The Ford Foundation has announced the launch of a coalition of education and civic leaders that will advocate for the addition of more learning time to the school day and year as a way to expand learning opportunities for all children.
Launched with the help of a three-year, $50 million commitment from Ford, the Time to Succeed Coalition will work to promote redesigned and expanded learning time in schools across the country, especially disadvantaged urban schools, where inadequate time in school and a lack of educational opportunities outside school are obstacles to student achievement. To date, a thousand schools serving 460,000 students have added extra hours to the school day as well as days to the school year while simultaneously rethinking the way classroom instruction is delivered. Using half the $100 million pledged by the foundation in 2009 to help transform secondary education, the coalition aims to double that number over two years.
Coalition leaders point to research which shows that additional learning time is closely correlated with improved student performance, makes other strategies for improving teaching and learning more effective, and enables students to spend more time mastering reading and math without sacrificing other subjects. Founding signatories to the coalition include Newark mayor Cory Booker, Harlem Children's Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada, education expert Linda Darling-Hammond, and American Teachers Federation president Randi Weingarten.
"To build a vibrant future as a nation, we have to equalize learning opportunities for all children," said Ford Foundation president Luis A. Ubi�as, who co-chairs the coalition with Chris Gabrieli, president of the National Center on Time & Learning. "Afterschool programs, while engaging and educational, are not available to all kids and are not enough to solve the core problem. What is needed is a strategic redesign of the school day, where teaching practices are modernized to accommodate the unique needs of today's world, today's economy, and today's family life."
For a complete list of coalition signatories, visit the Time to Succeed Coalition Web site.