A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Prisoners Of Time - April 1994


April 1994

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 created 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 the Commission to prepare a report on its findings by April 1994. We are pleased to present that report for your consideration.

In the 24 months since the Commission was established, we have met 18 times to discuss the issues outlined in our statute. We visited 19 schools and education programs across the United States. We listened to more than 150 teachers, administrators, parents, students and other experts on education. We worked with school officials in Japan and Germany to complete two fact- finding visits to schools and research institutes in those countries.

Our conclusions and recommendations speak for themselves. Time is the missing element in our great national debate about learning and the need for higher standards for all students. Our schools and the people involved with them-students, teachers, administrators, parents, and staff-are prisoners of time, captives of the school clock and calendar. 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.

We want to thank each of you for your confidence that we could complete this challenging assignment. Your support helped us complete the task on schedule. We tried to be straightforward in our discussions with each other and in our recommendations about what needs to be done. Although each of us may harbor minor reservations about details of this report, we are unanimous in supporting its broad themes and recommendations.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the work of our staff under the able leadership of its executive director, Milton Goldberg. Amidst the pressure of deadlines and honest differences of opinion about how to proceed on these complex issues, the staff unfailingly came through as the professionals they are.

John Hodge Jones                Carol Schwartz Commission Chairman             Commission Vice Chairman Superintendent                  Former Member Murfreesboro City Schools       D.C. City Council and Board of Education Murfreesboro, Tennessee         Washington, D. C.  Hon. Michael J. Barrett         Norman E. Higgins State Senator                   Principal Commonwealth of Massachusetts   Piscataquis Community High School Cambridge, Massachusetts        Guilford, Maine  B. Marie Byers                  William E. Shelton President                       President Washington County Board         Eastern Michigan University    of Education                 Ypsilanti, Michigan Hagerstown, Maryland  Christopher T. Cross            Glenn R. Walker Director, Education Initiative  Principal The Business Roundtable         Clifton-Clyde High School &  Clyde Elementary Washington, D.C.                Clyde, Kansas  Denis P. Doyle Senior Fellow The Hudson Institute Chevy Chase, Maryland 

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