OVER 85 LEADERS FROM ACROSS STATE CALL EXPANDED LEARNING TIME A CRITICAL EDUCATION REFORM STRATEGY FOR STUDENTS IN HIGH-POVERTY COMMUNITIES
Broad coalition includes unusual allies, including leaders from statewide teachers unions, charter schools, superintendents, business leaders, and community organizations

(Boston, MA) At a briefing for legislators and staff at the State House today, a new state coalition – Time to Succeed Massachusetts – launched calling for expanded learning time in schools in high-poverty communities. Time to Succeed Massachusetts, a state coalition of the national Time to Succeed Coalition, will be focused on building momentum and support for expanded learning time across the state and already boasts more than 85 featured signatories and more than 5,000 grassroots supporters.

“Leaders from all across the Commonwealth are joining together today to call for expanding learning time at schools in our most disadvantaged communities,” said Chris Gabrieli, Chairman of Massachusetts 2020 and Co-Chair of Time to Succeed Massachusetts. “Massachusetts has been a national leader on this issue for a decade and now is the moment to take the next step. This coalition is urging the state to continue to be an innovator and to develop a policy for expanded learning that is strategic, sustainable, and commits resources to schools that are ready, willing and able to expand learning time, regardless of governance structure. The need is there and the evidence is there – and we believe that the time to scale this up is now.”
Massachusetts is the pioneering state of the expanded learning time movement. With the Legislature’s leadership, the state approved funding for a state grant program – the MA Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative – that allowed 10 traditional schools in 5 districts to expand their school day/year by 300 hours beginning in the 2006-2007 school year. Now, six years later, there are ninety schools in every corner of the Commonwealth – including 19 schools in the MA ELT Initiative – that have expanded school schedules. The results of these schools – with 4 times as many expanded-time schools moving students into high-growth categories in math and 2.5 times as many expanded-time schools in ELA (English Language Arts) as similar low-income traditional schools across the state – have led to calls for more opportunities for schools to follow suit.

“I joined this coalition because too few of our schools have the time they need to prepare students for success in today’s workforce. In order for our students to be skilled workers and thinkers in the 21st global economy we need to have a longer school day. Expanding learning time for all students, and especially in high-poverty schools, simply makes sense,” said David Belluck, General Partner at Riverside Partners.

Time to Succeed Massachusetts Coalition signatories include key education, civic, business and community leaders, including Governor Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Rep. Alice Peisch, co-chairs of the Legislature’s Education Committee, among other legislative leaders. Eight Mayors, including Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, joined nine Superintendents, including Boston’s Carol Johnson, Revere’s Paul Dakin and as well as Thomas Scott, Executive Director of the MA Association of School Superintendents, in joining the coalition. Paul Toner of the MA Teachers Association and  Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, and 12 leaders of charter schools across the state, including Caleb Dolan, Executive Director of KIPP Massachusetts and Kevin Andrews, Headmaster of Neighborhood House Charter School.

At the legislative briefing, education leaders, practitioners, and a high school senior, who attended a Boston expanded-time middle school, all spoke to the value of expanding learning time.

“I believe that expanding learning time is a critical investment, particularly for urban middle schools. Students in urban schools are often moving around and need more time to catch up, and the longer day provides for that. It builds in more time for academics, engagement with community organizations, and more time for teachers to plan and collaborate. The bottom line is that expanded learning time only makes schools stronger,” said Dr. Paul Dakin, superintendent of the Revere Public Schools, one of the panelists.

Massachusetts 2020 was joined in hosting legislative briefing by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Citizen Schools, Stand for Children, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Massachusetts Charter Public Schools Association.