Since launching the Time to Succeed Coalition, we’ve been inspired to see leaders from across the spectrum come together to voice their support for expanded learning time. In spite of the sometimes divisive nature of the dialogue around education reform, leaders in education, business, civil rights, and government are joining community organizers, teachers, principals, and parents in agreeing that we need more and better learning time to prepare our students for success. As Ford Foundation President and TSC co-chair Luis Ubiñas puts it, these are “people who sometimes disagree with each other.”
These are not simply words – these education leaders have the actions to back them up. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Innovation Fund, led by AFT president and TSC Signatory Randi Weingarten, is a venture philanthropy fund aimed at cultivating workable solutions from educators. In its latest round of grants, the fund supported local unions in planning for a redesigned and expanded school day for students and for teachers.
KIPP co-founder and TSC signatory Dave Levin is also putting words into action. KIPP schools operate with up to 60% more time than traditional district schools, and they just recently celebrated their 10th annual school summit. At their summit, their expanded school schedule was highlighted by both President Bill Clinton and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who said, “More and better education is necessary. Everyone will have to find their extra.”
As more and more leaders come together around this issue, it’s becoming increasingly clear that change is possible.