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AM News: The Return Of Recess?

image from webmedia.newseum.orgNew effort to get recess back at Chicago public grammar schools Sun Times:  After a 38-year hiatus, recess advocates are hoping a perfect storm
is finally brewing to bring recess back to most Chicago public grammar
schools... Chicago Program Aims to Close Achievement Gap for Youngest Students PBS:  Even when you add in the children attending Head Start and other pre-K
programs, that's only 37,000 out of the city's 90,000 neediest children
who benefit... Rahm Emanuel: Lengthen School Day in CPS Fox:  Mayor-Elect
Rahm Emanuel is sending a warning to Chicago teachers, saying they
should expect to work longer hours when he takes over at City Hall... Emanuel wants Chicago to lead digital education Medill:  Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel announces intent to make Chicago the
nation's leader in digital education, saying 'We have to adapt to how
kids learn."...MORE NEWS BELOW

More Pupils Are Learning Online, Fueling Debate on Quality
NYT: Though proponents of online education say the course offerings
are rich, skeptics say corners are being cut in an effort to save
money... Better education through improved eyesight NPR:  How researchers raised test scores in rural China with the help of new specs for every kid in need... Teachers lean on online donors, even for classroom basics Tribune: When
Teresa Jazo, a music teacher at Bateman Elementary School in Chicago,
ran out of her school-allotted supply of paper in October, she bought
more with her own money.

Then, she went online to DonorsChoose.org, an Internet-based educational
charity...

Filed under: Daily News Roundup

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  • I think the poster meant that the longer day would mean that school lets out as rush hour is beginning. It's an interesting point, but even if all the school buses CPS has got out on the roads at the same time in rush hour, it's a drop in the bucket compared to traffic flow during any given rush hour.

  • As has always been the case, students get back from their education what they put into it. If they're happy to plagiarize, then they're the real losers.

  • Would it actually kill any of us to teach an extra 45 minutes per day without adding to our pay? I mean, come on, most of us say that we are at the schools 2-3 hours extra anyway. What is the big deal? CTU should take this concession. I will be very disappointed if they don't. Why can't we give something? Forty-five minutes per day is nothing since we say we work it anyway. Yes, I am a CTU teacher. What Karen Lewis refuses to do does not reflect me at all. It is time to come out from behind the curtain and demonstrate that we are truly in it for the children.

  • In relation to comment by "What's going on here?" Mr. Mazany has openly and publicly stated that it is his opinion that either the CTU makes concessions on the salary increase for the coming school year or possibly the CPS under the next CEO will open up the contract by declaring the Board does not have the fiscal ability to pay for the salary increase.

    There is no secret here, it is all public knowledge.

    Now, in relation to teachers simply agreeing to work longer hours with no increase in salary. If the majority of CTU members beleived that I have no doubt it would happen, but that does not mean that there are zero costs with a longer school day. Every hour extra a building is fully operating costs money. For example currently CPS is spending on just electricity and natural gas in FY 11 about $83.6 million. By the way that is more than the 4% salary increase costs CPS per year.

    If the disrtict increases the school day it must do so for all children including those who have signigicant disabilities who require aides and other services. Even without special education teachers recieving additional pay for let us say one additional hour a day, this one one will still cost CPS several million dollars just for this subgroup of children.

    My arguement is not about the benefit of a longer school day for all students, it is about the fiscal reality we are all in. Possibly I spend far too much time in Springfield talking budgets with members of the General Assembly who are really very unnerved looking at the fiscal future of Illinois, these are both Democrats and Republicans. Right now is not the time to be debating how to increase costs, including opening new charter schools or a longer school day, it is the time for a very sober realization that we must preserve the core of public education.

    Rod Estvan

  • I don't think people like hard choices, I know I don't. What Mayor elect Emanuel is discussing, is an absolute increase in the school day, not a restructuring of existing time. Even if every teacher agrees to do this without additional pay, it still will cost some money. We should not be creating any new expenditures for the school district right now.

    I liked the poster who argued that "trying to preserve the core when the core is moldy and spoiled makes no sense." Well it makes no sense to add costs to a district when it is potentially looking at a $720 million deficit or at least that is what the Board's Finance and Audit Committee report of Feb 1, 2011 projected. It makes no sense to add any additional costs to this school district when Fitch downgrades $4.9 billion in outstanding CPS GO bonds to A+ from AA-. As Fitch has stated CPS has "weakened financial flexibility and expected continued challenges in the next several years in attaining stable financial operations given the diminution of non-recurring sources of budget relief."

    In other words folks, CPS has neither the State Government nor the Federal government to bail it out. There is the possibility that government bank accounts will fill up with more people going back to work, but I do not see anyone predicting that happening anytime too soon. Schools have been somewhat protected from the full fury of the fiscal crisis for three years now by federal stimulus payments, while Human Services have been slaughtered with budget cutting. Those federal dollars will be gone next school year.

    Governor Quinn is proposing cutting funding in FY12 for Human Services by $593.9 million and the House of Representatives could possibly be asking for an additional $900 million cuts to Human Services along with $200 million in State funding for K-12 education based on lower revenue estimates. By the way CPS as of two weeks ago was owed over $236 million from the State.

    So preserving the core of public education in Chicago is the most important thing Mayor elect Emanuel should be doing. Teachers are going to have to make far bigger decisions than to work an extra hour for free. These choices are not going to be easy, in particular because teachers as a group are under attack from every direction right now. Moreover, next year's salary increase for CPS teachers could be the last significant salary increase for a few years given were we are going.

    Is it possible for there to be things that are good like recess time, a longer school day, honoring contractual agreements with teachers, funding pensions, and numerous choice option schools? Yes there is, it is called increasing taxes and that is not going to happen because the majority of the population, including the most wealthy among us are simply not willing to support significant increases in taxes at multiple levels. Look how difficult it was to even get a temporary increase in the State income tax. We can phase out TIFs, but even that does not simply solve the problem. Terrible choices were made by CPS during the Great Depression, including paying teachers in script and packing kids into rooms. We need to avoid those horrors at all costs.

    Rod Estvan

  • That is my thought process. However, I know of many who are not thinking this way. I guess I just want the public to know that not ALL teachers agree with the CTU. I happen to think that we need to give a little in order to gain back the respect we once had. :(

  • "It is said over and over that people in the private sector don't have these great pensions, most likely can never retire with even saving some in a 401K, haven't had pay increases in many years, work longer hours and have added responsibilities..."

    Yes it is said over and over but only to imitate the perpetrators of it - the very wealthy and their media bulldogs. My pension is funded by my employer and I. It is not managed or squandered by "finance", a choice many in the private sector made themselves. It is not extravagant. And for each of the years I contribute to it it costs less to taxpayers than Social Security - what you would get. I have no issue with adding recess but a pension is not great just because it exists.

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