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Speeches

3 December 2012

Ford Foundation President Welcomes Guests to the Launch of the Time Collaborative

Ford Foundation President Welcomes Guests to the Launch of the Time Collaborative
Time Collaborative launch event held at the Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, D.C. December 3, 2012

I’m Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation, and it is my great pleasure to welcome you here today for the launch of the Time Collaborative.

Let me begin by recognizing Secretary Arne Duncan for his incredible leadership at the Department of Education and for his incredible passion, dedication and commitment to children and their communities every single day.

We are also very fortunate to have both Governor Daniel Malloy and Governor John Hickenlooper with us this morning.

It is wonderful to have you both here, and we all look forward to hearing from each of you shortly on your plans for incorporating more time for learning into the schools in your states.

Last, I want to recognize true leaders in this movement, the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) and its unflagging leader, Chris Gabrieli for making this day possible.

This is a special day for the Ford Foundation. We have been a funder in education for a long time and have witnessed extraordinary achievements along the way.

We fought for more time as far back as the 1960’s, when Ford provided pioneer support for Head Start, a program that made an immense difference for me and millions of others like me.

In 1967, I started in one of the very first Head Start classes in the South Bronx. It was the first environment I had ever been in which English was the common language.

There is no more important equalizer in education than children spending more time in good schools with good teachers. And let me say that now is the moment for this issue.

As states begin stepping back from the austerity ledge and devoting more resources to their education budgets, it is vital that they think about what they are buying with those added dollars, that those added dollars—which are already beginning to emerge in some states—be used for something tangible, something taxpayers can see and children can benefit from: a redesigned school day that enhances opportunities.

The argument is simple. An investment in a longer day is an investment in the 21st century work force and an investment in the future economic growth of this nation.

A few years ago when we started the work, there were questions about whether more time for our children to learn was possible, whether it would get results. We now know the answer to those questions.

The research done by NCTL, by Roland Fryer at Harvard, and by others consistently demonstrates that when kids spend more time in school they score better on standardized tests; they graduate at higher rates and are more likely to land internships or apprenticeships.

But it is pivotal to remember that as important as those education outcomes are, the benefits of an expanded school day go far beyond the powerful academic outcomes the researchers keep finding.

Extended learning time is about the entire community. It’s about matching the school day to better fit the work lives of parents; it’s about giving teachers more time to plan their day, more time for professional development and more time to collaborate with their colleagues. Most importantly, it is about the stark choice of the alternative. The hours between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. are the single most important time of the day for our nation’s children.

Our goal must be to turn those hours into moments of opportunity—with expanded curricula, reimagined school programs, internships and apprenticeships, and greater exposure to areas that are increasingly on the educational cutting block—arts, music, drama and athletics.

We have to make this happen. We have to give our kids more time to learn.

Let me close by acknowledging other foundations that have made significant commitments on this front, including the Wallace Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation and the Mott Foundation.

My hope going forward is that we will be able to get even more partners, from businesses, from nonprofits, from individuals.

The Time Collaborative is terrific start to that. The launch of the collaborative will help us to showcase the work of the governors and commissioners around the country as well as the Obama Administration in its continued support for extended learning time.

The growing focus on extended learning time has the potential to change entire communities for the better—making them safer, more livable and self-sustaining environments for the most vulnerable children.

Now, let me introduce a friend.

No person has done more to bring this issue to the forefront than [NCTL’s] Chris Gabrieli. It is his passion, his dedication and his commitment to giving school children the best and most well-rounded education possible, which is the reason we are all here today.

So with that it’s my honor to turn things over to Chris.

Thank you.

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