the principal, he takes many college trips both with his students and with his kids, and Seymour says “What happens at college is what I would like to see us do at high school … I would love to see us be able to break free from that [180 days] and be way more flexible about it.”


Allie Bleichfeld, a freshman at Pentucket, says that 180 days is definitely enough. She said “Some days, depending on the student, can be slack days, where I feel like we just don’t do a lot of work,” and she believes that the more days you add to a school year, the more “slack days” students would have. She says that if students had less time or

Photo source: Brighton Seymour

days in school, their time would be better managed and they would get things done more efficiently in a shorter period of time. 


Another freshman, Grace Sudbay, explained how she thinks we should be in school for 180 days. She said, “You have to finish the curriculums and they take a long time.” However, she also believes that not everything in the curriculum is necessary, and it could be shortened. One benefit to spending 180 days in school, Sudbay says, is that “You get all three seasons, you can dress in short sleeves, shorts and, long sleeves”, but she would like to see the day ending around 1:30, rather than 2:15. 


Maddie O’Brien, a sophomore, explained how she feels many school days are wasted. “I feel like some days when we come to school we actually just do nothing. Like I’ve been in school so many times where I just did nothing all day.” She also agrees with Grace in the sense that six hours and 45 minutes is too long for a school day, and shortening it would be beneficial.



 Mrs. Ward, a biology teacher at Pentucket, explained how 180 school days work out in her classroom. “I think if you get all of your stuff accomplished you don’t necessarily have to [attend 180 days of school] … but I don’t think I could [teach] biology in less than that.” She stated that she uses it pretty much every day of the year for the curriculum, so it works well for her. However, she said she couldn’t speak for other classrooms.



In Japan, there is a required minimum of 210 days of school, and it is ranked the best country in academics. Fourth is Hong Kong which, similarly to America, requires 180 days of school. Ranked 8th is Finland, which attends 190 days of school and is also considered the happiest country in the world.


In conclusion, there seems to be no right answer to this question, and the reasoning behind it seems faulty and “out of date” as Mr. Seymour put it. So what do you think, should we spend 180 days in school?