Student learning is a pervading concern for national governments, states, and local school boards. Additional time is commonly seen as a potent administrative lever to affect student learning. One administrative premise equates allocated time with productive time, assuming that students take advantage of the time resources available to them. This study uses an innovative measurement strategy to show that students are disengaged a large portion of the time in academic classes, and that the current array of instructional methods and strategies produces low rates of productive time, especially for minority students. The study concludes that instructional reforms rather than the simple addition of time may be more productive in raising standards and in bringing about greater social equality in education.