Time to Learn: How a New School Schedule Is Making Smarter Kids, Happier Parents, and Safer Neighborhoods

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Christopher Gabrieli, Warren Goldstein
270 pages. $24.95.

Are America’s public schools struggling in part because school days are too short? After developing after-school programs under Boston’s mayor, education reformer Gabrieli writes that he “became convinced that expanded time inside schools would be … [a] more far-reaching solution.” In 2006, 10 public schools began an experiment to test that theory.

Here Gabrieli joins Goldstein, a history professor, to visit some of the hundreds of charter and traditional public schools that have added about two hours to their daily schedules so teachers can cover core subjects in depth, add enrichment classes and coach students individually. At an inner-city middle school with top test scores, engaged students change classes “without a sound” and eagerly describe the math problems and books they enjoy. According to Gabrieli and Goldstein, schools’ use of once unsupervised afternoons “reinvigorates children’s lives,” increases academic success, creates effective teachers, relieves parents and makes “kids and neighborhoods safer.”

If the “new school day” became widespread, after-school programs that provide similar benefits would be affected. This movement deserves careful assessment by teachers, parents, public policymakers and all who work with youth. (800) 956-7739, http://www.josseybass.com.