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Sen. Kennedy: Expanded Learning Time Expands Curriculum

One way to stop narrowing of the curriculum is to expand learning time in schools, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., says.

In the next version of NCLB, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee wants to include grants to increase the number of days in the school year or to extend the school day. That would curtail schools' focus on improving reading and mathematics scores at the expense of other subjects, he told an audience yesterday.

Kennedy said his bill also would require states to track the amount of time students study music and the arts.

"We will include a new program to provide funding for states, districts and schools to expand learning time for students—to provide more time for arts and music education and experiential learning, as well as reading and math," he told the audience at the Walnut Hill School in Natick, Mass., which bills itself as "America's Premier School for Arts and Academics."

"And we will ask states to keep track of how much time students are spending in arts and music, to ensure that all students receive a full and well-rounded education," Kennedy said.

The senator did not say when his committee would take up NCLB, but his spokeswoman told me this week that the senator and his staff are still optimistic the Senate will pass NCLB by the end of the year. (See the story here.)

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