I’ve spent much of the day listening to the presentations and discussions organized by the Alliance for Excellent Education on the release of the PISA data, a once-every-three year event that captures the attention of the education policy world. PISA, the test administered by OECD, is, by all reasonable accounts, the best international measure we have of students’ capacity to engage in problem-solving and deeper thinking in math, reading and science.

When I was in graduate school, I was very intrigued by the work of the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and, specifically, his theory of flow. His theory posits that there are moments in our lives when we are so totally absorbed in the activity in which we are engaged, that we lose all sense of all else that surrounds us. 

Over 9,000 students in traditional district schools now have expanded and redesigned school schedules as part of the TIME Collaborative, a five-state initiative announced last year. A second cohort of schools serving 13,000 students have also begun planning for more and better learning time for the 2014-2015 school year. Learn more!

Following up on my earlier post about the duty we should feel toward educating the next generation, New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman, had an interesting op-ed last month about his travels through China to better understand how that country’s education system has developed over the last decade to become a true powerhouse. 

I agree with Thomas Friedman’s point in his recent New York Times column “The Shanghai Secret” that the changes that led to Shanghai's educational successes are not "rocket science." However, Mr. Friedman missed a key difference between Shanghai and the United States: their students are spending much more time in school.

How exactly do we “cherish” schools? For me, the answer is simple: we must continually push ourselves to make sure that those schools are not just solid institutions, but that every adult in the building is committed to providing the highest quality education imaginable. Of course, educators must be provided the tools and resources to make it possible to reach this lofty objective, and having ample time for teaching and learning is high among those.

Last week, there was yet another study published on the connection between instructional time and student outcomes on international tests. If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you’ll be unsurprised by their findings: when you give more time spent well to students in quality classrooms, outcomes improve.

Join NCTL and Americans for the Arts on Friday, October 18, 2013 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET for a webinar on key findings from Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day. The report presents case studies of five schools utilizing the longer student and teacher days to prioritize time for arts education as they work to improve overall academic instruction and focus on individual student achievement. 

Last month, almost nine years after being declared the first 'chronically underperforming' school in the state, Fall River's Matthew J. Kuss Middle School capped off its remarkable turnaround when it received a new designation from the state: 'Level 1', the highest possible ranking of student achievement and growth. 

Are you finding that you have adequate time to develop your students’ knowledge and skills as much as you need to with higher expectations? What are the time use implications of encouraging more collaboration and problem-solving among students?  Do you have enough time to collaborate with colleagues so that you feel prepared to implement the expected instructional shifts?