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Why theory matters: An examination of contemporary learning time reforms

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Published: 2016-04-04

Authors

Daniela K. DiGiacomo

University of Colorado Boulder

Joshua J. Prudhomme

University of Colorado Boulder

Hannah R. Jones

University of Colorado Boulder

Kevin G. Welner

University of Colorado Boulder

Ben Kirshner

University of Colorado Boulder

Keywords: learning time reforms equity learning theory zone of mediation reform processes

Abstract

This article explores the contemporary policy reform push to extend and expand learning time in schools. In light of the potential and continued prominence of learning time reforms in today’s national educational landscape, this article makes visible the ways in which theory matters for the near- and long-term success of equity-focused educational reforms. Using the recent enactment of learning time reforms in Colorado as an illustration, and the zone of mediation framework as a conceptual lens, this article demonstrates how such reforms are likely to be weakened and undermined without strong theoretical grounding.

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Author Biographies

Daniela K. DiGiacomo

University of Colorado Boulder

Daniela K. DiGiacomo is a doctoral candidate in Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Colorado Boulder. With a background in urban secondary education, international development, and social work, Daniela remains interested in how to design for more equitable teaching and learning relationships in the context of today’s market-driven sociopolitical climate. Please send questions/comments about this article to daniela.digiacomo@colorado.edu.

Joshua J. Prudhomme

University of Colorado Boulder

Joshua J. Prudhomme is a doctoral candidate in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research explores policy processes and practices that engender (in)/equity in educational opportunities and schooling experiences for historically marginalized and hyper-marginalized communities and youth. Particularly, communities and youth of color and economic disenfranchisement and students involved in foster care. 

Hannah R. Jones

University of Colorado Boulder

Hannah R. Jones earned her doctorate degree in Learning Sciences and Human Development in 2015. Hannah’s work focuses on designing equitable learning environments, with a focus on educational equity and college access for marginalized students. 

Kevin G. Welner

University of Colorado Boulder

Kevin G. Welner is a professor of education policy at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and is director of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at CU Boulder. His books include 2016’s law school casebook, Education and the Law (co-authored with Stuart Biegel and Robert Kim) and 2013’s Closing the Opportunity Gap (co-edited with Prudence Carter). Welner has been recognized by the American Educational Research Association as a Fellow and been given the AERA’s Early Career Award (in 2006) and Palmer O. Johnson Award (best article in 2004). He received his B.A. in Biological Sciences from UCSB and his J.D. and Ph.D. from UCLA.

Ben Kirshner

University of Colorado Boulder

Ben Kirshner is an associate professor of education at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and is Faculty Director of CU Engage: Center for Community-Based Learning and Research. His 2015 book, Youth Activism in an Era of Education Inequality, was recognized as the best authored social policy book by the Society for Research on Adolescence. 

PDF

Published: 2016-04-04

How to Cite

DiGiacomo, D. K., Prudhomme, J. J., Jones, H. R., Welner, K. G., & Kirshner, B. (2016). Why theory matters: An examination of contemporary learning time reforms. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 44. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2334