Do you know where students have the shortest school day?

Colorado's 160-day requirement is the lowest, while Kansas keeps kids in school the longest at 186 days.

Students in other states may not have as long a school day as yours do. Or, they may be getting even more instructional time, according to a new analysis.

The standard school year in most of the country is 180 days, but seven states have set lower minimums. Colorado’s 160-day requirement is the lowest while Minnesota mandates 165 and Kentucky 170. Kansas, on the other hand, keeps kids in school the longest at 186 days, according to data analyzed by the Pew Research Center.

Each state’s minimum for overall instructional time is determined by a combination of days per year and hours per day, and in some cases can include activities such as lunch, recess and class changes. In many states, the formula varies by grade level.

More from DA: How 2 new principals are reinventing the beginning of the school year

South Dakota, for example, requires 875 hours for fourth graders (the national average is 997.8) and 962.5 for eighth graders. Other grades also vary widely: Arizona requires 730 hours for 11th graders while Texas mandates 1,260.

How long is the school day?

Now let’s get down to the school day itself and here, the states all over the map (pun intended):

  • Pennsylvania’s minimum length for a school day is 2.5 hours for kindergarten, 5 hours for first through eighth grades, and 5.5 hours for ninth through 12th grades.
  • For eighth graders, the school day can be as short as 3 hours in Maryland and Missouri, or as many as 6.5 in Tennessee.
  • New Hampshire and Oregon have set maximum school days. For eighth graders, that’s 6 hours in New Hampshire and 8 hours in Oregon.
  • Texas is unique in requiring a minimum number of minutes in the school year: 75,600, including intermissions and recess.

A more complete list of requirements can be found in the Pew Research Center’s analysis.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

Most Popular