Longer Day, Mandatory Recess

AM News:  The call for a longer day and the expansion of recess seem to be the top stories of the day, along with questions surrounding the idea of a tax increase to help CPS fill its budget hole.  Check it all out below.

Leaders Call for Longer School Day Fox: They hope to convince Jean-Claude Brizard, CEO of Chicago Public Schools and other leaders that the school day must be lengthened to keep children off the streets and give them an edge in a competative global economy.

CPS promises longer school day this year Tribune: "It's very much on the table," said Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Becky Carroll. Representatives of the Chicago Teachers Union and the district are in negotiations over rescinded annual pay raises for teachers.

Recess mandatory by fall 2012 WBEZ:  Currently, individual schools can choose whether to set aside time for recess. CEO Jean-Claude Brizard says playtime is important for students.

Aldermen not warming up to proposed school property tax hike Sun Times:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration tried Monday to persuade aldermen to swallow a $150 million property tax increase for the Chicago Public Schools, but it was a tough sell.

Planned tax increase for CPS a tough sell Southtown Star: Jean-Claude Brizard rings ceremonial bell to start the new school year at William Rainey Harper High School, 6520 S. Wood Street, Monday, August 8, 2011. | John H. White~Sun-Times. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration ..

CPS' Jean-Claude Brizard defends tax hike Tribune: Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard on Monday defended the district's proposal to increase property taxes.

Brizard talks taxes days after CPS budget revealed ABC7: Days after releasing the 2012 budget, Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard spoke for the first time about the plan that calls for a property tax increase.

Homelessness Non-Profit's "Lofty" Goal: School Supplies For 200 Students Progress IL: It seems that CPS is always in the news for one thing or another, but not enough is said about the disadvantaged students.

Austin Polytech creating healthy futures Austin Talks: Austin Polytech is a work in progress representing a distinctive public/private partnership that is beginning to effectively link a growing advanced manufacturing sector in Chicago to a West Side community and to Chicago Public Schools.

Three teens charged in fatal Rogers Park shooting Sun Times:  Three teenage boys were charged Monday afternoon with the gang-related murder of a 23-year-old man in the North Side Rogers Park neighborhood.

 

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  • Lengthening the school day with mandatory recess is not going to enhance instruction. As those who were quoted in the articles, it will keep the kids off the streets.
    The mandatory recess plan actually changes closed campus schools where kids are not allowed to leave the school property, to an open campus where kids are allowed to leave. Now back in the ‘early’ days, open campus worked because there was an adult home to monitor the kids. Now with both parents needing to work, who will be watching the kids? Will that keep the kids off the streets?

  • Next year will be very interesting. If the teachers/PSRP's lunch is
    moved to the middle of the day then they can leave to go to a restaurant etc. This might be good for the neighborhood restaurants.
    Chi-Tung, here I come!

  • Actually, they have changed open schedule with the times. Kids are supervised by an adult at ALL times. No child can leave "campus" in elementary school. It works by moving the teacher lunch back to the middle of the day instead of the current practice "loophole" where teachers take their lunch the last period of the day after students are dismissed. This lengthens the school day to 6 1/2 hours for students at virtually no cost because teachers are already compensated for a 7 hour teacher day. However, someone does have to supervise the students during lunch and teachers still need to get a duty free lunch each day. So it is a logisitcal schedule challenge. Some schools have used the extra "20 minutes unstructured time" and redirected it to increase instrucational time by 20 minutes per day or 2 weeks per school year. Coonley recently announced that they will begin on the new schedule starting this school year and is adding the 20 minutes of instruction to boot. So, depending on how the principal leads their school through the process, you can have a win-win-win-----longer school day by 45 minutes at no cost, children get recess and a longer lunch, AND increase instructional time by 20 minutes per day. It is hard to understand why all CPS schools did not take advantage of this opporutnity!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    High school teachers and those elementary school teachers with a mid-day lunch schedule (so-called "open campus") are compensated for 6.25 hours, not 7.

    It is nice to see everyone agree on the importance of recess. However, before making recess mandatory CPS must do a few things:

    1) Pay for personnel to supervise children during recess.
    2) Ensure schools have appropriate and safe physical facilities for recess.
    3) Work with police, community groups, and parents to ensure outdoor recess facilities in dangerous neighborhoods are safe.

  • I am not sure about High School, but elementary school teachers are compensated the same for closed or open campus. It is just a mater of when the duty free lunch takes place, during the day or last period. Now, if teachers leave during their duty free lunch the last period of the day, the teacher day is shorter, but the compensation is exactly the same. Check out the CTU contract to validate. Great points about safety and working with the entire community to ensure it will work.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    you are right on!

  • There are assumptions in the post on the restructured school day that are based on the existing contract. Please recall that SB7 allows CPS to void all of these provisions relating to the work day for teachers. CEO Brizard when discussing the longer school day for the 2012-2013 school year does not appear to me to be operating under the existing contract's rules.

    Legally CTU cannot bargain now over the length of the school day and working conditions, including duty free time unless CPS agrees to. The CPS can direct teachers next year to work an 8 hour day and provide lunch and break time consistent with labor law and OSHA rules. Teachers can bargain to be paid for that time and go on strike eventually if a 3/4 of the union agrees if CPS will not pay a reasonable rate for that time.

    The entire complex document that CPS wrote on recess time (http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/05_23_2011_PR1.aspx#DASRP) is effectively null and void because the underlying assumption of the CTU contract provisions will be voided once CPS decides to. CPS teachers still do not grasp what SB7 means in relation to issues like this. If CEO Brizard wants a longer day next year and recess too he and the Board can make it so.

    This stuff about win-win-win, is sort of silly. CPS will increase the school day and can offer teachers a minimal salary increase for the time, teachers can reject the money offer and see where they go from there. SB7 does not create a win-win situation for teachers, in the opinion of some it will create more educational time for students. But more time on task does not always yield dramatic improvement for students and Houston ISD is the best example of that.

    Poor Houston students are still laging behind even with the longer day and various test cheating that has take place. Teachers in Houston work a longer day than Chicago and get paid thousands less too. There is no win-win in this deal for teachers.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    "Poor Houston students are still laging behind even with the longer day and various test cheating that has take place. Teachers in Houston work a longer day than Chicago and get paid thousands less too. There is no win-win in this deal for teachers." - I wonder why Brizard was saying he was so impressed by Houston's "longer day" when he took calls on WBEZ's Schools on the Line show yesterday. It he just adding to the "lie" or...what?

  • Rod Estvan writes: Please recall that SB7 allows CPS to void all of these provisions relating to the work day for teachers.

    Not in this contract, it doesn't. The US Constitution forbids states to impair the obligation of contracts, and the CTU has an existing contract with CPS that doesn't expire until the end of June 2012.

    The *next* contract will have to be made according to what is now law, but that doesn't change anything for this school year.

    State law requires teachers have a "duty-free" lunch period, and SB7 didn't alter that.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Danaidh writes: The US Constitution forbids states to impair the obligation of contracts,

    Too late... CPS has already decided not to follow the obligations of the contract. All they have to do is site SB7 and do what ever they want without giving a reason. Thank you Illinois legislatures.

  • According to the CPS recess plan, teachers are to ‘volunteer’ to give up their ‘duty free’ lunch. As I recall, each teacher gives up one day a week to monitor the students during their lunch/recess.

    No matter what schedule is used, there will be loss of instructional time just getting the kids to settle down and back in gear. And when do the students as well as teachers get their bathroom break?

    Universal breakfast was to be only 10 minutes but in the real world it took away 20 to 25 minutes. The teacher had to be clean up person due to spills, help open the milk and cereal containers, garbage collector, decide what can be ‘recycled’, record who took breakfast and who didn’t, and at the same time take official attendance, and collect lunch monies.

  • The elementary school schedule calls for three preps a week, four if there is a music teacher. There are two ten minute washroom breaks...some schools have combined these into a 20 minute break. Exactly, what is the schedule for high school teachers? How man y peps a week, how many duty period, how many teaching minutes?
    This will be a stickler....

    Also, there is a rumor, hopefully it is just that, that the SPED inclusion teachers will take over security in the lunchrooms...we do not meet our minutes now so I am sure this is illegal but being CPS I guess I can be issued a security windbreaker..

  • Rod, I always find your comments insightful and grounded, but I have to respectfully disagree. The current contract is still in place, there is no concrete movement on the SB7 change. Under the current contract is is a win-win-win for the schools that have chosen to adopt an open schedule this fall. Longer day by 45 minutes at no incramental cost, recess and a longer lunch period for the children AND some schools are adding 20 minutes instructional time each day. PLUS, the teachers STILL GET THEIR DUTY FREE LUNCH every day---when they supervise lunch one day a week, they get a duty free period at another time during the day, sometimes even the last period. It depends on how the principal works the schedule. While SB7 may change or rock everyone's world, why make the children wait? Every year is important to a student and you may be thinking of the longer term implications, which are valid, but in the meantime, why not take advantage of a win-win and let the kids be kids?

  • SB7 is clear the sections of the existing CTU contract relating to the school day and working conditions are "rendered null and void because it involved a prohibited subject of collective bargaining." The CPS only has to pull the trigger to make it so. Contracts with public employes and the state and local level are unique and so recongized under Federal law, so the contracts are subject to state law. Wisconsin has done this and many aspects of existing teachers contracts have been voided there by new state laws. The most relevant law is the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act.

    The CPS has elected not to implement the longer school day this year, it could if it wanted to based on the language of SB7. CPS was wise not to attempt to implement a longer school day fast because it would have been too confusing.

    State law allows for unpaid lunch time. The federal law states that shorter breaks (usually 20 minutes or less in length) must be paid. Longer meal times, however (typically 30 minutes or more) may be unpaid if the worker is completely relieved of his or her duties.

    In the state of Illinois, employers are required to give employees a meal period of at least 20 minutes if they have worked seven and a half hours or more. This meal break must happen no more than five hours after the start of the employee’s work day. This state law does not apply to workers who are under a collective bargaining agreement that covers meal periods, and it also doesn’t apply to workers who monitor individuals with developmental disabilities or mental illness. CPS because of SB7 CPS does not have to bargain over meal periods if it choses to, it can simply follow existing state law.

    By the way I am in no way indicating CPS will implement harsh working conditions on teachers. But teachers need to understand what SB7 means and it is a very powerful law that greatly reduces many of the existing rules related to work in schools if CPS wants to go that route.

    The relevant section of SB7 reads as follows:

    (a) Notwithstanding the existence of any other provision in
    this Act or other law, collective bargaining between an
    educational employer whose territorial boundaries are
    coterminous with those of a city having a population in excess
    of 500,000 and an exclusive representative of its employees may
    include any of the following subjects:

    (2) Decisions to contract with a third party for one or
    more services otherwise performed by employees in a
    bargaining unit and the procedures for obtaining such
    contract or the identity of the third party.
    (3) Decisions to layoff or reduce in force employees.
    (4) Decisions to determine class size, class staffing
    and assignment, class schedules, academic calendar, length
    of the work and school day, length of the work and school
    year, hours and places of instruction, or pupil assessment
    policies.
    (5) Decisions concerning use and staffing of
    experimental or pilot programs and decisions concerning
    use of technology to deliver educational programs and
    services and staffing to provide the technology.
    (b) The subject or matters described in subsection (a) are
    permissive subjects of bargaining between an educational
    employer and an exclusive representative of its employees and,
    for the purpose of this Act, are within the sole discretion of
    the educational employer to decide to bargain, provided that
    the educational employer is required to bargain over the impact
    of a decision concerning such subject or matter on the
    bargaining unit upon request by the exclusive representative.
    During this bargaining, the educational employer shall not be
    precluded from implementing its decision. If, after a
    reasonable period of bargaining, a dispute or impasse exists
    between the educational employer and the exclusive
    representative, the dispute or impasse shall be resolved
    exclusively as set forth in subsection (b) of Section 12 of
    this Act in lieu of a strike under Section 13 of this Act.
    (c) A provision in a collective bargaining agreement that
    was rendered null and void because it involved a prohibited
    subject of collective bargaining under this subsection (c) as
    this subsection (c) existed before the effective date of this
    amendatory Act of the 93rd General Assembly remains null and
    void and shall not otherwise be reinstated in any successor
    agreement unless the educational employer and exclusive
    representative otherwise agree to include an agreement reached
    on a subject or matter described in subsection (a) of this
    Section as subsection (a) existed before this amendatory Act of
    the 93rd General Assembly.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    The School Code of Illinois contains the language providing for teachers' (and in another section, PSRPs') duty-free lunch:

    "(105 ILCS 5/24‑9) (from Ch. 122, par. 24‑9)
    Sec. 24‑9. Teachers duty free lunch period.
    Every teacher in any school house where 2 or more teachers are employed whose duties require attendance at the school for 4 or more clock hours in any school day shall be entitled to and be allowed a duty free lunch period equal to the regular local school lunch period but not less than 30 minutes in each school day.
    (Source: Laws 1961, p. 31.)"

    Yes, lunch is unpaid time, but despite the fiction that I work a 7 hour (421 minutes per contract) work day with a 0.75 hour lunch (45 minutes), it remains that the Board considers me a *salaried* employee.

    On the matter of the IELRA, I think you are either misreading the law or don't understand its history. In 1995 Section 4.5 contained a number of subjects that were "prohibited" subjects (applying only to Chicago). In 2003 (referenced above as the 93rd GA) amended the law to make them "permissive" subjects. I think the new law just makes it clear that just because the Board chose to bargain over a permissive subject in the past, it does not have to do so in the future.

    Finally, it really is not the job of any legislature to "render null and void" any contract; that job is left to the courts to decide.

  • Looks like CPS is getting recommendations on tweaks to it's non-neighborhood, non-charter school options. Being talked about over at cpsobsessed.com:
    http://cpsobsessed.com/2011/08/07/blue-ribbon-committee-presentation-from-the-forums/

  • For recess next year, I am concerned about what will happen during the winter. You can't and shouldn't put 500-1500 kids in an auditorium with 3-4 adults supervising. If teachers are to get a duty free lunch, how can that even be possible? Someone said their school will likely put all the kids in the hallway with an aide or two supervising. Huh?
    I love the idea of recess during good weather, but realistically, it simply won't happen during most of the school year. Either that or teachers will have a longer day with no lunch break and will be required to supervise "recess" in their own rooms. Neither is a good situation.

  • Weather is an issue, but somehow Lincon, Bell, Ariel, Norwood Park, LaSalle, Ray, Ogden, Edison, Peterson and now Coonley, Onahan, Pulaski, Hamilton and Skinner North have all figured out bad weather recess. Didn't most of us grow up with recess? It is not impossible. Yes, it takes planning and creative solutions, but it can be done. By sharing information and ideas, can't adults come up with solutions for the kids? Unless there are significant safety and facility issues, schools should jump on this chance.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Agreed. Schools should jump at this chance.

    But please don't underestimate the ubiquity of significant safety and facilities issues. They are not the exception.

  • I have taught for CPS for a long time and the bureaucrats love to jump on fads/magic bullets to solve what is wrong in CPS. Let's see, I have sat through colossal failures such as Mastery Learning, Continuous Progress, Whole Language, Phonics Only/Distar and Let's Remove the Desks and Put in Couches Approach to Reading. Nothing can duplicate primary teachers who know how to teach reading. No child should enter third grade not knowing how to read and reading is defined as comprehending written matter NOT word calling. We are getting teachers who have no clue as to how to teach reading yet everyone in their classrooms gets "B"s in reading. Mr Brizard needs to take a close look at the third grade ISAT scores.

    How about looking at what is working such as the AMPS schools? How do they have "good" test scores, safe schools and happy parents with the same amount of minutes as poor performing schools? Please don't tell me socio-economics because some of the AMPS schools have high poverty rates. CPS needs to study and duplicate what is working instead of flitting from fad to fad.

  • It is also important to remember in significant portions of the city, children don't have gloves, hats, coats and the like. Despite all the mitten/hat drives that teachers run, somehow, they don't have them. Essentially, there are whole swatches of the south and west sides, fully of families making less than 20K for a family of 4 who won't be able to have recess in weather below about 45 degrees. That's December through part of April.
    I do think there are creative ways to address this and I hope our system does. I just know that on any given day, I have at least 5-10 kids who do not have appropriate outdoor clothing. This is not as much as an issue for schools with higher socioeconomic student populations.

  • Dear Rod, the CTU Agreement (contract) is null and void now?

  • fb_avatar

    I don't think recess is the best idea. It's just put another load on teachers' shoulder. If a child gets hurt while having recess outside and/or inside school with adult supervision, the teacher needs to file accident report. Also, the teacher needs to inform the parent who his/her child was injured. The teacher loses a lot of instruction time just by filing a report and trying to get a hold of the injured student's parents immediately. In addition, there could be a lawsuit filed by injured students' parents. I hope CPS has plenty money to pay for the lawsuits.

  • I do agree with the comment that what is left of and enforceable in the current CTU contract will ultimately be decided by the Courts. But please note that SB7 clearly states "Notwithstanding the existence of any other provision in
    this Act or other law, collective bargaining between an
    educational employer whose territorial boundaries are
    coterminous with those of a city having a population in excess
    of 500,000" are determined by the restrictions that follow in the bill.

    Simply put SB7 states in relation to only CPS teachers and CTU members that any other provision of State law or regulations that limit the ability of the Board of Education to extend the school day or control the working day of teachers do not apply. It also says that these changes can be immediately put in place stating "the educational employer shall not be precluded from implementing its decision" by any bargaining going on in relation to payment for changes made by the CPS Board. Moreover, the CPS does not have to make these changes uniformly, it can change the working conditions at certain schools and not others if it so choses to do so.

    There are many ways to look at any piece of legislation, but courts will look at the intent of the General Assembly in passing a law. The intent of the GA was to significantly reduce the power of the CTU in relation to these issues and leave other areas of the state out of it. Right or wrong that was the intent.

    Teachers seem to be in disbelieve over what has happened in relation to the established working conditions they have worked under for many years. The current provisions of the CTU contract relating to most working conditions in schools are null and void at any point the CPS wishes to issue a notice making the change in conditions.

    There are labor market limits on what CPS can do. By this I mean if the conditions are too limiting compared to other districts it may become more difficult to hire teachers. But given the labor market conditions right now it is not clear how much of a constraint that will be on the ability to increase work intensity for CPS teachers.

    Given the vote yesterday in Wisconsin where the public sector workers unions failed to overturn the Republican majority in the state senate, teachers need to realize the majority of the voting public may not support their right to existing working conditions, pensions, and pay scale. I personally find this situation very disturbing, but reality is what it is. Readers of this blog need to understand I am not cheering on CPS in changing teachers working conditions, but I do think I am telling you all the bad news that could be coming.

    By the way in relation to the point about lawsuit in relation to recess and the CPS having the money to pay for judgement against it. The CPS has something called the Tort fund and it has unlimited direct taxing ability to pay any judgements, so yes it can pay for anything that comes at it. But the ability of parents to litigate over these issues are not easy and getting a money judgement against a school district is not easy. I worked with a family that had a disabled student molested by another student in the bathroom and argued the teacher did not provide appropriate supervision. I thought it was a strong case, it was not according to personal injury lawyers that represented the family against CPS and the out of court settlement was relatively small.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I normally agree with about 95% of what you say, but I'm going to have to disagree with the following: "Given the vote yesterday in Wisconsin where the public sector workers unions failed to overturn the Republican majority in the state senate, teachers need to realize the majority of the voting public may not support their right to existing working conditions, pensions, and pay scale."

    I look at yesterday's results as a victory for labor. If you look back at the vote, if this vote were to be held today with these two newly democratic senators (in traditionally Republican areas), the vote would fail, as one lone Republican upheld the rights of the workers.

    The history of recall elections is not very deep nor detailed, and a 2 for 6 record getting rid of incumbents is absolutely a victory...and actually goes to show that the majority of people do NOT support Walker's anti-teacher/anti-labor positions.

  • Our school voted for "open campus" this year. It is in a rough neighborhood but has outside play area and is relatively small so this is how my principal worked it:

    Hired 6 parents for 2.5 hrs/day to monitor classrooms. 6 classrooms at a time have lunch/recess. Half go out to recess (each w a parent) while the other 3 classes go to the cafeteria (each with a parent) for lunch. Then it flips.

    This repeats for 3 45-minute periods a day. If the weather is bad, the parent will monitor recess in the classroom.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Is your school concerned with the parents supervising and the possible issues that may arise from that? Also who is the staff representative that supervises? Doesn't there have to be a teacher or administrator on duty at all times?

    My concern is when we have bad weather there is no place to go. The We don't have one hallway large enough for the students that is away from areas where instruction is taking place. Kids could go to the gym and then we would lose a chunk of our PE program. Or they could go back to the classrooms which is what will probably happen and there goes my 45 minute lunch.

    For the poster above that mentioned Bell. I was at their school during morning recess once. The kids were in the classroom and the teachers were standing in the hallway drinking coffee talking to each other. So if we can get away with that then fine, but it was my understanding that students need to be supervised at all times.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I love the idea of hiring parents to supervise. First, it puts $$ in the pockets of parents, probably stay at home or out of work, to help them with a small amount of money. Second, it is way cheaper for schools to pay them rather than aides.
    My questions would be:
    1) As far as I know, parents cannot be left in charge of students alone at any time. There must be certified personnel supervising students at all times on school grounds. How is this possible?
    2)Where will the $$ come from? Even if you only hire 6 parents for 12.5 hours each week @ $8 an hour.....that's going to be nearly $2400 a month (less some due to days off). Where is the nearly $24K per year going to come from? The board certainly isn't going to pay for it.

    In some buildings, I can imagine that this would mean a principal will have to decide not to order math workbooks for the school because he/she has to designate the discretionary $$ to recess supervision. I am not saying we shouldn't have recess. We should. But there are costs, one way or the other.

  • I just looked this morning at Black's law dictionary relating to phrasing in the law and I have to conclude that the school code provisions relating to a 30 minute unpaid lunch without work are required for CPS teachers no matter what CPS wants, not the 20 minute standard in the labor code. But it is also clear that the phrasing allows for unilateral imposition of work rule changes at the determination of the CPS Board subject to bargaining that would not stop those changes.

    Rod Estvan

  • Can the person posting about their school in a rough neighborhood moving to open campus share the school name? It is wonderful that you found a way to make it work! I know there are also organizations such as COFI that have helped schools in rough areas find a way to make recess work for many years. While there are many challenges, the benefits are so great for the children that it is certainly worth the effort. That said, safety is always the top priority!

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  • Flavor of the day

    Recess brings back golden memories of days long gone. I really wonder if those
    Proposing this wonderful idea are having senior moments ,or are completely out of
    Touch with reality?
    The streets of Chicago where I taught are a war zone. Crime of every sort lurks right
    outside the school house door. It took the murder of Ben Wilson to drive this fact
    home at the old Simeon. Have the neighborhoods improved since that awful day?
    Hell no: in many places they are worst. I suggest every concerned person look at this web sight
    http://chicago.everyblock.com/crime type in your school address and check out the results.
    I am sure parts of the city are safe enough for recess but not in my world.

  • here's a story from WBEZ about how thrilled advocates are about the mandatory recess thing --

    http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-thrilled-mandatory-recess-90393?

  • I also wonder how this plays out with a unified district. To me, it seems like more on the plate of elem teachers than HS teachers since those students don't require supervision. As a middle school Science teacher, I wonder at how the "recess room" where I teach might be handled by a supervisor while I am out "having coffee"
    Will the 16 year olds spend their recess in the science lab of WYMHS? No, they will roam unencumbered, much to the chagrin of the CPD. This translates to extra free time for that teacher. My office is not separate from my classroom - they are the same. Maybe I should start working on my Type 9, HS teaching is starting to look less stressful.

  • I agree. We, in the elementary schools, are rarely without students. We receive three forty minues preps and five twenty minute washroom breaks per week. It is preposterous to have my students sit in the classroom for 45 minutes being supervised by whom...a parent, as an other poster claimed at his/her school. We do not have any extra personnel to supervise the students. We have no lunchroom and our gym is always in use. I do not leave my students with parents on field trips...I am responsible so why would I feel comfortable leaving my classs with a parent for 45 minutes. No offense to parents but this is not their job.

    Yes, I would highly recommend teaching in a high school setting. High schools tend to have more male teachers who are less likely to go along with working without pay and I have heard that missed preps are made up unlike in the elementary schools.

    Adding recess is just another band-aid....look at what is working in CPS...the AMPS schools do it with the same amount of minutes....

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Anonymous:

    We live in society that there are a lot disturbing people.I rather CPS hired more teacher assistants to watch our students than parents during recess. I do watch my students like a hawk when parents go on the field trip with us because I don't really know their background status. As an educator, CPS required educators to take drug screening test and criminal background check. The Board doesn't required parents to take those tests for that one field trip and/or volunteer in the classroom for that one day.

  • Frankly, I find many of the attitudes of teachers on this subject to be no less than shameful. Here have a change that can have a significant positive impact on students social, academic and health outcomes, and all we hear are excuses as to why teachers can't take lunch in the middle of the day like most of the rest of the world does.

    Go ahead and fight kids and parents on this issue. Time will come when you will want us to stand up for your interests and parents will remember.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Are we reading the same blog post and comments? I don't see anyone fighting kids and parents on this issue.

    I do see teachers expressing concern for children's safety and practical matters surrounding who will be responsible for children during recess. That doesn't come across like fighting words to me.

    Given CPS's ability to muck up everything up they touch I'm glad to see teachers how thoughtful are about how recess should be implemented in order to best serve the needs of the children and the community with an emphasis on safety first.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I've seen it everywhere. On blogs, in the schools. Teachers and the CTU pay lip service to wanting recess and then every chance they get, vote it down with 1000 excuses as to why they can't/won't do it.

    If teachers really wanted this, we'd hear the excitement and solutions, not nay-saying and complaints.

    Go, JCB! Make this happen, because the teachers have had plenty of chances to -- and have chosen not to.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I don't think you're seeing the whole picture here. The major concern is who is going to supervise the children? CPS policy is that parents cannot be left in charge of students without a certified staff member ( a teacher or administrator). Has the administration at the school where they use parents have an agreement with the board about using parents? If not, I would look very carefully about the legal issues and my personal liability if there were some type of accident or incident. Most teachers would agree that recess is a good thing for the students, but we have been burned too many times by the Board mandating programs and providing no backup or assistance in implementing them.

  • Those of us who have been around CPS are very leery of administraotrs who tell us not to follow the law in regards to supervision of children. Please Google the Sun-Times for the article about the gym teacher who was shot in the hand during outdoor gym because he shooed the childern in during a gang shootout. When he questioned CPS about why his sick day was docked because he had to get his hand fixed CPS told him that shooing the children in during gang warfare was, "not part of his job description" It was only when the the SuntImes ran the article was his sick day restored. Unless you work for CPS you have no clue as to how inept the higher ups are when it comes to the safety of the students.

  • I drove by Victor Herbert school in the United Center Area on west Monroe. The school sign had posted "school day extended 8am to 2:30pm"
    I think this school was in the old AREA 8 . Now if this school can extend it's hours others can too! NO EXCUSES.
    All this talk about gangs and guns etc and bad neighborhoods, look what happened downtown the other day. We cant live in fear and to be cliche let the gangs win.
    I live on the Near West Side and my neighborhood has it's occasional shootings. Over the spring a man was shot in front of my house and died hours later but does this mean I am not going to water my plants with my daughter or take my dog out for a run in the front yard? NO.
    Yes, I take precautions but I cannot live in fear.
    I am not trying to stoke a fire but
    These same kids you are talking about protecting are at least in my neighborhood running around till 10pm all summer long without a parent to be seen for hours if not days! The ages run from 3 years on up! I talk to them all the time and ask Where is your mother? At home:(((((
    I really dont think 20 minutes of fresh air is going to harm them at recess. They are pretty hearty kids.

  • If the children in your neighborhood are running around until 10:00 at night maybe recess is redundant for them...perhaps a nap would be in order.

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    In reply to Anonymous:

    I prefer nap than recess for younger students. They will need their rest since some of these kids wake up six or seven in the morning to go 8:00 am schools.

  • True but then what are you going to do?
    I say let them have recess!

  • Parents who want to volunteer at Chicago Catholic schools have to go through training and background checks before even the "lightest" volunteer work with children. Does CPS not also require this???

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    No. CPS does not require this. Even if they do "require" it, something I've never seen, it is not a matter of practical reality. So, in either case, no.

  • Yes, CPS does require a background check in some cases. Parents who volunteer a certain number of hours are supposed to be background checked. However, not all schools do this. As for training, the only training offered is what an individual school provides, which is typically nothing. But in either case, parents are not legally allowed to supervise children without a certified staff member present. Even student teachers are not supposed to be left alone in the classroom. This is for legal reasons.
    Here's the deal. If a teacher leaves her classroom with a parent in charge, and a kid has an accident, someone stops breathing, a fight occurs, whatever, that teacher is still responsible for the students. I would never allow a parent to be alone with students simply for legal reasons. If something happens, I'll bear the legal ramifications and I don't believe, even if my school sanctioned the use of parent volunteers or workers, that the board would back me up. I'd have to see it in writing that I was free of personal liability in the case of a parent supervising a room.
    It is one thing for a parent to come and help read to kids, or to help with a science project, cutting out art materials, whatever. It is totally different to leave 34 kids with a parent for 30-40 minutes. If CPS puts it in writing that I am not liable, and my school asks me to leave a parent in charge, then I will. Otherwise, I'll just eat my lunch while supervising kids at recess. No way am I going to take the chance that an untrained parent is going to leave me legally hanging.
    And I'll have to buy extra hats and mittens for kids to keep at school. And games for them to play in the classroom during recess.

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