Today’s post is written by Blair Brown, National Director of TSC.
Two years ago, with great excitement and fanfare, we launched the Time to Succeed Coalition. We gathered over 100 leaders in education, business, civic and community organizations, and philanthropy to say it’s time that more students in communities of concentrated poverty get the time they need to succeed in school. The coalition was – and remains – a broad demonstration of the deep support for changing the outdated school calendar.
Over the first year, we built the coalition. We recruited signatories and launched a state coalition in Massachusetts. We asked our members to take action and they did.
Now it’s two years later. In many ways, the Coalition is still evolving. We’re still recruiting members and we’re still asking for input and action from signatories. However, it’s more and more apparent that this movement is organic. Communities from Evansville, Indiana to Asbury, New Jersey are expanding their calendar. Our role, then, is not as organizer as we originally envisioned but as cheerleader.
One key reason for this is that state policies, a key catalyst to ensure that districts have the flexibilities and funding to expand the school calendar, are changing too. Over the past year, the Coalition put out an interactive tool tracking state legislation related to expanded-time. In 2013, 33 states were considering legislation related to expanded learning time. That number alone is impressive. We are continuing to update and track that and expect that number will only grow in the years to come.
So where is the Coalition headed? That’s a good question. Today, we are 35,000 members strong with over 1,500 expanded-time schools. That seems like immense progress from where we started at 100 members and 1,000 expanded-time schools, but we have so much further to go.
Thank you all for joining with us in this Coalition. It’s been fun to get started, and I do think we’re just getting started!