The Honorable Albert Gore
United States Senate
The Honorable Thomas S. Foley
United States House of Representatives
The Honorable Richard W. Riley
United States Department of Education
Public Law 102-62 (The Education Council Act of 1991) established the National Education Commission on Time and Learning as an independent advisory body and called for a comprehensive review of the relationship between time and learning in the nation's schools.
The legislation established a nine-member Commission (three each to be appointed by the Secretary of Education, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives) and directed it to prepare a report on its findings for the American people within two years of its first meeting.
That report, Prisoners of Time, was released in May 1994 amidst widespread public and editorial approval. It contained several straightforward messages. Learning in America is a prisoner of time. Times have changed, and the nation's schools must change with them. We have been asking the impossible of our students--that they learn as much as their foreign peers while requiring them to spend only half as much time in core academic subjects. The reform movement of the last decade is destined to founder unless it is harnessed to more time for learning. Time is the unacknowledged design flaw in American schools.
When Prisoners of Time was released, the Commission, whose legislative mandate expires in September 1994, asked its staff to prepare a supplementary volume summarizing the research reviewed by the Commission members as they developed their recommendations, and also to suggest an agenda for further research into important questions on which the Commission had found little or inadequate information. I am pleased to enclose the results for your consideration, and to express the Commission's gratitude for the work of Cheryl M. Kane, the director of our research efforts and the author of this volume. The Commission believes that learning from research--that which is now available and that which has yet to be done--can greatly assist American schools and school districts in raising the quality of learning for all children.
With this volume, the work of the National Education Commission on Time and Learning draws to a close. I know I speak for every member of the Commission in expressing our gratitude to each of you for your support of our work.
John Hodge Jones,
National Education Commission on Time and Learning
Murfreesboro City Schools, Tennessee