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 spending 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 develop a supplementary volume describing innovative approaches to the uses of school time. I am pleased to enclose the fruits of their work for your consideration. Prisoners of Time: Schools Making Time Work for Students and Teachers provides nearly 40 examples of exemplary efforts, supported by schools, school districts, or non-school partners, to make better use of available time and extend the amount of time students spend learning. These programs are but a sampling of many public and private school efforts -- from preschool through grade 12 -- across the United States.
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