Time for Innovation Matters in Education Act

(HR 1636 & S 851)

The Time for Innovation Matters in Education Act supports Expanded Learning Time programs at the state, district, and school level to transform selected low-performing, high-poverty schools. Based on the successful statewide Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time Initiative, the TIME Act seeks to close the achievement gap by helping students reach high academic standards while still ensuring that students get the well-rounded, engaging education that prepares them for success in college and in the emerging 21st century economy.

At its core, the TIME Act provides competitive grants for schools that add 300 hours to their school year (that’s about 25% more time in most places). The grants could not be used to just pay for time tacked on to the afternoons or end of the school year, nor time used narrowly for test preparation. Instead, grants would only be for expanded time as part of comprehensive school reforms that redesigned the entire school for students and teachers. Every school would be locally-designed, but there would have to be:

  • • More time for rigorous learning in core subjects such as reading, language arts, math, science, history, and civics.
  • • More time for enrichment activities that contribute to a well-rounded education, like music and the arts, physical education, service-learning, and hands-on work-based learning opportunities.
  • • More time for teachers to work collaboratively, plan coursework, analyze and use data, and participate in training and professional development to improve instruction and student outcomes. Expanded Learning Time Grants The 

The TIME Act is designed to support states that choose to promote Expanded Learning Time by funding grant programs.

  • • States, districts, and schools – whether traditional public or public charter schools – will be able to redesign the school day or school year to add 300 hours of instruction annually.
  • • While designed to support states that choose to promote Expanded Learning Time initiatives, the TIME Act is flexible enough to provide direct support for district and school-specific efforts too.
  • • The Act gives priority to schools serving high-poverty student populations.

Flexibility, Accountability, and Evaluation

The TIME Act reflects the best of school reform, providing state and local education leaders with more flexibility while ensuring real accountability for both student learning and taxpayer dollars.

  • • Schools get planning grants first to ensure flexibility and local control of the final school design.
  • • School leaders are empowered to use the additional time for their highest priorities, like instruction in core subjects or subjects that may have gotten “squeezed out” by pressure to perform better in other tested areas; and they also have the ability to put the time they already had to better use by ensuring that teachers have the tools and the time to identify individual student needs and improve instruction so that all class time is used more effectively.
  • • Implementation grants are for five years, but schools, districts, and states will have to publicly report their results, and schools must meet agreed on performance targets after three years in order to receive the last two years of funding.
  • • The TIME Act includes a national evaluation of its implementation and the impact of Expanded Learning Time.

Partnerships and Community Engagement

The TIME Act promotes parental involvement and community partnerships in both the planning and implementation phases.

  • • School-level planning includes parents and community stakeholders.
  • • Expanded Learning Time plans incorporating robust community partnerships are prioritized. This helps connect schools to universities, civil rights organizations, healthcare institutions, community centers, afterschool and summer learning programs, and other civic groups to enrich student experiences and build strong communities.