Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reimagining the School Day in CT

Across the nation, we are seeing the impact of expanded learning time for our kids.  Not only does it help with student performance, but we can also see the benefits with regard to student safety, health, and overall well being.  Research and efforts from organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the Mott Foundation, and Carnegie all point to the enormous benefits of expanded learning time.

Yesterday, I was down in Washington, DC for an event sponsored by the TIME Collaborative, an effort led by the Ford Foundation and the National Center for Time & Learning.  At the event, Connecticut was announced as one of five states (along with Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee) that will receive a financial investment in expanded learning activities.

Soon, we will see specific efforts -- as part of the TIME Collaborative -- in East Hartford, Meriden, and New London.  Of course, we are already seeing expanded learning in those schools that are now part of the Commissioner's Network, as well as in other communities across Connecticut.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was in DC to accept this honor.  There, Governor Malloy noted the need for additional classroom time for our teachers and our students if we are to compete in the 21st century.  Boldly declaring "this is our time to change," Malloy issued a clarion call that we should not tolerate different levels of achievement based on wealth and geography.  Expanded learning time can be one of those great equalizers.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan states that our shared goal should be students learning more. To do that, we have to give children the time to learn more in a high-qualithy way.  Speaking of after-school violence and other risks today's students face outside of the school day, Duncan called on all involved in education to help all kids start thinking "when I grow up," instead of "if I grow up."

Duncan also heaped praise on Malloy, noting that he was one of the few governors in the United States who stands as a true "education governor," both talking the talk and walking the walk when it comes to school improvement.

Yesterday's announcement of the event can be found here.  An overview of the TIME Collaborative can be found here.

This announcement is an important step forward for education and education reform in Connecticut.  Following the passage of the state's landmark education reform bill in May, it is clear that national entities such as the U.S. Department of Education and the Ford Foundation are taking notice of Connecticut.  While reform efforts have just begun, and we have much further to go, we continue to commit to the changes necessary to provide all kids with a high-quality public education.

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