Extra Time: Is It the Solution for Raising Achievement?

July 22, 2008 1 min read
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With the goal of dramatically improving student achievement, many people are asking: What can schools do?

Offer extra time, some say.

Yesterday, the Center for American Progress released two reports on the topic. In one, Elana Rocha gives a sample of what more than 300 districts have done to expand learning time. In the other, Marguerite Roza and Karen Hawley Miles explain how districts can pay for such projects.

At a session discussing the reports, a key aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said on Monday that there may be federal help on the way. This week, Sen. Kennedy plans to introduce a bill that would authorize grants to states to support districts’ efforts to increase learning time, said Carmel Martin, the general counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

The program would authorize $150 million a year for the grants. District grants would add between $1,200 and $1,400 per pupil in districts (about what Massachusetts districts are given to expand learning time in a private-public program). States would need to match the federal dollars. The authorization would grow over the five-year life of the bill.

The object, Martin said, is to “get this seeded throughout the country and have people trying different models that we can study.”

The program may have the added benefit of answering the critics’ assertion that NCLB has narrowed the curriculum, particularly in high-poverty schools, she added.

The program could give students “more time on task to reach high standards ... without sacrificing art, music, and other enrichment activities,” Martin said.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.


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