Citizen Schools Calls on Presidential Candidates to Reduce Opportunity Gap

National Non-Profit Organizes 11 National Groups Asking Candidates to Commit to Improving Middle School Education FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Boston, MA—February 29, 2016— National non-profit Citizen Schools, as part of its participation in the Expanded Learning Middle School Initiative, is calling on all candidates for President of the United States to adopt a policy platform which helps reduce the opportunity gap that exists in low-income, urban schools where students receive 6,000 fewer instructional hours than their more affluent counterparts.

“Upper-income families have tripled their investment in their children’s education in a generation—amounting to a gap of 6,000 hours of extra learning by 6th grade. Lower-income children count on public schools, even though most students only spend 20 percent of their waking hours in the classroom. We want to expand learning opportunities for low-income students, with a special focus on the critical, but often neglected, middle school years,” said Emily McCann, CEO of Citizen Schools.

A letter (click here to download) on behalf of the organizations which comprise the Expanded Learning Middle School Initiative has been sent to each presidential candidate focusing on four major policy strategies:

  1. Leverage human capital: Hiring teachers costs money that many districts simply don’t have. This is why school systems need to examine designs which utilize community partnerships with non-profits like Citizen Schools, businesses, and national service programs like AmeriCorps and VISTA, which offer expanded learning opportunities at minimal cost to the district.
  2. Focus on middle school: These are critical years for a child and a time when they need to be more fully engaged and shown a path to success in high school and beyond.
  3. Encourage public-private partnerships to grow high-quality expanded learning and mentorship opportunities, with a particular focus in the STEM fields.
  4. Support investing in what works: Commit to continuous improvement programs to ensure that the money which is invested in education can provide for the greatest outcomes for all children.

The letter is endorsed by eleven regional and national non-profit organizations that serve hundreds of thousands of middle school students across the nation. These organizations have come together to ensure these important education issues are part of the public policy debate.

Media Contact: Matt Ellis, Ellis Strategies, Inc. | 617-777-3776

About Citizen Schools Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams. For more information, please visit