Shorter Longer Day Won't Change Much

At a press conference yesterday morning, Mayor Emanuel announced new plans for a shorter longer school day, and that's the main story in today's news. Smart move?  Obvious cave?  A little bit of both.  My only concern is that it's too soon for compromise, and that there will be calls for further compromises further down the line.  So this won't solve much, really.  A shorter longer day isn't going to generate more funding for CPS.  If anything, it takes some of the pressure off the funding issue. Also: how amazing to see parents arguing against having their kids in school longer.  Shows you just how little trust there is in CPS, how easy it is for CTU to win parents over to fighting their fight.


Teachers union welcomes compromise, but says 7-hour day too long Sun Times:  “Once again, CTU has been proven correct. Today, the mayor moved his toe an inch from the line,” union President Karen Lewis said... “Now that the mayor is starting to listen to parents, teachers and research regarding the pitfalls …

Emanuel backs 7-hour school day after parents protest longer plan Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel blinked Tuesday in his signature drive for a longer school day. Instead of requiring elementary schools to shift from the current 5¾-hour day to a 7½-hour day, the mayor backed off and ordered a 7-hour day for elementary schools.

Emanuel Cuts Back Longer School Day Fox:  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he is scaling down a proposal to extend the day for elementary school students.

7 Hour Day. So it is written. So it shall be. cpsobsessed:  I’m not sure how to react.   I am happy it will be less than 7.5 hours which seemed insane. I’m still not getting how he gets off calling it a “Fuller Day” when we’re barely scraping by on the funding.

Rahm Emanuel blinks Tribune (editorial):   Getting what you want from governments in Springfield and Chicago loses some oomph if, in some subsequent confrontation, you're the one who has to blink.

Emanuel backtracks on longer school day Catalyst:  Emanuel said he never contended that 7.5 hours was a magical number, but that CPS’ current 5 hours and 45 minutes was short-changing children. He refused to acknowledge that he gave in a little to pressure, but insisted that with a 7-hour day he will reach still reach his goal of more classroom time.

Longer school day plan cut by 30 minutes Tribune:  Stand for Children, a national group that helped pass the Illinois legislation last year that allowed the mayor to implement a longer day without union approval, said it plans to continue pushing for a 71/2-hour day in elementary schools for the 2013-14 school year.

VIDEO: 7-Hour School Day Announced WTTW:  Mayor Emanuel gives some ground on longer school days, after complaints from some teachers and parents that the original proposal was too long. But does today's action settle the dispute over the future of Chicago Public Schools?





Speed cams questioned amid installation of 10,000 speed humps Sun Times:  Chicago has installed 10,000 speed humps in streets and alleys and created 450 cul-de-sacs, 400 traffic circles and 250 “bump-out” curbs since 2005 alone — many of them near schools and parks — raising questions about why the city also needs speed cameras.

Ex-Schaumburg Christian teacher pleads guilty to masturbating in class Sun Times: Paul LaDuke, a 75-year-old former teacher at Schaumburg Christian School pleaded guilty Tuesday to masturbating in front of students while teaching a math class.

Report: 4,000 fewer preschool slots in Illinois Catalyst:  Access to the state preschool program continued to shrink in fiscal year 2011, putting the state even further off track from its original plans to serve all 3- and 4-year-olds by this year.



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  • 7 hours instead of 7.5 for elementary teachers – this is a calculated attempt to break solidarity between high school and elementary teachers. Hope the elementary teachers aren’t that dumb.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I doubt that CPS or the Mayor was calculating enough to strategically attempt to drive a wedge between high school and elementary school teachers in its time proposal. But your comment does bring up ancient wounds among teachers as you may or may not know the Chicago Teachers Union was once the Chicago Teachers' Federation which was exclusively a women's elementary school teachers organization and it was banned by what was called the Loeb rule in the early 1900s, which prohibited Chicago teachers from membership in any organization affiliated with trade unions. There also existed a male high school teachers association which ultimately merged with the CTF to create the CTU. To read about this look at a book by David Hogan titled "Class and Reform: School and Society in Chicago, 1880–1930."

    The Board of Education allowed the male high school teachers to maintain an association, although they had no contract. Historians generally believe that this was a calculated move to divide teachers. Superintendent Edwin Cooley (1900–1909) may have actually encouraged male vocational track teachers to associate separately because the progressive CTF opposed tracking of children.

    Homogeneous or ability groupings were introduced into CPS high schools, a practice later known tracking, utilizing standardized tests. One CPS High School handbook from the 1930s explained that “those who can learn more quickly are not hindered by the slower pupils, while those that are slow are in classes by themselves.” Some CPS high schools also practiced segregation of boys and girls, to supposedly support “improvement in the scholarship of the boys,” who were believed to lag behind girls developmentally. Historically in CPS the division between elementary schools and high schools was also driven by sexism.

    Rod Estvan

  • Only the parents of elementary students mobilized. If the high school parents or teachers had an issue with it, then as far as I can tell it was not loudly voiced. Also, don't high schools already have 7 hour days? So to increase the day it sounds like they had to stick with 7.5 hours.

  • Still nothing about how they are going to pay for it or when the schools will be told how to fund it?

  • I think there is less discussion of High Schools here because they have more wiggle room in their budgets. For example, AP positions are awarded on a sliding scale with enrollment, not just one cut-off number as with Elem. There are extra "accredited" bodies on hand, not parents. An extra class period or free period or whatever is more manageable with 16 yr olds than 8 year olds, especially 8 - year olds supervised in my classroom (since it's raining outside) by a parent volunteer.

    There are so many contingencies that heap more non instructional face time on regular classroom teachers at the elementary level.

    Imagine a snowy morning in January. The parent volunteers stay home, so does the techco and the ESP. Check that the techco's out all week - Computer Lab closed. Also no sub for Computer for two days our two subs are covering for teachers at a conference, and you know how it's really hard to get subs compared to last year. Does the regular ed teacher endure the consequences of other teacher's absences? You betcha, to a greater degree than the reg ed HS teacher

    I don't mind working this longer day - it'll be good for the Science Labs I teach and students need recess. But I foresee too many instances where I'll be required to supervise kids (i.e. work) during "prep" or "recess" time because there are simply not enough bodies (no $$$$$) to supervise kids.

  • Parents are against a longer day that has no substance or resources behind it. They can see the difference between a marketing campaign backed up by faulty data and real reform that has a plan and funding.
    If there is mistrust by parents opposed to an unfunded longest day, CPS and the mayor have earned it by the methods they have employed to push their plan through.
    "how easy it is for CTU to win parents over to fighting their fight".
    This is not the CTU's fight, our children are the ones that will pay the price. What the CTU and CPS decide on for compensation is between them.
    I resent the implication that if one is opposed to a CPS policy that they are seen as a CTU pawn. Or if we are against a CTU policy we are anti-union. For parents, this is not the case. There are not just two teams in public education anymore, team CPS and team CTU. Make room for Team Parent, we don't need to be voted in, hired by the Mayor or join a union. We outnumber both teams and we will not stand for our children to be used as political or negotiation pawns anymore

  • In reply to Sonia:

    Thank you Sonia, for responding to what I was going to say -- Alex, whose side are you on in this debate? Your statement, "how amazing to see parents arguing against having their kids in school longer. Shows you just how little trust there is in CPS, how easy it is for CTU to win parents over to fighting their fight" seems to imply that parents somehow got suckered into the debate -- why is demanding a reasonable length to a school day for children aged 5 to 14 seen by you as a negative thing? I see an eight hour school day as a problem for families that want their children to have a "life" outside of school and a reasonable bedtime. No one has argued to keep a six hour day -- most of the parent activists said 6.5 is an ideal extension. The CTU didn't come up with that plan, the parents did. And I applaud them for taking a stand and speaking up for what they want for their children.

    It's far time the Board stop this over-centralization and allow for local schools and communities make decisions about what is right for them. Ever since JCB and Emmanuel took over at 125, there has been no end to the new "rules" that have re-organized and re-centralized a school district that was criticized not so many years ago as being the "worst" which led to sweeping reforms that attempted to de-centralize central office and give control back to the local schools. Now the pendulum is swinging back toward centralization without consent, input, or collaboration with the people it affects most. It is about time parents stepped up to take their rightful place in working on education and school policy to push for decisions that benefit their children. They pay the taxes and they vote for the mayor. I would also love to see a push from parents to get us back to an elected school board which would have real accountability to the public as well. So parents, don't stop fighting the issues until you have won back control over your local schools and communities -- in this system, only the squeaky wheels get greased.

  • In reply to deskjockey:

    If parents want local control then they have to fight for a democratically elected school board rather than this rubber stamp Politburo dominated by 1%ers and their pawns.

  • Looks like students, parents, and teachers won this round, but they still aren't satisfied. What is Emanuel going to tell his billionaire union-busting constituency when he has to reel it back once again to 6.75 hours?

  • Sonia, you are missing the most important point. Why is it 3 teams? In order for us to improve the education of our children it needs to be ONE TEAM.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I agree, it should be one team. They should all join Team Parent :)

  • Stop the nonsense already and MOVE ON people. 6.5 is so 27 seconds ago.

  • What a dumb thing to say. Your presumptuous attitude underscores why we really, really need an elected Board of Education.

  • Oh the irony. An "elected" school board means someone needs to be elected which means they need to run which means they need votes which means--------come full circle--------you have a politician in charge of the school board. Come on, what do you think would happen and remember we are in CHICAGO. The school board would be run by candidates backed by the CTU. They have the money and have been funding candidates down in springfield for generations. Look at what a mess that has gotten us into with education. What is this the flavor of the day argument?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Democracy is not "flavor of the day", in fact the mayor-appointed board is well past its due date. It is the status quo and a proven failure. We currently have one politician (*hint*-he is a ballerina from Wilmette) who appoints rubber stamps and billionaires to the board. None of the current host of board members have any "skin in the game" They make decisions that have little bearing on their actual lives but affect millions of actual Chicagoans.

    If you think a 7 or 9 member board would be dominated by CTU then you haven't been paying attention to the INDEPENDENT parent groups who made the mayor bink on the underfunded extended school day. You're also forgetting about astroturf groups like Stand For Children who would use the the money from their 1% bosses to place a few candidates on an elected board . Would it be perfect? No. Would it be better than a selection of Emanuel's crooked pals? Yes.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Ignorant Statement! The mayor of Chicago controls with a iron fist who runs CPS and how they run it. The mayor's CEO's push down NO RESEARCH based educational policies waste our tax payer money. Get a clue!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    can Rham be recalled like the gov of Wis?

  • Men Without Hats on Rahm’s Top-Down Administration Without Brains

    It makes you wonder just who they really are
    They say money is no object and we’ve got a car
    They kidnapped tony where did they go
    They went to get it done before he got too old
    They’re incognito, they’re into fame
    They think they know it all you know their family’s to blame
    Isn’t it funny, isn’t it sad
    You come up empty thinking bout the good times that you had
    I like, when they talk really loud trying to tell you what they know
    I like, when it blows real hard and it doesn’t even show

  • What’s all the confusion about how Rahm intends to fund the longer school day? Reduce expenditures, that’s how! What does one do when one cannot afford to eat three meals a day?…they eat two meals or one or none! Start with the teachers - fire experienced teachers, hire inexperienced teachers and rotate substitutes, increase class sizes, assign more assistant principals to teaching positions. Cut back on operations and maintenance, cut support services; raise health insurance, higher deductibles and prescription co-pays, deny sick-leave, and mandate wellness programs. Cut professional development and instructional program. What’s the mystery?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You forgot to mention all of the cuts in special education...none at the top as usual...cut the aides so a child can sit in his/her feces while the"SHARED" aide is assisting two other children...and when the fire alarm goes off...just pray, sister....CPS is a one from out side the system can believe the guano we put up with....

  • What was Do Nothing Alderman Solis doing at the Rahm Hot Air Conference? Solis has done NOTHING for neighborhood schools in Pilsen. It is ethical responsibility to do the right thing for the neighborhood school children. Solis has no shame! But we all knew that!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Of course he would be at a hot hair conference. His ward had every opportunity to vote him out--and they kept him. I have not sorrow for them.

  • Well...let the cutting begin. We were told at our useless PD yesterday that all Achievement Academies were being eliminated. All 8th grade students will go to the high school (s) for summer bridge, and we were to submit a list of over-aged students by Apr 20th.
    So in addition to writing all of the illegal IEP's with minutes that were based on the new (but old) 7.5 hour day, now they expect us to magically make our 14 y/o 7th graders disappear. This system is ripe for a major due process/class action suit. Seriously.

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