School & District Management

New Center to Study Use of Time in School and to Aid Enrichment

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — October 09, 2007 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A newly launched National Center on Time & Learning will provide research, advocacy, and technical assistance to efforts to increase academic and enrichment opportunities for students, officials said last week.

Some experts say such opportunities can help improve student performance overall and close achievement gaps between disadvantaged students and their better-off peers.

“The current school time is insufficient for achieving the goals we have set out … and for allowing a well-rounded education,” said Paul Reville, the chairman of the Massachusetts state board of education. He will co-chair the Boston-based center with Chris Gabrieli, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who served on Boston’s task force on after-school time.

“What we are asking our schools to do now in the 21st century,” Mr. Reville said, “far exceeds what can be done” in the so-called factory model of education that has dictated the school day for generations.

Earlier this year, a panel of prominent education experts released a report on the structure of the school day, concluding that more time spent on educational activities, and a better use of learning time, could help attempts to improve schools. (“Panel Favors Extended View of Learning,” Jan. 24, 2007.)

The national center plans to conduct or sponsor research, such as time audits, on how time is used now in schools and to review the scholarly literature on the most effective uses of additional learning time, according to its president, Jennifer Davis.

“We want to document the variety of ways of using time effectively in the school day,” said Ms. Davis, a former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton administration. “We’re talking about more time used well.”

A bill now in Congress would finance district-level programs for expanded learning time, and the strategy is included in a discussion draft for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act released recently by House education leaders.

Struggling Students

Such undertakings are bound to face a number of challenges, though, according to Roy Romer, the chief of the Los Angeles Unified School District until last fall. In a meeting of prominent education leaders convened by the center, Mr. Romer said the cost of extending learning time—including teacher salaries and facilities expenses—could be considerable.

“You have to convince yourself that the cost is worthwhile,” said Mr. Romer, a former governor of Colorado. For parents, he suggested, the argument for extended learning time is that without it, “your child is not going to get prepared for success in the global economy.”

Marc S. Tucker, the president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, a research and advocacy organization in Washington, advised officials of the new center to look at how other countries structure the school day and year and what effect those strategies have on student achievement.

Mr. Reville said the center will promote the potential benefits of more learning time for all students, but that, at least initially, it will focus most of its attention on schools with large proportions of disadvantaged and struggling students, and on communities where students are less likely to have structured and supervised after-school activities.

The center wants schools not just to add to the time children spend in learning activities, he said, but also to rethink how the school day is structured.

“We don’t want kids sitting in their desks racing to the finish of a six-hour day until they get to do some physical activity, art, or music,” Mr. Reville said.

The center is being underwritten by the Eli and Edythe Broad Education Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Its mission is modeled in part after Massachusetts’ expanded-learning-time initiative, called Mass 2020, which provides grants to 19 schools that add at least 300 hours of academic and enrichment programming to the school year. (“Massachusetts Governor Unveils Education Overhaul Plan,” June 13, 2007.)


Student Well-Being Webinar After-School Learning Top Priority: Academics or Fun?
Join our expert panel to discuss how after-school programs and schools can work together to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.
Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion When It Comes to Leadership, Self-Awareness Matters. Here's Why
One leader learned she had a habit of shutting down others' ideas instead of inspiring them. Here's how she changed.
Robin Shrum
6 min read
Picture1 6.19.32 AM
Robin Shrum
School & District Management Opinion Don’t Bewail Summer Vacation for Students, Rethink It
Students experience summer vacation differently, depending on family resources. We should rethink the tradition with that in mind.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management Women in K-12 Leadership Don't Get Enough Support. Here's What Needs to Change
Fairer family-leave policies, pay transparency, better data collection, and more on-the-job support are elements of the plan.
7 min read
Illustration showing diversity with multi-colored human figures.
School & District Management School Counselors Face 'Role Ambiguity.' This State Tried to Clarify Matters
New York's new regulations didn't always change how principals viewed or interacted with school counselors, research finds.
5 min read
Man trapped in maze.
Man trapped in maze.
iStock/Getty Images Plus