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Ron Fairchild
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Ron Fairchild is the founder of the Smarter Learning Group. Prior to starting the firm, Ron served as CEO of the National Summer Learning Association. The Association's work built on over 15 years of experience and success as the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, where Fairchild was executive director from 2002 through 2009. Under his leadership, the organization grew from a local program to a national intermediary organization that works with a 50-state network of more than 5,000 summer learning program providers that collectively serve more than 2 million young people annually.

He is widely recognized as a national authority on how to expand learning opportunities for young people. Fairchild has authored numerous publications and speaks regularly on topics related to public policy, research, and models of effective summer learning programs. His frequent appearances in the media include segments on NPR, CNN, C-SPAN, NBC Nightly News, and the CBS Early Show.

His background in education and youth development includes serving as director of education programs with the national office of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and as an education associate with the Public Education Network in Washington, DC. He is a former classroom teacher with experience teaching both middle and high school students. Fairchild earned a bachelor's degree in political science and history, as well as a master of education degree from Vanderbilt University.

Blog Entries by Ron Fairchild

Blame the Hamptons, Not the Harvest...

Posted July 1, 2011 | 15:24:18 (EST)

I'm getting tired of folks blaming farmers for the current 180-day school calendar. The typical explanation for the school calendar we have is that it was created during an era when most of the U.S. population lived on farms and children were given a long summer "vacation" ostensibly so that...

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Got Math?

Posted June 15, 2011 | 08:03:58 (EST)

I'm genuinely curious why reading seems to get nearly all of the attention among those concerned about summer learning loss. Yes, the losses in reading achievement are staggering, particularly among low-income students, but equally alarming are the statistics about how much all kids - regardless of income -- stand to...

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A Smarter Response to Eliminating Foreign Language Programs

Posted June 6, 2011 | 13:50:17 (EST)

Last week Education Week ran a story about huge cuts to foreign language programs across the country. When I was in California recently, I learned about a creative solution to this problem involving two parents, Dave and Ruth Finsthwait, who created an affordable and sustainable Spanish language immersion...

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Our Summer Learning Plan

Posted June 1, 2011 | 14:26:23 (EST)

After more than a decade of advocating for summer learning, I'm more conscious than ever about "practicing what I preach" and making sure that our kids have a fun and productive summer. I wanted to share a few specific ideas about what our two boys, who are 10 and 11-years-old,...

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When Did Providing Books to Poor Children Become a Waste of Federal Resources?

Posted May 26, 2011 | 14:48:42 (EST)

Yesterday, The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved The Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R. 1891), which was originally introduced by Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-52), permanently eliminates 43 K-12 education programs including Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). Chairman Hunter describes all of these programs as "wasteful"...

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A Smarter Budget Ax

Posted February 3, 2011 | 16:03:00 (EST)

We're hearing a lot these days about tackling the federal budget deficit by instituting across-the-board cuts, rolling back federal spending to FY08 levels, consolidating programs, and banning all Congressional earmarks. Nearly everyone acknowledges that the current economic reality calls for extraordinary fiscal discipline. Duplicative or ineffective programs should be eliminated...

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Expanded Learning? Extended Learning? Let's Just Make Sure There's More Quality Learning

Posted November 22, 2010 | 18:09:51 (EST)

Last summer, my then 10-year-old son completed a two-week, intensive summer program at a public school, taught by teachers and members of the community together. The program focused on Holocaust remembrance, and the students met a survivor and visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. My younger...

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Study Shows Systems Help More Kids in Out-of-School Hours

Posted October 25, 2010 | 18:29:45 (EST)

When government officials, school districts, and community-based youth organizations work together to coordinate their efforts at helping young people learn in the out-of-school hours, great things can happen.

That's the encouraging lesson from an important new RAND Corporation study of a multi-year effort by The Wallace...

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Summer Learning Essential to Education Reform

Posted October 7, 2010 | 02:37:38 (EST)

The state of American education has received an extraordinary amount of attention in the last few weeks, and summer -- as both a problem and an opportunity -- has had a prominent place in the conversation.

Education Nation, the education summit convened by NBC in which I was honored...

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Federal ARRA Funds Keep Kids Learning and Adults Working During Summer

Posted May 26, 2009 | 14:27:42 (EST)

For many disadvantaged children, summer is a time when school is forgotten and academic progress comes undone.

That could change this summer. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed by Congress includes funds that school systems can use to create summer learning opportunities for low-income kids across the...

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