STATEMENT: CAP’s Brown on How States Should Use Flexibility from No Child Left Behind to Expand Learning Time

Washington, D.C. – Today, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the Center for American Progress about how relief from No Child Left Behind can spur the use of expanded learning time as a school improvement strategy. Last week President Obama announced that states may be released from certain requirements of No Child Left Behind in exchange for taking on certain reforms, one of which includes increasing learning time.

Cynthia G. Brown, Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement regarding the flexibility to expand learning time:

Expanded learning time, done well, is a proven strategy to increase student achievement in our lowest-performing schools. States should use their waiver flexibility as an opportunity to expand learning time so that their schools are redesigned for the 21st century.

States should be thoughtful as they work to expand learning time in their schools. Simply adding time to the end of the day, or end of the year, is a recipe for more of the same. The additional time should be used as a catalyst for redesigning the schedule and turning around low-performing schools.

Secretary Duncan’s continued support of expanded learning time is crucial to ensure more schools have the chance to implement expanded learning time. We commend the secretary for his unrelenting drive to improve our lowest-performing schools using demonstrated strategies such as expanded learning time.

At the event, the Center for American Progress also released a new column by Isabel Owen on this unreported opportunity to use funds from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center program to expand learning time.

To speak with CAP experts on the issue, please contact Katie Peters at or 202.741.6285.