Saturday, May 12, 2012

Time to Succeed - WASB release

This week, the Ford Foundation announced it will put $50-million into efforts to push for longer school days and additional learning time at schools in poor neighborhoods across the country. In 2009, the Ford Foundation pledged $100-million to improve high-school education; with this week’s announcement, half that money will be narrowly focused on lengthening school time.

The money will back a new Time to Succeed Coalition, which the Ford Foundation started along with the National Center on Time & Learning. The coalition’s chairs are Chris Gabrieli, a longtime extended-day advocate who chairs the National Center on Time & Learning, and Ford Foundation president Luis Ubi├▒as.

They have attracted more than 100 coalition members from across state, sector, and political lines, including among others Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Dennis Walcott, New York City Schools Chancellor and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The goal of the coalition is to raise awareness among decision-makers and encourage them to use the federal School Improvement Grants and the No Child Left Behind waiver process to expand and redesign school time. It also aims to build up a grassroots movement, rallying teachers, communities, and civil rights groups for the cause. Over the next two years, the hope is to double the number of schools across the country that offer more instructional time to their students.

A recent study of New York City charter schools that found a strong link between the amount of instructional time students got and their achievement is being held up as an evidence for a national push for longer school days.

Roland Fryer, the Harvard University researcher who completed the study, found in a different investigation that student test scores inched up—by about .015 points per day of school—in years with few snow days.

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