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Reprinted Report Highlights Continued Need To Improve Student Learning


The Education Commission of the States (ECS) recently released the 2005
edition of “Prisoners of Time”, a reprint of the 1994 report produced
by the National Education Commission on Time and Learning. The reprint
was funded by Washington Mutual through a grant to ECS.

In releasing a reprinted version of the 1994 report, ECS is calling
attention to one of the most intractable problems in education reform.

“Unless educators and parents abandon their traditional views on the
use of time in teaching, we will never achieve our goal that all
children have the opportunity to succeed,” according to Piedad
Robertson, president of the Education Commission of the States. The
reprinted version includes a new introduction and examples of how
schools use time in effective ways.

“Time is a resource that must be used more creatively and more
effectively,” said Milton Goldberg, the staff director of the
commission and an author of the report. “For more than a century we
have kept time constant while allowing students to fail. It is simply
the case that a school year of 180 days and a school day of six hours
are not sufficient for many students to achieve the more rigorous
standards that society is requiring.”

Christopher T. Cross, a commission member and an author of the report,
stated, “In every other sector of life we know that different people
require different ‘doses’ of care. In education we have assumed that
all students are the same. That is a flaw in our system that has led to
failure for many students. We also know that in the decade since the
first release of the report, much of the world has indeed become a
single market for both human and non-human capital. Tom Friedman has it
right when he notes that the world is flat.”

“The report addresses student achievement, professional development for
teachers and accountability, all issues that the federal No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) law has made national issues,” said Robertson. “As
schools conform to NCLB and as we address the impact of the hurricanes
— schools closings and the relocation of tens of thousands of children
— the issue of time for learning is more salient than ever. The report
is a reminder that we must address the issue of time, otherwise we
jeopardize our ability to improve education.”

Copies of this publication can be downloaded from the ECS Web site at

© Copyright 2005 by

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