This video is inspiring. The superintendent of San Francisco’s schools, along with school principals, teachers and students talk about the remarkable changes being experienced in the schools that have instituted the Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation program.
“When I arrived at this school thirteen years ago it had the highest absentee rate, the highest suspension rate, the highest teacher turnover rate, the lowest academic achievement rate. We had the second highest crime rate in San Francisco and about 85% of the kids were from homes of poverty. The kids didn’t play outside they didn’t go anywhere on the weekends. They were kind of prisoners of their own environment.
“I had heard about Transcendental Meditation early in my career as a special educator. When I first went downtown to tell people that this is what we wanted to do, they looked at me funny and said, ‘Oh, really?’ I said, ‘We really have nothing to lose here by trying this.’”
“The idea of kids having a little time out from everything lets them erase everything on their frontal lobe. The brain is much calmer so naturally you’re able to absorb a lot more.”
Jan Link, Supervisor – Research Office at the San Francisco Unified School District:
“That 15 minutes twice a day is enough to make the difference. When you have a class that’s quiet, there’s focused concentration, and there’s joyful learning.”
Based on the success of Quiet Time at Visitacion Valley Middle School, the program quickly spread to 3 other public schools in the San Francisco Unified School District.
“Quiet Time is part of the school transformation process at Burton High School. In my first three years as the principal at Burton High School we were like the second or third highest suspending school in San Francisco, but just a year and a half after we’ve started the Quiet Time initiative at Burton High School, we have literally halved our suspension rate.”
Carlos Garcia, Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District:
“I think most superintendents and educators that I talked with about the Quiet Time program are jealous. I show them the data and they just sit there and go, ‘Wow!’
“The problem is that we let our very own personal biases often get in the way of what really works, and I always tell people, you know, I don’t care what you think, and you shouldn’t care what I think—the important thing is the data. The data isn’t an opinion, it’s fact. When you start looking at this program from a fact point of view, it catches your attention.”
Learn more about how the Transcendental Meditation program is improving schools in cities around the United States by going to:
Guest Blogger: Arielle Feldman is from Potomac, MD and is currently a sophomore at Towson University.
- “Meditation transforms roughest San Francisco schools” — SF Chronicle
- Breaking the “predictive power of demographics”: SF principal talks about how TM helps his students
- Struggling students find TM improves academic achievement: New research
- Edutopia: SF School Uses TM to Overcome Problems
- Combating poverty and exceeding expectations: LA school students benefit from TM