Report: Teachers at Low Income Schools Lose Teaching Time More Than Peers

A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that teachers at high poverty schools are more likely than their peers to report lost instruction time owing to poor access to technology, libraries and qualified substitute teachers.

The study, conducted by UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA), also found that "economic and social stressors on students — such as unstable housing, hunger and lack of access to medical or dental care — also undermine learning time," according to a news release.

Dubbed "It's About Time: Learning Time and Educational Opportunity in California High Schools," the report is based on responses of about 800 California teachers. Conducted during the 2013-14 school year, the survey queried teachers at schools where 25 percent or fewer students receive free or reduced lunch, schools with 50 percent or fewer students receiving lunch assistance and schools where at least 75 percent of students receive a free or reduced lunch.

John Rogers, a co-author on the report and professor of education at UCLA, said there's very little information about learning time publicly available.

"It is thus very difficult to know whether some students have access to more learning time than others," Rogers said in a prepared statement. "But, as the Supreme Court said 60 years ago in Brown vs. Board of Education, education must be provided to all 'on equal terms.' Importantly, the court noted that this constitutional standard requires us to take account of resources that are not easily counted."

"No one could or would defend a system of public education that required students attending high-poverty schools to finish their school year two weeks before their peers in low-poverty schools," Rogers added. "Nor would anyone defend sending students from high-poverty schools home a half hour early each day. Yet, in effect, California now supports an educational system that produces these effects, though it does so in a manner that obscures the underlying inequity."

The full report is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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