Learning Time in America

David Farbman

NCTL and the Education Commission of the States (ECS) are proud to release and continually update Learning Time in America: Trends to Reform the American School Calendar.

In 2011, the report showed that while some states and local governments have reduced learning time in response to severe budget pressures – typically by reducing the number of days in the school year – others have prioritized expanding learning time to better prepare students for success in high school, college and the workforce. In 2013, we updated this report to reflect the latest developments at the federal, state and local levels. 

NCTL and ECS just released an updated Learning Time in America! Fueled by policy action at the federal, state, and local levels, the number of expanded-time schools has doubled over the past two years. Schools with redesigned and expanded schedules are now serving over one million students in predominantly urban communities across the country. Thirty-five districts across more than ten states have implemented a longer school day and/or year in participating schools. The report also reviews more than 40 state laws that relate to school time that passed during the last two legislative sessions. Many of the laws Learning Time in America outlines incentivize schools to innovate or provide new flexibilities in school governance to reconfigure schedules, staffing, and budgeting, often resulting in substantially more learning hours for students.