In last Thursday’s Boston Globe, the editorial page heralded the plan for Unlocking Potential (UP) – led by TSC Signatory Scott Given – to take over Boston’s Marshall Elementary School. Their praise came from both the UP’s success with the Gavin Middle School as well as with UP’s commitment to expanding learning time.
The editorial calls out Boston’s school day as among the shortest in large urban districts, including Charlotte, Austin, and Nashville. This is true. However, it is also true that Boston’s leaders – led by TSC Signatories Mayor Thomas Menino and Superintendent Carol Johnson – have long been supporters of expanded learning time. The National Center on Time & Learning’s research team calculates that over 20% of Boston’s students are in expanded-time schools (defined as schools with a seven-hour school day and/or 190 day school year). That number includes district schools, charter schools, in-district charter schools like UP Academy, and pilot schools. And following a difficult negotiation, it is worth noting that the district and Boston Teachers Union have come to an agreement enabling some district schools to expand learning time. Of course, this is not wholesale, district-wide change. However, with expanded-time charter schools and the district supporting expanded learning time with their teacher’s union support, the winds are blowing in that direction.
Here at TSC, we know that small steps often lead to big successes. So today, we are tipping our TSC hat to UP Academy and BPS, and we are looking forward to that day in the future when we can celebrate Boston truly taking the lead on ELT!