Giving Kids Time to Succeed

Chris Caruso“We have a school day and year designed for an agrarian society that no longer exists,” Ford Foundation President Luis Ubinas said today, as he announced the launch of the Time to Succeed Coalition, a new national campaign to expand learning time especially for students with the greatest needs. He made a strong plea to common sense, noting that in an age when wealth is created through technology and “everyone in the world can be connected instantaneously,” it makes no sense to cling to a school schedule that presumes nothing has changed since our great-grandparents learned to spell.

Time to Succeed LogoA national coalition of leaders (including TASC and its directors Herb Sturz, Geoff Canada, Pedro Noguera and Lucy Friedman) have joined with Mr. Ubinas in the Time to Succeed Coalition, which has several goals. One is to pull together the evidence and make the case to decision-makers that more learning time is a powerful lever to achieve better educational results. On the call to announce the launch of this coalition, Roland Fryer referenced two compelling pieces of research: the famous snow days study and his examination of the correlation between more learning time and success in selected New York City charter schools.

Perhaps even more important is to bring more teachers, parents and community members into this discussion. As Newark Mayor Cory Booker said on the call, “This movement is going to be successful if grassroots leaders who see the need make it happen.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten also joined the call and gave voice to the thinking that informs much of our work with ExpandED Schools. The goal is not simply to add learning time, but to use it more effectively so that all children get arts and sports and targeted academic support, and so that they have time not just to accrue knowledge, but to practice applying it.

I may have to borrow this line from Luis Ubinas, which states the case rather elegantly: “No American child should be left behind in a school that is part-time, part-day, part-year.”

(Click here to view the coalition’s video on YouTube.)