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National Organizations Pledge Support for Expanded Learning Time

More than 40 education and civil rights organizations have banded together to endorse and offer support for the proposed Time for Innovation Matters in Education (TIME) Act I wrote about last month, according to a release from the National Center on Time and Learning. The TIME bill, which was introduced in Congress in April, would allow states to apply for federal grants for their schools to use for adding at least 300 hours to the school year for more academic, enrichment, and teacher professional-development time.

The coalition of organizations, which includes the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the National Association of State School Boards, is led by the National Center on Time and Learning, the Center for American Progress, and KIPP, or Knowledge Is Power, the charter school network. The group advocates that schools look to expanded learning time models as a solution for closing the achievement gap, specifically by providing more time in the areas underpriviledged students are most in need to catch up.

"With significant additional time, schools are also able not only to strengthen academics, but to offer a well-rounded education, often including community partners who provide new programming in the arts and music, internships, and project-based approaches to learning," Jennifer Davis, executive director of the National Center on Time and Learning told me in a Q&A in May. "Adding at least 300 hours to the standard school schedule is helping to eliminate the frustrating tradeoffs schools face between literacy or art (and other subjects that engage students more fully in school), science or social studies, breadth or depth."

Just this week, Citizen Schools, a Boston-based nonprofit that works with middle schools around the country to implement expanded learning time models, announced plans to work with corporations like Bank of America and Fidelity Investments to help mobilize and train 15,000 volunteers to teach in underprivileged middle schools over the next three years. Approximately 5,000 of these volunteers will be STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—professionals who will teach "apprenticeship" courses in those four subjects.

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