White Parent Pushback

Today's news focuses on the press conference held by a coalition of parent groups and its spokesperson, a Drummond parent, who are concerned about the longer day. Am I correct in having the impression that this is mostly a North Side / white parent concern?  White paper, white parents.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Everyone's entitled to an opinion, and in reality instructional needs vary among different communities. I'm sure lots of CPS teachers are with parents on this one, knowing that they are unlikely to get paid as much as they believe they deserve for the extra time they are almost certainly going to be teaching next year.  Meantime, there's back and forth over evaluating teachers via student test scores, and a few other tidbits.


Parent groups: Data for longer school day doesn’t add up Sun Times: A coalition of 16 parent groups Monday demanded a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to go over the real research on a 7 1/2-hour school day, and not the “misinformation” they charged district officials with spreading.

Parents accuse CPS of ‘spin’ on longer day Catalyst: Outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, members of Chicago Parents for Quality Education said that the current school day is too short but that the city’s proposal for a 7.5-hour day is too long

Parent Group Protests Longer School Day Fox: A small group of parents pushed back against CPS plans to keep kids in school longer.

Parent Groups Want Meeting With Mayor On Longer School Day CBS:  Several parents groups are questioning how the Chicago Public Schools can lengthen the school day starting next fall, without solid plans on how to use the extra time, or enough money to pay for it.


CPS will lose good teachers Chicago Sun-Times:  The Chicago Public Schools are risking a teachers' strike, true. More importantly, many great teachers who would have waited to retire have submitted their resignations. Many young teachers are rethinking the idea of working ...

What’s the best way to evaluate teachers? WBEZ:   What do we know about what makes a good teacher, and what’s the best way to gauge a teacher’s skills? We’ll put those questions and more to Carnegie Institute for the Advancement of Teaching Senior Fellow Thomas Toch and Sara Ray Stoelinga from the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute.

Letters Tribune:  Evaluating teachers The Tribune deserves a D-minus for your April 5 editorial on the new Chicago Public Schools' teacher evaluation plan. You commend CPS for making student standardized test score growth 25 percent of the evaluation but claim that 50...


Arts high school’s new home will be the old Malcolm X College Sun Times:  The Chicago High School for the Arts will get a new home in 2015 — the old Malcolm X College — when the college moves into its new, $251 million home next door.

Hope aims high Catalyst: The Academy, which aims to be a model for the inclusion of students with special needs, lost a legal complaint filed by parents who accused Hope of failing to provide legally required special education services for their children, raising questions about whether the school can achieve its goal.


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  • It's Tribune spin to see parent pushback on the longer school day as solely a north-side issue. Here on the south side I have not met one parent who is in favor of the longer school day, unless you count one who told me, well, I didn't think we had any say. That's the closest I have come to finding support for this.

    To be fair, I just spoke with a principle of a south side school which implements the longer day, and he says it is going well. A critical difference is that his school makes allowances for 5 year olds, who are not required to attend school for nearly eight hours. Kindergarteners have a four-hour day. I am so impressed with his school's sensitivity to young children. This plan shows that it is possible to retain some flexibility in the application of the "full day" and still see success.

  • I live on the Northside and actually, contrary to all the comotion, almost every parent I talk to is fine with a longer day. At every school you have the outspoken few who are so passionate about the topic they cause the other parents to keep their opinions to themselves. Some do debate, but if you are fine with the longer day, you are not going to hold a press conference demanding a meeting with the mayor to say you want a longer day because you are already getting it. You are not going to try to convince the passionate parents otherwise either. You focus on your kids and do what you can to support your school. Don't assume that these white parents represent all white parents on the Northside. Quite the contrary.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Really? I also live on the North side of the city and have yet to meet a parent in favor of a 7.5 hour school day. What school(s) are you polling?

    Also, has anyone been to http://www.concernedpioneerparents.com/ ? Very interesting insight from parents who are currently experiencing this debacle.

  • Actually the debate on part is about having a Better Day! That is the issue that CPS will not address. That is the issue that parents should be asking and demanding of CPS, how will it be a better day for the children.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    If my kids get recess and more instruction time in soical stuides and science, then it is a better day. My school can do a better day today if they would just extend the day. There are many others in the same situation. The sky is not falling at every school. There are a lot of problems to fix, but it sounds like these white parents will never be happy. It seems like they just want to make so much noise that the system stays at status quo because nothing makes them happy. Some constructive criticisim, you sound like a bunch of spoiled brats. Violet and the cowboy kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes to mind. You do not represent parents on the northside, even though you count me as a member because I get your emails.

  • The Chicago Coalition for Quality Education comprises 15 parent groups from around the city, in colors besides white. They have come together because they don't believe in an unfunded mandate for a 7.5 hour school day for every school in the city. Some are concerned because they have seen their bilingual programs cut without warning. Others want to know how CPS can impose a longer day when their facilities are in bad repair or lacking basics like a library, cafeteria, or playground. Others are concerned about the cut to their fine arts programs. Each school's issues may vary, but all agree that without collaboration with parents and teachers and without funding, this 7.5 hour day push can't benefit children.

    It really is not just about the time, but about the right amount of time and the proper funding for diverse groups of students at the 675 or so schools in our city. One size can't fit all. Quality education isn't cheap. CPS has a budget deficit of $600-700 mln now, and a pension obligation due next year of $900 mln.
    How can it afford a longer day that will benefit kids?

  • I agree with all of these comments. I am at a school that is on the NW side and there are parents that are only in favor of the longer day if it is funded appropriately. Most are worried about the homework, lack of time at home as a family after sports/activities are done, and how it will all work at our overcrowded school. I am at a school that utilizes the open campus model and we have a 45 minute lunch/recess. We have 3 lunch periods and they all eat in the gym. Luckily, we have parent volunteers at lunchtime/recess and our administration also does lunch duty. We do not have a computer lab, library, and we do not have art. We are losing our music room next year. Imagining an even longer day with even less space and no more teachers is very difficult for us. We will have 36-38 students in our K-3 classrooms. Without the possibility of more support from Central Office, the longer day sounds ridiculous to us. Even doing an intervention block is a great idea, but we really do not have the staff or space to do interventions in small groups.

  • I’ve read the tribune editorial pages and I have heard CPS tell us that the world is in favor of the longer school day…they have even told us that teachers themselves are in favor, yet, I have yet to meet one single person, anywhere, teacher, parent, researcher, taxpayer, who is in actual favor of the longer, as proposed by cps, school day

  • Rumor is that Rahm is going to announce a longer school day compromise, whittling down his initial push for 7.5 hours. Can anyone confirm?

  • It's the lead story on chicagotribune.com...

  • video -- "Emanuel Now Wants a Shorter Longer School Day" | NBC Chicago http://ow.ly/abHLm

  • http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Emanuel-Now-Wants-Shorter-Longer-School-Day-146837885.html#ixzz1reu8cloi

  • Please look at the list of groups in the Coalition -- white parents only? Black Star Project, KOCO, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, etc. I believe 4 parents spoke at yesterdayś press conference: 2 Whites, 1 African-American, and one Latina. Don´t make this into an issue about race. All parents need to be informed and brought into the process. Parents want a quality school day for their children regardless of race and class. Children will love school more if school is more engaging as it will be if they have recess, PE, art, music. etc. and they will learn more in the core subjects because they are engaged. Parents need childcare and CPS should put energy into wrap-around services. Thank you to Chicago Parents for Quality Education for all of their work to keep the quality of the school day as part of the discussion. We are talking about all children here!

  • Rahm blicked. I was in formed of this from one of the School Network Chief's.

  • Rahm blicked, and I was informed by one of the School Network Chief's about this.

  • Mayor Rahm Emanual and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Jean-Claude Brizard to day announced that elementary schools will adopt a 7-hour day next year and high schools will adopt a 7 1/2-hour day as CPS moves from the shortest school day and year.

  • Sorry for the typo.

  • The media wants to stick with it's narrative despite the facts. The northside has actually taken the back seat on this issue. The most active and vocal protestors have been working class parents from Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, and Kenwood.

  • You want doubts about a longer day? Wait till the longer day is matched with school budgets that should be out really soon.

  • Well the budget is not out yet. Rahm will now see the cost and how will he/WE pay?
    CTU--can see why they gave up on REACH--the new teacher eval. if class sizes are not reduced --CTU teachers are screwed!
    Looks like REACH is desinged to help drop teachers.
    CTU if you do not strike--you are dead, not just the union, but any teacher left in the system.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Reach IS designed to drop teachers

    Lucky teachers will have a shelf life of three or four years

    “Tenured Teachers who received a summative rating of excellent or superior in 2011-2012 will remain on the biennial cycle for the 2012-2013 school year”
    In other words, anything less than excellent and “you’re fired by 2013-2014”

    …and just the use of the word ‘biennial’, meaning ‘dead’ after the second year, should be enough to sound the alarm

  • CPS will lose great principals too with this new unREACHable teacher evaluation process! Shame!

    And if money has nothing with LSD--where are the school budgets????

  • Finally there has been some movement on the Mayoral front regarding the extra-super-long day...my presumption all along was that they would start at 7.5 and end up at 6.75, with all sides agreeing that we "won" something in the "Full School Day" battles. Except for high school teachers -- I wonder where that is going to go....
    So it remains to be seen if there is a further 15-minute adjustment in a few months as contract negotiations continue.
    As for the parents, I believe that part of the reason for Rahm's retreat from his original mandate is that the parent groups "demanding a meeting" (did they ever get one?) were organized and armed with good data, and if they are able to do both things, then they are also VOTERS. Rahm needs to have voter support if he wants to stay in power, and parents who are involved in their children's education (whether it is black/white/brown, rich-middle-poor) VOTE.
    Hopefully the next thing Rahm will realize is that teachers, firefighters, police officers, and city workers also VOTE. And maybe in the next election, the Democratic Machine (which handed the election to Rahm on a silver Obama-endorsed platter) will not fill the ballot with lousy alternative candidates which split non-Rahm voters in four different directions.

  • Well, It looks like I was right, and Donn and the others were wrong. The mayor changed the time of the day. Check my previous email and I won't say I told you so. None of these decisions are well thought out. Being brash and bold is one thing, but knowing the repercussions of decisions is key. There are no easy quick answers to this education problem. Many have tried things and gotten no results. The biggest mistake is yet to blow up and the pseudo leaders don't even know it. Some decisions become your legacy, ie; snowstorm, new deal; strike? Humility is better than bold and brash especially when you don't know what you don't know. Now what do we adjust next????

  • Our school redid the IEPs and had to pay our teachers for this--now they all have to be changed back!!
    Rahm--you cost the taxpayers lots of money with this--should have thought it out better the first time--you just shoot first and aim later.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I think a microscope should be place on our honorable Mayor Rahm. Remember this is the same Rahm who wants Chicagoans (his alderman) to TRUST him on public works by approving a NOT DETAILED plan that has no accountability built in it. "Chicago Infrastructure Trust insisted they don't know what public works improvements would be included and can't guarantee that public disclosure laws would apply. (Tribune) " Seems Mayor "Transparency" is not so! The mayor is a dictator! Nothing more and nothing less.

  • We didn't get paid to revise IEP's how did you? We were told to start the revisions on our own time just as we do all IEP's. Fortunately we didn't get too many revised.

  • The case managers were told and I believe the CTU had corresponded with its members that there is money available for IEP revisions since this is additional work for the SPED teachers. I am assuming you dissented at your IEP meet ins since February. At my school the gen ed and SPED teachers dissented but not the social worker, nurse or psychologist. I am wondering why....

  • Since some special education teachers are raising issues related to the longer school day let me add a different perspective. As some blog readers are aware I have not been an active participant in the 6.5 vs 7.5 hour school day wars. In general I don't think the entire discussion has been framed correctly and I have tried to explain this. But for parents of students with disabilities based on complex legal reasons the longest possible school day is legally the best to protect their collective interests.

    My statement may seem to be absurd to many special education teachers, and some parents of children with ADHD or behavior disorders that struggle with their time on task currently. For students with disabilities who have conditions where it can be reasonably demonstrated that it is adverse to them to be in an academic setting for 7.5 hours a day it is legally possible to get a modification in the academic day. In special education law this area is called "timing and scheduling accommodations."

    This does not mean the student with a disability would necessarily be completely dismissed from school before other students, but very likely it could mean a dramatic reduction of academic time on task for the specific student. There are however, rare cases for example relating to children with chronic fatigue syndrome who legally have completely shorter school days than other children.

    The reason that there is a legal advantage for students with disabilities to have the longest total school day possible is based on a complex legal issue. If a student requires intensive services, teaching and re-teaching, the total limit is the school district's length of the instructional day. If we want to argue for services beyond the length of the normal school day it has to be legally proven that the student requires what is called "compensatory education" in order to place disabled student in the same position they would have occupied but for the school district’s violation of IDEA.

    That legal bar is very high and getting these types of additional services beyond the normal school day normally requires litigation. The number of additional days for such extended day services can be proscribed by a quantitative method using an approximation of the lost number of days of education for the student and awarding tutoring (or other compensatory services) based upon that calculation minus the time it reasonably should have taken the school district to learn of the denial of services the student was legally required to recieve.

    However, the legal standard for getting additional services within the normal school day is far lower. It requires proving only that the child has not made what is called "adequate annual progress."
    Therefore, because of these somewhat complex reasons I decline to join in the length of the school day battles and I recommend parents of students with disabilities think whether it is in their own children's interests to have a school day of any particular length.

    Even though most parents of children with disabilities do not have the financial resources to litigate against CPS for additional services, they can advocate or simply put raise a lot of hell for these additional services for their children. But if the need for services goes beyond the school day that parent will for sure need a lawyer and then the problems their child faces still may not make the legal standard to receive compensatory education beyond the normal school day.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    So, are you lobbying for the longest day possible, based on your assertion that it would allow for the most possible minutes of services to students with IEP's? Also, in your estimation, does litigation against schools usually result in dramatic improvements to the education that students receive?

  • In reply to flash:

    Since most litigation in Illinois involves students with the most severe disabilities in those situations where parents win it normally results in better educational outcomes for these children. I would say the greatest improvement for students whose families have been required to litigate have been for students on the autism spectrum. Most cases involving less severely disabled students are resolved before litigation and most of these students experience improvements in services and actual standardized test score improvements over time.

    But there are situations in these mediated settlements involving less disabled students where after one or two years additional supports are withdrawn, parents get into major fights with CPS or other districts, and move their children if possible to higher income school districts with better services.

    My position on the longer school day is as I stated, it is in the legal interests of all students with IEPs covered by existing federal and state laws to have the longest school day possible, there is no downside to this proposal legally because of the ability to get timing and scheduling accommodations written into IEPs. Access Living has not lobbied either in favor or against a longer school day. But we do have an obligation to inform parents of students with IEPs of the legal implications for them in relation to this current debate.

    We are also aware of the reality that the proposed longer day requires funding and we agree with both the CTU and Raise Your Hand that the money for this proposal is in question. But families of students with disabilities from a legal perspective have the right to fight for additional services even within this context because under the federal law claims of school district shortfalls can not be a legal basis for denial of services.

    Most recently this was shown to be the case in East St. Louis Illinois where the school district because of effective bankruptcy could not provide services to many children even after the district lost in litigation. The ISBE was forced to take control over all special education services and ensure that they were provided to these students in addition some East St. Louis school district officials may face criminal charges for misuse of special education funds. If ISBE did not take this action it would have faced the possibility of losing all federal funding for special education. CPS is no where near what the situation was in East St. Louis.

    In terms of actual numbers of students with disabilities who are involved in conflicts with CPS relating to services over the course of a school year there are about 1,000 such students whose families seek support, information, and services from lawyers and advocates in Chicago. Most of these issues are resolved without litigation. With four months to go in the fiscal year I have had 42 cases, I also have not taken an additional 30 cases because I did not think the issues met the legal standard needed to obtain additional supports, services, or a change in placement. Under the law not every student with a disability will be entitled to additional services, but given the fact that so many students with disabilities that do not have cognitive impairments are functioning far below state standards many students may be entitled to additional services.

    Rod Estvan

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Will the NWEA tests (MAP) help assess sped students? Is the test useful?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    One problem for students with disabilities are the limits on accomodations. If a student’s Individual Education Plan requires that the student should have all questions read to them on any type of assessment, the proctor is required invalidate the NWEA reading test results for the student.

    We are not talking here about the actual text the student is to find the answers to the question from but the questions themselves. This is a pretty normal accomodation to try to help focus a student of the testing task. This becomes a problem for LD students because of negative growth scores.

    Negative growth most commonly appears on reports for two general reasons: either students took too little time to take the test or students were not engaged during the test. The NWEA rules for the reading test prevent one of the standard special education practices to keep a student on task and I see this as a problem.

    Using Rasch Units (RIT) as a measurement for students with disabilities may be probmatic because RIT may have a floor effect. I have not seen scores go below 138 in reading which is the 1st percentile for a kg student.

    For some our sixth graders with disabilities I am afraid the Early Assessments for Reading and Math are going to have to be used. Clearly, all special education advocates and lawyers are going to have to become much more familar with the NWEA MAP. Up to now I have only had to use RIT scores in relation to two students I have had cases for.

    Rod Estvan

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