NJ Governor Christie’s Proposal to Expand Learning Time
We look forward to seeing the details of the governor’s proposal to expand learning time in New Jersey. States and school districts across the U.S. are expanding learning time to improve student achievement and provide engaging enrichment opportunities. Expanding learning time, particularly for high-poverty students, through longer school days and years is a proven strategy with the support of Democrats and Republicans, business leaders and teachers unions, education leaders and community leaders, parents and civic officials.
Through our research, we know that how time is added matters – expanded time needs to be done thoughtfully and we have seen that when schools redesign and expand their school day, the results can be powerful. Schools are able to provide a well-rounded curriculum that includes not just math, reading, and science but art, music, robotics, and physical education. With more time, teachers are also able to individualize instruction to meet students’ needs and strengthen their craft. Teachers in high-performing countries have significantly more time for collaboration and professional learning, and with more time, New Jersey’s teachers would be able to do the same.
As New Jersey considers expanding learning time, there is broad national support among parents and the public as well. Three-quarters of respondents from a nationwide survey - including 80 percent of parents with children enrolled in public schools - agreed that more time in school will better prepare students for success in college and the workforce.
We know that all parents are concerned for their children’s future, and they want their children to have a well-rounded high-standards education. Expanding learning time in school enables those opportunities. For students, particularly in our neediest communities, the current school calendar of 180 six-and-a-half-hour days is simply not enough, and we encourage the governor and his team to engage communities on the process in designing a modern school schedule.