Here's an education topic for you: In the states, do we need the school day to be as long as it is? Here in Germany where my kids attend the local schools, the 1st and 2nd graders get out at noon, and the following grades get out at 1. I think in the end German kids are as smart as US kids. It's nice to have the kids get out of school and have the whole afternoon to do homework and play. I love having my sone and daughter able to head to the playground for a pick up game of soccer, meet up with friends and play, or just ride their bikes around. It would be nice to see this system in the states.
So, do we need such a long school day stateside? Is it filled with needed education or is the US school day filled with some fluff that could be deleted?
There are several differences between German and US schools besides just the ones mentioned above. There's the tracking system, whereby students are identified for vocational track or college track. There's also the national curriculum.
But neither of those have an impact on the school day. So if we can agree that German students are learning as much as their American counterparts--and let's just focus on elementary school here--how is it they are doing it in so many fewer hours?
I'd venture, without a shred of evidence, that educational fads are significantly less effective in Germany than in the US. German teachers must laugh at the thought of not teaching grammar or not memorizing multiplication tables. There are no Margaret Moustafas in Germany, and if there are, they are less than ignored.
It would be most illuminating if the commenter quoted above would provide a daily schedule for his children's classroom, and we can compare it to my son's 4th grade classroom's schedule. That might be an interesting place to start with some real data points.