Almost 25 years ago, I co-founded City Year because I believed that we needed fundamentally new approaches to solving problems in our cities and schools. The entrepreneurial spirit that propels new businesses forward can also drive change in our civic life — we have seen it happen time and time again.
That’s why I’m honored to be a founding signatory to the Time to Succeed Coalition. The mission of the coalition is to inspire and motivate communities across the country to add more learning time to a redesigned school day and year, enabling children everywhere — especially in disadvantaged schools — to get the education they need to succeed. It is building a national movement and educational shift that could forever transform the way our nation’s students learn.
This is a powerful coalition because it brings together many different stakeholders in the education movement. The Time to Succeed coalition includes not just education establishment leaders and pioneering reformers, but business leaders and civil rights leaders, and academics and parents as well. They are united in saying that expanded learning time is essential to provide all of our children with the education they need to fully participate as citizens in the 21st century. I have built coalitions and have spent my life in fighting for new policies and legislation, so I know firsthand just how challenging it can be to find commonality amongst people of different backgrounds, experiences, views and beliefs. This is why this coalition is incredibly significant and important. We should all listen to what they have to say.
For me, this coalition embodies the willingness of people to unite around a common interest that moves beyond individual self-interest. This is perhaps most evident in the over 1,000 schools across the country that are not only embracing, but implementing a reform that provides a well-rounded education all children deserve. These 1,000 schools are just the beginning — the coalition is inspiring and mobilizing people who are ready to seize the opportunities of an expanded school day and year for students, teachers, parents, and most importantly, communities.
I’ve always believed that the greatest natural resource we have as a country is the diversity, talent, and commitment of our people. The Time to Succeed Coalition embodies the diversity and the commitment needed to propel a movement that not only challenges the status quo but engages citizens to mobilize for the real change needed to provide our children with the very best education we can offer and they deserve. With this broad and impressive group of supporters and schools leading the way, the time to demand and allow students to succeed is now. I encourage you to join us by going to www.timetosucceed.com and adding your voice to this important new effort.
Alan Khazei is the co-founder of City Year and the founder of Be the Change Inc. He is a founding signatory of the Time to Succeed Coalition. This article is cross-posted on the Huffington Post.