Education Policy Analysis Archives (Apr 2016)

Why theory matters: An examination of contemporary learning time reforms

  • Daniela K. DiGiacomo,
  • Joshua J. Prudhomme,
  • Hannah R. Jones,
  • Kevin G. Welner,
  • Ben Kirshner

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 24, no. 0


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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.