Time to Learn

By sixth grade, a child from a poor family has spent an estimated 6,000 fewer hours learning than a peer from an affluent household, who tends to have more exposure to everything from books to museums to travel and summer camp. The resulting divide can seem impossible to reverse. Is it? The Hechinger Report is spending a year exploring this so-called “opportunity gap” and how schools around the country are trying to narrow it by providing more time to learn.

Henry Seton

Are there really no shortcuts for getting low-income kids to college?

“There are no shortcuts.” Inside the world of high-poverty charter schools, few mantras are as beloved as this one. Teacher-legend Rafe Esquith used it as a book title in 2004,…

A race to close the achievement gap without burning through teachers

NEWARK, N.J. –– James Cavanagh is 22 years old, fresh out of the University of Delaware. With his degree in elementary education, he could have gotten a job anywhere ––…

How to keep kids with special needs out of prison and in middle school

As a special education teacher, I pride myself on being an advocate for my students and their needs. Special education students deserve reasonable accommodations which make it possible for them…

Alex Magaña with a student at Grant Beacon Middle School (Photo: Denver Public Schools)

How an extended day, other innovations turned a Denver middle school around

It’s a midweek afternoon and all 450 of the students at our Denver middle school are staying an hour later. They’re not in detention. The buses aren’t late. Instead, students…

Ronald Bracamontes, 8, Christian Zaragosa, 9, and Jocelyn Buenrostro, 9, teamed up to experiment with paper airplane designs during a summer school program at Romero-Cruz Elementary in Santa Ana Unified. The team conducted nine tests on three designs to see which one generated the smoothest landings.

Will ‘creative’ and ‘hands on’ summer school foster a love of learning?

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Nine-year-old Sarahy Lopez’s silvery singing voice washed over the audience as her Goldilocks declared “so sorry” and “please give me a break.” But her pleas were…

The banks of the Mississippi River, as seen from Great River Road State Park in the Mississippi Delta, where there is a dearth of structured activities for children in the summer. (Photo: Nick Chiles)

Are the lazy days of summer killing our nation’s academic progress?

DREW, Miss. ––Drive down a dusty road in the Mississippi Delta in July and you will quickly come across a familiar scene: Kids, walking. Out of the house, no particular…

Why is a Reagan-era report driving today’s education reform?

Staten Island, N.Y. — On the last day of school in June, Principal Aurelia Curtis was harried. An auditorium full of teachers was waiting for her. But instead of congratulating…


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A kindergartener at Brenda Scott Elementary School works on a writing assignment. All students in the Education Achievement Authority use computers for at least part of their day. (Photo: Sarah Butrymowicz)

At troubled Detroit schools, adjusting to more class time

DETROIT ––Many of Malik Canty’s classmates left Southeastern High School of Technology and Law last summer when they discovered the school year would no longer end in June but barrel…

Surrounded by messy school reform and ‘drama’ on the streets, a Newark girl tries to land on her feet

To land on her feet in cheerleading stunts, Nydresha must work hard while relying on her teammates. (Amanda Brown / NJ Spotlight) NEWARK, N.J. –– Nydresha is…

Lessons from a school that scrapped a longer student day and made time for teachers

NEW HAVEN, Conn. –– Talizha Jones returned from summer vacation after fourth grade to an unwelcome surprise at school: Students would have to stay in class until 4:15 p.m. four…