On Tuesday, the Equity and Excellence Commission issued a report, “For Each and Every Child,” to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about the disparities in education opportunities causing the achievement gap. The Commission was created by Congress in a 2010 bill and was directed to focus on equity in education. The 27 commissioners came from a variety of backgrounds, and we are proud to say ten of the commissioners are TSC Featured Signatories: Cynthia Brown, Linda Darling-Hammond, Reed Hastings, Karen Hawley Miles, Ben Jealous, Commissioner John King, Marc Morial, Thomas Saenz, Dennis Van Roekel, and Randi Weingarten.
The report covers school finance and efficiency, teacher leadership opportunities, high-quality early childhood education, and the role of the government in finding solutions for the achievement and opportunity gaps that plague our schools.
Of course, we at TSC were very interested and excited to see expanded learning time included among the commission’s recommendations. They noted that:
“After-school, extended-day, summer and other extended-learning experiences can both stem learning loss and accelerate student achievement. Studies show that instructional time—measured as the time students are actually engaged in learning—and high dosage tutoring are strong predictors of higher achievement.”
We agree that equalizing learning time and opportunities can help level the playing field for children living in communities of concentrated poverty. Like the broad and diverse leaders of TSC, the leaders on the Equity and Excellence Commission come from very different perspectives and may disagree on other issues. In fact, they may even disagree on the specifics of the implementation of expanded learning time at the local level. But what they all agree on, across the board and across the spectrum, is that the time for debate on this issue is over. Children in high-poverty schools need more time and opportunities in order to succeed in school and beyond.