Which Schools Will Waive Next?

CPS is obviously interested in getting more schools to agree to the longer school day, and CPS says that more schools are interested (CPS says other schools expressing interest in longer day Tribune) but no one is saying where the debate is taking place.  Let's see if we can figure out where the discussion is happening -- where principals are pushing it, where votes have taken place?  There's been no news I've heard about schools where teachers have voted against a waiver, or where principals have pulled back from even taking a vote.


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  • Benjamin Mays Elem in Englewood just made the news for moving to the longer day. It's 90 minutes for instruction and 15 minutes for recess. This keeps getting misreported. Many schools moved to the longer day (by 45 minutes and for free) this year by changing to the open-campus model. They just didn't receive the "red carpet" treatment and lots of money.

  • great tip -- thanks for sharing -- how many other schools out there are doing this, and remind me again how the open campus model gets an extra 45 minutes (into classroom time, i'm assuming)?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I think everyone is talking about two different things. At the end of the school year, we were asked to vote on an "open-campus" model. On the CPS staff website, there is a .pdf brochure about recess and the benefits of it for students and teachers. It asks that schools should consider going back to this model. (Don't have access to it since lost my CPS access when I was cut due to budgetary reasons). Meaning the teacher lunch period, which is 45 minutes, would be reinstituted and not taken at the end of the day (most schools from 2:45-3:30). This way, students could then have a longer lunch period, then recess. At then end of the brochure, there is a waiver form for teachers to sign and agree to. But on that document, it also states that you are willing to waive 20 minutes of YOUR lunch period to supervise the students during recess, so once again, you're back to a 20 minute lunch. And nowhere does it mention anything about those two 10 minute breaks you get that make up your lunch period in a "closed-model" campus. Do you waive those also? Or are other staff members going to run around during the day to give you those breaks?
    So now, if you're an open-campus school, and you want to be an extended school for your bonus, is that another 90 minutes you are tacking on, in other words, 135 minutes?? It's not clear anywhere and no one is saying anything. I don't think the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.

  • RP says Mays Elementary School became the fourth Chicago Public school to waive and approve a longer school day of 90 minutes by a vote of 18 for 4 against by the teachers.

  • huffington post rounds up coverage of school number four


  • No, CPS is not planning to add 90 minutes (again it's really 105 minutes that are going to be added to these four schools) to the Open-Campus schools. They are planning to create a new schedule for all schools for next fall, but the length of the day has not been determined. Obviously, CPS and CTU need to hash that out by next June. My group, Raise Your Hand, helped about twelve schools move to Open Campus for this year. Schools were able to achieve the duty free-lunch for teachers and some schools agreed to use the extra 20 minutes left over for instructional time. Open campus won't be a choice for next fall because CPS is looking to revamp the schedule for all schools. Just think it's interesting that 12 schools did this collaboratively, quietly and cost-free with no fanfare.

  • In reply to WendyKatten:

    Yes, I agree! Of all the groups seeking changes in school scheduling, Raise Your Hand seems to be the best one and the one that actually cares about the well-being of the kids. I think the open campus model would be a great compromise, if you want to call it that, giving kids time to run around and making the work day more sane for teachers, without the burden of a whole extra 90 minutes for which there is really no plan and which will probably be much, much more work for teachers without getting those great test scores/improved outcome that the district is so wanting to "prove" their success with numbers. Why can't open campus be a real option for next year? Honestly, one size does NOT fit all for CPS--just look at the Breakfast in the Classroom fiasco. So many initiatives are not thought out, not planned well, then they are unceremoniously dumped and new half-baked ones are introduced. At least the open campus model is an understood quantity for the most part.

  • In reply to cpsteachermom:

    Going to open campus adds 45 minutes to a students day, 25 of which is devoted to expanding lunch/recess. That leaves 20 minutes for additional instruction.

    Open campus is the default schedule now and would cost nothing. But it's not 90 minutes of additional instruction.

  • In reply to WendyKatten:

    Parents, students, and teachers want so many of the same things. I really believe that CPS is terrified of them realizing that. Collaboration is such a powerful force. Working together we can change this system in a very positive way. Top down iron handed administration trying to push programs with no proven track record, will never be a substitute.

  • Idea

    Why not shorten the school day so that parents have more time
    to raise their children. Just think of how wonderful it will be
    For parents to go over schoolwork cook breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    Get back to the good old days of Ozzie and Harriet.
    I am sure the kids would love to do things as a family with their parents.
    I really believe that demanding the parents put some skin in this will increase
    test scored and benefit everyone. A cornerstone of this plan will let the teachers
    Teach and the parents parent. A mandatory, verifiable two hour per night
    Homework secession will really help cement families.

  • Would someone explain the politics behind Ed Burke's comments today?

    “As someone who has been as strong as I could be in support of organized labor, … I’m starting to get embarrassed at the attitude of some leaders of organized labor,” Burke said, according to the Sun-Times. “The union is not trying to figure out a way to get this accomplished. They seem to be obstructing the end goal that so many people agree needs to happen.”

    I don't understand exactly he wants the union to do...
    ...add the 90min immediately without any extra pay?
    If this is what he considers being a "strong supporter of organized labor"... keep your support!

  • Explain Ed

    I hope by saying “I’m starting to get embarrassed at the attitude of some leaders of organized labor,”
    He is not referring to the physical appearance of Ms.Lewis .
    That would be an insult to every woman in America.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    What is her educational background? I couldn't find a useful bio on the web.

  • In reply to WestLooper:


    Today’s ,Sunday , Tribune had a great story about our president

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Thanks. According to the article she graduated from Dartmouth.

  • I think Alderman Burke expects the CTU to accept the fact that SB7 will bring the longer school day next year no matter what. He wants the CTU leadership to act like the unions he has been working with his entire life that are run by labor bosses who dictate to their members their contracts and who act more in their own interests rather than those of their members.

    President Lewis was on Chicago Tonight this evening and at points she seemed rattled and attempted to articulate a fairly complex discussion of what a longer school day should be composed of that went right over the head of the interviewer. She also correctly pointed out that research on the length of the school day indicates that a longer one does not simply equal better outcomes for students. Which is again correct because for low income students who are academically behind the critical issue is time on task not just the length of the instructional day and there are limits to the gains that can be made even then. She also raised the issue of things like music that need to be included in the curriculum.

    But the PR war is not being fought on such a complex level, it is being fought on a crude level - are you for a longer day yes or no - will you accept $1,200 in a one time payment yes or no. As I have said elsewhere it is my opinion that the union should have a referendum on the CPS proposal of 2% for 90 minutes plus two additional weeks and it should see what its members think.

    You can't sit back and let schools seek waivers and make deals on their own, especially when the waiver proposal was formally written by the CPS law department alone. The only possible way to stop this is to have the membership decide as a whole that this is a bad deal. Now every alderman has been directed to lobby every elementary school in their ward to call for a waiver vote.

    If a city wide referendum is held fast it might be able to end this division at least it would tell teachers wait you can vote on this deal, if that is what the majority wants then the union can work out a deal with CPS. Mayor Emanuel and his team has totally out flanked the union and the CTU has to take some risks or it could be broken. A quickly called referendum is the union's best shot in its current situation.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I was wondering if you can write further on this suggestion. Let's say the union has a referendum on the CPS proposal of 2% for 90 minutes plus two additional weeks and the membership clearly indicates in a referendum that this is a bad deal. How does that result change what's going on now, with elementary schools acting as lone rangers? Why would a referendum end this division? I would assume that the deal offered is not what the majority of the membership wants. Can you explain what is to be gained by a referendum?

  • In reply to cpsteachermom:

    One thing having a referendum on the CPS proposal would do is to create a clear statement on where the CTU membership stands on this issue. It will either be a valuable PR tool for the union in relation to what it faces in attempting to get a contract next year or it will indicate that the House of Delegates and CTU leadership is out of touch with the members who largely want to accept whatever they can get and be done with it.

    If dozens of aldermen are calling principals and asking that wavier votes be held you can bet we are going to see many more schools voting for the wavier. The pressure on teachers in these schools will also be coming from LSCs and parents too.

    By publicly calling a referendum the CTU can say to Mayor Emanuel and the public - ok we hear what you are saying - so lets see what the teachers in these elementary schools think. The CTU can play a PR card they can say that they are asking the Mayor to freeze the wavier votes until the referendum is conducted. The CTU then has a possibility of in a very short time frame to argue its position to teachers as to why accepting the deal offered by CPS is a bad deal even though the work time increase will be imposed based on SB7 next school year and the fight will only be over how much teachers will get paid for the time. The Mayor and CPS can also argue to teachers why it is best for teachers to vote up their proposal.

    Even if only 40 or 50 schools vote for the wavier this year it greatly reduces the CTU's bargaining position for the next contract. Sitting still and doing nothing is not a real option, the steam roller has began to move and teachers will be run over unless they react.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Is holding a referendum being considered by the union at this point? And if the vote indicates that the majority of the membership rejects the proposed 2% for 90 minutes, does that disallow more waivers this year, or have any concrete effect?

  • Let is keep an eye on the top administration "doing" their job. Rahm knows his team led by CEO Brizard is not up to snuff. Let us keep an eye on how that new fangled "network" operates. That is why Rahm needs to resort to his circus.

  • I work in area 11 and I haven't heard anything, but then again we usually don't hear anything until the last minute anyway.

  • All this talk about teachers not doing their jobs, what about principals who spend all their time making sure their LSC parents are happy and hiring/firing teachers based on who they like and not who does their job. Changes need to happen with administration or else all the extra time in the world will not help!

  • Poll

    I thought a referendum was held four years ago called a contract ratification vote ?
    Not addressed is which schools have such a short day? It sure isn’t the High Schools
    So who will be allowed to vote for this longer day.
    If the teachers of Chicago allow themselves to be used like this then all hope
    Of improvement for the kids will be gone. A concurrent strike vote should accompany
    Any referendum on a longer day.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    There is no question that going to a city wide referendum is dangerous for the union, but sitting and getting picked off maybe is far more dangerous for the survival of the CTU. Teachers I think now do realize that SB7 will force a longer school day next year for sure, so the waiver votes are much more complex.

    One of my relatives is a teacher in Wisconsin in a small town, he opposed the law there and went to Madison to protest along with many of his fellow teachers. He even knows the words to Solidarity Forever. But public sector workers lost big time and now the law is in full effect. This year the school district cut all paid vacation days for teachers for both the Spring and Winter breaks, they are now unpaid days. The union can't do much for teachers any more so he has told me he will not fight for re-certification for his local nor are any of the other teachers in his school. Because of the Wisconsin law the union at his school that still formally exists can't get dues paid by deduction and no teachers are paying dues and no one from the Wisconsin Education Association is really attempting to collect them. The situation CTU members face could be far worse than the situation they are in now.

    Rod Estvan

  • Pressure is coming at the principals from everywhere to have the teachers vote to extend. Our school has received calls from our School Chief, Jennifer Chatman's office, the Community Schools Initiative office (implying the CSI funds may be pulled if we don't do it), and a group of parents. Apparently Central Office people are going to the NCLB meetings telling the parents half-truths and urging them to demand this of the principal & teachers.

    Rahm is such a bully.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    So, what should one do with a bully?

  • Oh my . . . Karen Lewis on Chicago Tonight came thisclose to arguing that a shorter school day was preferable. . . Never, ever heard a teacher make that argument . . . No wonder Lewis refuses to be on that committee.

  • Does anyone know of a school where they voted on the extended day offer and it failed?

  • watch Disney http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-cps-school-day-20110908,0,1699381.story

  • We were asked, via email, by our principal yesterday if we wanted to vote to have an extended school day this year. We had to respond to the email with a yes or a no. The people who had enough courage to respond to that email all said "no." So we voted no to having a vote!!!!!

  • In reply to SMO77:

    Good for you and your staff! Everyone should have the courage to stand up against union busting techniques.

  • disney might do it, or charters might jump in


  • From a teacher on the CPS e-mail system:

    The contract waiver at STEM Magnet School is interesting. It asks for far more than just an extended school day. These contract provisions are waived: 4-6, 4-9, 4-13, 4-13.1, 5-3, 5-8, 15-8, 44-2, 44-41A, 44-41B, and Appendices A1-3H. My understanding is that scheduling details are addressed in individual buildings, but the waiver portion of the CPS proposal is the same for all elementary schools. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    A cursory reading shows that the CPS PROPOSAL WAIVES AND ELIMINATES:

    1) The $1,750 stipend for National Board Certified Teachers. (Appendix 2A)

    2) The right to additional pay for teaching classes beyond the normal maximum course load. (Appendix 3A)

    3) PSRP job titles and pay grades. (Appendix 1E)

    4) Payment for mandatory in-service outside of the regular school day. (44-2)

    5) The right of the Union to negotiate over how extra time is used. (4-13, 5-3, 5-8)

    6) The right of the school's PPLC to provide input on professional development offerings. (4-6, 4-13, 5-8)

    7) The right of LSC members, teachers, and the school's Union delegate to annually review closed campus scheduling. (4-13)

    8) Prep periods for librarians. (15-8)

    9) Salary schedules, pay rates, increments, and stipends for teachers, PSRPs, cadres, day-to-day subs, retired teachers, psychologists, social workers, speech pathologists, case managers, driver education teachers, summer school, all extracurriculars (including coaches), trade & vocational teachers, head teachers, and after-school instruction. (Appendices A1-3H)
    Fascinating, indeed

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Everybody should read this

  • omg, it this is true do they realize what they have done to themselves? i love my job and my students but i sure wish i had the years to retire. we are slowly being roasted over an open fire.

  • excuse the typo...it should read if, not it.

  • YIKES!
    Teachers are willingly signing up for this?!

  • More CTU misinformation.

    Kugler must have written this. If you read the waiver, there is a substitute scheudle for the preparations which are actually more generous than the those articles that are being waived. And the waiver on money only concerns after school pay (that's what Appendix A1-3H is!) for the 40 extra minutes and they are getting the stipend insteand of that.

    Karen Lewis and her team are desperados.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    The articles and appendices listed above are stated clearly on the STEM waiver proposal. The content of these articles and appendices, however, are not at all stated clearly on the proposal. It is a highly deceptive document.

    Appendix A1-3H encompasses 75 PAGES of contractual language, pay schedules, job titles, pay grades, increments, stipends, rules, summer school pay, etc. It covers FAR more than after school pay.

    Congrats to Rahm and Brizard. They have successfully pulled a real doozy of a scam on these teachers. And all with the teachers' support.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Is it really more complicated than a longer school day and more money? Seems pretty simple to understand.

  • In reply to WestLooper:

    The longer day for more money selling point is exactly that, a selling point. It is an incredibly simplistic, manipulative public relations ploy. It is far, far, far more complicated than a longer school day and more money. The waiver eliminates nearly 100 pages of contractual obligations and rules.

  • I would have thought Rahm offered some sort of sweet deal to get these schools signed-up. Now it looks like he played them for fools.

    If this is what they are offering early adopters, makes you wonder what the new contract has in store for us!

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