Zoinks! 3 CPS Schools Vote to Extend Their Day

September 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm 469 comments


You know, sometimes I still wish that the fake Rahm guy was still Tweeting.  He did a great job of imagining our Mayor in all kinds of funny situations that Rahm himself would probably like to engage in if he could due as he pleased.  Today I can see fake Rahm giving the double birdie with a “take that!” look on his face at Karen Lewis, head of the teacher’s union.

Why, you ask?  Because 3 Chicago schools have more or less given the f-you to the union and voted to approve a school day that is 90 minutes longer at their schools. The article reports that the schools are:

Skinner North classical
STEM magnet (parents have not been officially informed by the school yet)
Melody (neighborhood school on the West side)

So the discussion I’ve seen here and on Facebook is whether the extra 90 minutes is too much (particularly for younger kids.)  The school day would go from 5 hours 45 min to 7 hours 15 minutes? So we parents want a longer day, but not THAT long — is part of the back and forth discussion.  I think parents want to know how the time will be allocated.

There’s already been discussion about this in a previous thread so I’ll copy some of the posts here.

From WGN news:

Longer school day for some Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have made it very clear that all schools will go to longer days starting next year.

At skinner north elementary school on the city’s northwest side, 60% of the teachers voted for a longer school day.  That means classes will go from 8 to 3:30, an extra 90 minutes a day.

Teachers at stem magnet academy in Little Italy and Genevieve melody on the west side also chose to waive the current teachers union contract and make the days longer. That’s not sitting well with union leaders who say that about 40 members in three small schools should not set the tone for the district’s 30, 000 teachers.

However, they did get a 2% raise which amounts to about 15-hundred dollars per teacher and $150,000 for their school which they decide how to use.

The union doesn’t like the fact that there’s not a set plan in place for the longer day.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have made it very clear that all schools will go to longer days starting next year. They weren’t available for questions but issued a joint statement calling the teachers courageous and this day historic.  Union leaders say school officials will still have to honor their contract.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Question? Comment? Ask JC Brizard this Thursday 9/1 STEM Magnet School Year 2011/2012

469 Comments Add your own

  • 1. NoSuprise  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Coonely also is going to the longer school day. They already announced it to the parents.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Coonley is an extra 45 minutes per day, which is the “extended campus” (or whatever the fancy name is for the longer lunch and recess) plus the teachers there approved 20 min of extra teaching time (as part of the 45 min.)
    I’m not sure yet what % of the 90 minutes will be teaching time. Maybe each school decides on their own.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    From CPS Grad:

    Doesn’t anyone else think that 8:00am to 3:30pm too long a day for the youngest kids? It’s not like they are going to get PE everyday either like the suburban schools. Most public and private schools in the area (not CPS) have days more like 8:30-3:15.

    I’m all for a longer day, but I really think 90 minutes is too much. I would be much happier if they extended the day 60 minutes. Kids in CPS is going to need a lot of Vitamin D supplements, because they are never going to see any sunlight with that schedule.

  • 4. KD  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    How will the extra time be used? I heard that only 45 minutes of the 90 minutes will be used for instructional time. I “heard” that STEM had a proposal to lengthen Math Literacy by 20 minutes and several other subjects by 5 minutes each. Finally, also “heard” that the other 45 minutes will require non-certified teacher aides. Interesting that the first two schools to volunteer for longer days have never taken ISATs, so we can’t compare short day ISATs to Long Day ISATS. Congrats to Coonley!

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    From cps Grad (yay for data!!!)

    Just out of curiosity, I looked up the Sun-times top 100 schools list. I visited the websites of each of the top 20 non-CPS elementary schools in the Chicago area to get an idea of how long their school day is.

    Braeside, Highland Park 8:40-3:17 (6.5 hrs)
    Highlands, Naperville 8:15-2:30 (6.5 hrs)
    Ravinia, Highland Park 8:40-3:17 (6.5 hrs)
    Grove Avenue, Barrington 9:00-3:40 (6.6 hrs)
    Hough Street, Barrington, 9:00-3:40 (6.6 hrs)
    Walker, Hinsdale 8:40-3:05 (6.5 hrs)
    Brook Forest, Oak Brook — I couldn’t find the schedule
    Willowbrook, Glenview 8:45-3:20 (6.5 hrs)
    Bell-Graham, St. Charles: 8:40-3:00 (6.3 hrs)
    The Lane, Hinsdale 8:40-3:05 (6.3 hrs)
    Sunset Ridge, Northfield 8:35-3:25 (upper grades 8:18-3:30) (6.2 hrs)
    Longfellow, Wheaton 9:15-3:30 (6.25 hrs)
    Elm, Burr Ridge, 8:40-3:05 (6.3 hrs)
    Willard, Evanston 9:05-3:35 (6.5 hrs)
    Campanelli, Schaumburg 8:40-3:00 (6.3 hrs)
    Lincoln, River Forest –I couldn’t find the schedule
    Whittier, Wheaton 9:15-3:30 (6.25 hrs)
    Prospect, Clarendon Hills 8:40-3:05 (6.5 hrs)
    North Barrington, Barrington 9:00-3:40 (6.6 hrs)
    Pleasant Hill, Palatine 8:50-3:20 (6.5 hrs)

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    From Hawthorne Mom:

    I think CPS grad’s point was that not one of those schools have as long of a school day as is being proposed. They are about 45 minutes longer than the current day and about 45 minutes shorter than the proposed day, give or take a few minutes.

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    From CPS Grad:

    They are longer….but not 90 minutes longer. When I heard that they wanted to lengthen the school day by 90 minutes I almost fell off my chair. OVERKILL. A reasonable amount would have been to lengthen the day by 45-60 minutes. The little kids are going to be totally worn about after a 7 1/2 hour day– especially since CPS probably wont add in an appropriate amount of recess and PE time.

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    From A Parent:

    As a parent of a young kindergartener, 90 minutes is a deal breaker for me, something I would have like to have known about before deciding to send her to a cps. I was happy about full day kindergarten, something many suburbs DO NOT offer, but come on, it is over kill… I don’t need day care for my kid and am fully capable of enriching her life without the “help” of cps. My child’s school is one of many that I’ve heard of that put open campus to a vote and also one of many where the teachers/LSC agreed to a longer day. That extra time is in line with suburban schools hours mentioned previously.

    On another note, I’m saddened by the attitudes about teachers on this blog, by who I would assume are involved parents. Successful schools depend on a partnership between community, parents and teachers. Teachers don’t become teachers to get rich, they deserve alot more respect for what they do. While there are a few bad apples…they don’t represent the profession as a whole like the media and our politicians would have us believe.

  • 9. NoSuprise  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I went to school from 8:05 to 3:30 in elementary school. My children also went to a pre -k with a normal school day. Since it also had before and after care they were dropped off at 7 and picked up at 6pm. They both are academically advanced. They both are in the best CPS schools. They both left pre-k reading and doing basic math. Parents need to realize their children can handle a lot more than they think. I am for the longer day. It is the parent who has a problem with it not the child.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    CHICAGO (WBBM) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said Saturday that if teachers at other Chicago Public Schools want a longer day, their offer of pay and planning money remains on the table.

    The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), in filing a grievance over the votes at the STEM Magnet Academy, Skinner North Classical and Melody Elementary Schools, claimed that “pressure, coercion and bribery” were the only reasons teachers at the three schools voted to accept the offer.

    STEM Principal Maria McManus denied it.

    “My teachers actually were asking for a longer school day,” she said. “We have a very unique curriculum at the STEM Magnet Academy and in order to effectively execute that they felt as though they needed a longer school day.”

    Included for each of the schools are the 2 percent teacher pay raises and a $150 thousand planning grant.

    STEM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” but Emanuel said every Chicago Public School can benefit from more math and reading instruction, which is his goal.

    “That gets you in Chicago up to par with the country,” he said. “It does not exceed.”

    A spokesperson said that CTU considers it unlikely that teachers at many other public schools will vote to accept the offer, but Emanuel and Brizard said they were both optimistic that other schools would accept it.

    Skinner and Melody will begin the longer schedule Tuesday, while STEM will implement it as of Sept. 26.

    Emanuel did not give a deadline for the offer.

  • 11. Skinner North Mom  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    When I was in elementary school back in the day (not in Illinois), I had a long school day, and I did just fine. I know that in other parts of the country, elementary kids have school days this long, and I don’t hear an uproar from those communities. I think this is so shocking to so many of us because it’s such a big jump from our previously way-too-short school day.

    As a Skinner North parent, I’m intrigued and mostly pleased by this news. I’m anxious to see how they choose to spend the extra money and how they’ll use that time. That will determine how most of us feel about it in the end, I imagine. Our teachers are an amazing group of people, and while not all of them wanted this, I know they’ll do a fantastic job of making the longer school day work.

  • 12. diane  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    STEM parents received an e-mail today informing them that starting Sept. 26, the school day will be from 8:15 to 3:45. I’m totally psyched about it.

  • 13. Hip  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    As a parent of an incoming 1st grade student at Skinner North, I couldn’t be happier that our teachers voted to extend the day to 8:00 until 3:30. Personally, I really don’t get why people are so against a longer school day.

    NoSuprise is correct when they say “It is the parent who has a problem with it not the child”.

  • 14. diane  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I’m surprised that people are complaining about this. . . Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I for one am ecstatic about it.

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Yeah, I was emailing with a dad friend of mine who live in Wisconsin, asking about his daughters’ school day. It is 7 hours. His response to the CPS possible change was “Kids can adjust better than we give them credit for.”

    I am sometimes surprised that not everyone obsessed about this stuff like some of us do.

    I have to say, I didn’t really take the 90 minutes seriously. I figured it was a negotiation tactic. Ask for 90 minutes, assuming you’ll get 60 minutes.

  • 16. Grace  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Skinner North, Diane, No Surprise … if it works for you, wonderful.
    Nice of you to share your confidence in this new school day with those of us who don’t see it as wholly positive for the young child.

    We can see that a day this long — so much longer than the suburban schools — helps parents out with childcare at no additional cost. Life gets quite a bit easier for parents.

    A few pediatricians and others could be found who would say to be careful that the day is filled with activities and play time appropriate to the child’s age and not just more instructional time.

  • 17. Skinner North Mom  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Grace, I know you’re not trying to imply that the only reason we like this is because it’s free childcare, but that sure is how you come across. I can assure you that’s not an issue for me, and I’m in favor of it nonetheless.

  • 18. Myra Song  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    So am I to assume each school would have received $150,000 if all the CPS schools would have agreed in the first place? Just curious as to how this would have been funded from the beginning. Will this mean that every school that joins later will get $150,000?

  • 19. Hip  |  September 3, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Myra Song- I believe the $150,000 enticement was for schools that made the commitment now. I believe CPS knew they wouldn’t get more than a few schools to commit to the extra 90 minutes now, that’s why they could give the schools the $150,000 and the 2% raise. Remember the Mayor had committed $30,000,000 earlier in the form of 2% raises. The remaining schools will not get $150,000 because they won’t have a choice next school year.

  • 20. Myra Song  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Seems kind of odd to me that the CPS could so easily give away $450,000 to entice the schools to switch given CPS current budget deficit situation. I’m hoping that the Mayor has changed his mind on the spending of the TIF monies.

  • 21. NoSuprise  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Grace it is insulting that you would think this is about child care and making life “easier” for parents. I take your statement as we are dumping them there and happy to do so because there are now less hours spent with our children. For the record I work in a “medical profession with children” I also hold dual advanced degrees and work as a GAL for children. Which means I am an advocate for them.

    With that said kindergartener’s can benefit from the longer day because they will have more time for socialization as well as academics. Being a helicopter parent is not good for your child. Socialization and interacting with their peers is very important. Teaching children appropriate behaviors really have gone to the way side. Parents need to let go. Social skills really do need to be taught in the classroom in addition to at home. Yes, you take them to the park, to mommy and me type classes but you are standing over them. They need to interact with other children and learn from their behaviors, others behaviors and the mistakes they make. The need to be able to recognize other children’s body language and social cues. School is not just about academics. Anyone who does not agree with a longer kindergarten day then keep your child home. Kindergarten is not a requirement in the state of Illinois.

    The key to my success with my children Grace is quality time not quantity. It is listening to my children, eating breakfast and dinner with them, lunch on the weekends. It is giving them enough room to grow with a watchful eye. Its being an advocate for them when I do not agree with what they are experiencing and speaking up. I do not need free child care Grace because I can afford to pay for it.

  • 22. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    The budget as a whole is puzzling to me this year. The retained free preK, full day kindergarten, and my son’s school didn’t seem to experience the cuts I anticipated. In fact we have now added a music teacher this year. Granted, the school is growing so that might explain it and the parent group raises money to cover some stuff. But we will still have gym, art, music, library, and computer class. As we should. I just worried that with the budget, more would have been cut.

  • 23. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    I’m actually wondering if with a longer CPS day, if Kindergarten would then be cut to half day, being 3.5 hours, which isn’t as objectionable as the current 2.5. That might actually make sense.

    Although at the private school my son attended for preK, the Kindergarten kids went from 8:40 – 3:00 (6.3 hours) and it seemed fine. The got a morning recess and an after-lunch recess. And things went at a more leisurely pace.

    In my son’s K class, (where I volunteers a couple times a month) they’d have center time and it seemed to me that by the time the kids got settled, chatted for a couple minutes, started working, stared at the wall for a bit, and then got engaged in the work for like 5 minutes, guess what? Time to change centers! I don’t think any child ever finished a book in the reading corner. It made me yearn for the “natural learning cycle” of Montessori that we’d left. The fast paced flow of a short school day doesn’t feel like a natural learning cycle. If everything is just stretched out a little bit longer, I think it’s a good thing.

    Also, my son says there’s never time to talk to anyone at school. They get their short lunch and all other time is accounted for in terms of listening, writing, reading, walking quietly. I know that’s what school is all about, but if kids don’t have time to talk to one another they’re just gonna end up not listening and getting in trouble.

    Wow, that turned into a soapbox spiel…

  • 24. Grace  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    No Surprise — No insult intended, as I couldn’t have known your specific situation, though I’m glad to hear of it.

    My comments reflected something I’ve seen for years –children from the neighborhood school going to the local library for 2 or so hours after school each day. Someone who looks like their mom picks them up after work about 5:30.

    Some parents do have a hard time with child care. Kids need a day that includes down time and play time.

  • 25. cps grad  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    @9 and 11 and others-It’s not that I don’t think kids can handle it, they can and will adjust, and perhaps this new schedule is great for those who need/want daycare but more time doesn’t necessarily mean more learning if the time isn’t used correctly. There is a lot Brain research that shows how the mind needs rest and physical activity in order to learn. I haven’t heard Brizard mention once that this longer school day will mean PE every single day. Daily PE is a state requirement that CPS circumvents and that most suburban districts incorporate into their soon to be “shorter than CPS” days.

    There have been no specifics on how this extra time will be used. People out there are talking about how the extra time will allow for more enrichment activities such as art, music, foreign language, and PE. What many people don’t realize is that in order for that to happen CPS will have to hire extra teachers to teach those classes. If a school doesn’t already have a foreign language teacher you can’t just extend the day and then expect that the 5th grade teacher to teach French to the whole school in the extra 90 minutes. Music and art are state certified subjects. PE everyday would probably mean 1-2 extra PE teachers per school. Do you really see CPS adding 3 certified teachers to every school to make these things happen?

    What I see happening is schools will get some sorely needed recess time and a longer lunch. Wonderful! Each grade will get 1 extra PE class per week using the existing teacher. Good, I’ll take what I can get! The rest of the time will be more of the same: test prep, reading, writing, and math, (because that is what ISAT measures so science and social studies get put on the bottom of priority list.) Music, art, theatre, and languages won’t be expanded in most schools unless there is an active enough parent group that will pay for the extra teachers. More of the same, more of the same and that really isn’t what I want for my kids. I really hope I’m wrong.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    CPS Grad, what you’re saying reminds me of a bit from one of my favorite movies, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall:

    There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

    I see what you’re saying. In some of the “underperforming” CPS schools, if thing aren’t working, why is giving kids more of the same going to help?

    I think we can all agree – the time has to be used wisely. (Not that I’m saying we all agree what “wisely” means…..)

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    And uh…. if I knew you guys were all around on Saturday nights, I’d stay home more often. 🙂

  • 28. Chicago Gawker-  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Like @9, my kid has been doing 7:30 to 5:45 since she was 3. I remember being baffled when other moms said their kids were too tired for playdates after full day kindergarten.

  • 29. NoSuprise  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    cpsobsessed you crack me up. I truly enjoy your comments. I may be around but I am enjoying a very nice bottle of wine while my family is passed out from the heat earlier today. So pardon my typos at this point. I agree the time has to be wisely used so my suggestion is those who object go volunteer at your child’s school and be involved. Now more than every the will need volunteers everyone stop your ___ fill in the blank___ and go help out. Mostly likely you will not get in the classroom (because remember your child needs their space) but you can help in other ways that will make the school a better place.

  • 30. Grace  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    What the longer day will entail – from Second City Cop

    Anonymous said…
    The teachers work 90 minutes more doing what…. Supervising extended recesses, nap time, are the grammar schools going to add a calculus class or what?
    I know someone that works at that school and basically they’re just extending all classes, lunch, and study hall by adding a few minutes and will add a computer class that will be monitored by aides.
    9/03/2011 09:14:00 AM

  • 31. diane  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Grace — Childcare really isn’t the issue for me either, since I am home with my children. Personally, I’m not worried about my child handling an 8:15 to 3:45 schedule.

    It takes kindergardeners FOREVER to do anything. The longer school day will give them ample time to learn, socialize, play and eat lunch.

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    @Grace – that sounds great to me. Just what I suggested – draw out the classes so kids aren’t as rushed, add computers, and give homework time with helpers.

    I have to think the “monitored by aides” comment is a sound byte meant to sound negative. Like a school will set a bunch of first graders loose on new computers where people are barely keeping an eye on them.

    And “study hall?” What CPS schools have study hall?

    I sniff hyperbole. (I had to look it up to make sure I was using it correctly…)

    Hyperbole (play /haɪˈpɜrbəliː/ hy-pur-bə-lee;[1] Greek: ὑπερβολή, ‘exaggeration’) is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.

  • 33. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    @NoSurprise. Thanks – I am having wine too. Really, this is fun! I’m having a weekend of alone time which is quite enjoyable to be able to read and respond here…..

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  September 3, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    I regards to the helicopter parenting, this is a funny article on
    old timey parenting from a writer from The Daily Show. It’s very funny, especially if you were a child of the 70’s. I’ve included an except below.


    I am a child of the 1970s. What that means, in short, is that my childhood summer vacations were spent languishing in front of the TV watching Phil Donahue and eating Boo Berry until my skin turned purple. Nobody cared if I read. Nobody cared if I wore sunscreen, or pants. I was like a house cat; my parents barely even knew if I was still living with them or whether I had moved in with the old lady down the street who would put out a bowl of food for me. In the ’70s, parenting was like a combination of intense crate-training and rumspringa, so I would typically spend June through September burnt to a crisp and wandering listlessly around the city, verging on scurvy.

  • 35. cps grad  |  September 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Kids can handle a long day. Daycare, before/aftercare programs have a lot of recreation, sports and playtime, and homework time. That makes the day manageable. Working parents out there that need before/aftercare often choose an aftercare program that reflects their priorities and values. For example, my neighborhood school has at least 3 before/after care options. One option is very progressive and arts related, another is at the YMCA which gives kids the opportunity recreation and swim lessons. I have my own priorities that are different than what CPS can offer. I, for example, have a heritage language which I absolutely want my children to learn and this will require 2 hours of afternoon school twice a week.

    I also want the to:
    -play outside while the sun is still shining
    -help make dinner
    -eat with the family
    -do homework
    -have private music lessons
    -pursue their interests
    -get 10 hours of sleep

    CPS lengthening the day for more of the same just makes the day longer without benefit. Or maybe CPS will end up using that extra hour for the kids to do their homework at school.

  • 36. NoSuprise  |  September 4, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Grace (et. al) I have two words for you; PRIVATE SCHOOL if you do not like what CPS is offering you have a choice.

    Either give them a chance with these new hours or bail out. Simple as that. It is going to happen.

  • 37. NoSuprise  |  September 4, 2011 at 1:09 am

    also Grace seriously? …. second city cop? You take advice from a disgruntled police blog in which the majority are upset with the mayor. Umm okay. You would think they would be happy keeping the kids on the south side off the streets longer it would make their job easier. With longer school days many more will probably graduate or better yet live to see graduation.

  • 38. A parent  |  September 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Thanks cpsobsessed for your point of view on how a longer k day could be developmentally appropriate in terms of pacing…I hope that’s the case. Double recess would be great too. What the time will be used is obviously a concern considering there seems to be a lack of funding to provide enrichment teachers. If the board decides to change the hours mid-year… I find that annoying, it’s going to happen why not wait until next fall?

  • 39. annoyed  |  September 4, 2011 at 2:56 am

    This was nothing more then an act of defiance by these three schools to break away from the union. I am a teacher and I’m not saying I agree with everything the union does, but I do agree that if done correct their should be a longer school day.

    Rahm and the brass at CPS say they are looking out for the best interest of kids, but what message are the three schools sending here, that they will defy an agreement and go on their own. The teachers at those schools that voted for the longer day without the support of the union deserve everything they get.

  • 40. Mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 7:10 am

    The notion that elementary kids in grades 1-8 should not have a longer day to get the education they need because it might be “too long” a day for kindergartners has never made sense to me. That’s a lot of kids to throw under the bus for the sake of the five year olds. And if it’s really suck a problem to come up with a K curriculum that is developmentally appropriate AND lasts the full day, one option could be half day K or, for those who can afford it, paying for one year of private K.

  • 41. Claire  |  September 4, 2011 at 7:16 am

    If kids are in school for 7.5 hours, then I would hope there would be no homework on most days. I’m pretty sure other countries who have longer school days have no or little homework compared to the US. I assume there will be science fair projects and other research based papers to do. My kids started these types of assignments in second grade. I would hope time would be given during the day to work on these. I couldn’t see 7.5 hours in school and then round two at the kitchen table. Not at the elementary level.

  • 42. Claire  |  September 4, 2011 at 7:28 am

    By the way cpsobsessed, I was that 70’s kid. No sunscreen, straight baby oil with aluminum foil wrapped album covers under my chin to reflect even more light. Maybe some Sun-In spritzed in my hair to turn it orange. At 9 I was throwing my 4 year old niece on the back of my bike, with its daisy covered banana seat and streamer embellished angel handle bars, and riding over a mile to Gompers Park pool, no parents escorting us…no parents at the pool either. Twinkies were touted as “wholesome sponge cake” so we ate freely. Nutrition labels hadn’t been invented yet. I’m not saying bring back those days, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted.

  • 43. cpsemployee  |  September 4, 2011 at 8:15 am

    I am not necessarily against a longer school day, I just need a better picture of what that will really look like. While the 3 schools that voted to start the longer day now received bonuses to make it work (I mean the 150K for the school, not just the 2% for teachers), I don’t believe those same funds will be available for ALL the schools once it is mandated.

    My school has NO discretionary funds because we buy 2 additional teaching positions to avoid having all split classrooms. (If we didn’t do that and went by just our quota positions, which are based purely on enrollment numbers, we would have crazy set-ups like 1 class w/ 28 gr 1, next class w/ remaining 22 gr 1 and 6 gr 2, next with 28 gr 2, next w remaining 20 gr 2 and 8 gr 3, next with… well, you get the picture!)

    If we added 90 minutes to the day it would just have to be “more of the same” because there is NO MONEY for something new. We can’t add more gym because there is NO MONEY for an additional PE teacher. Same goes for Art or Music or Languages, etc. There is NO MONEY for additional recess which would require paying for supervision. The list goes on…

    This means our only option regarding adding 90 minutes is to add 10-15 minutes to each class period. Yes, that would help in the pacing but it is not really going to change things.

    I see people say things like “add a computer period monitored by an aide” or the like. We don’t HAVE a computer lab NOR do we have the funds to hire an aide if we DID have a computer lab. There is so much we just don’t have.

    For the typical CPS school, like mine, 90 more minutes is going to mean 10-15 more minutes per subject. We are in a very poor neighborhood, we don’t have actively involved volunteers, we can’t fund-raise any significant amounts, we have no additional discretionary funds… There is no way to add “extras” without those things.

  • 44. Sim Lee  |  September 4, 2011 at 9:59 am

    So, the divsion between the haves and the have-nots is CPS is set to grow once again.

  • 45. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2011 at 10:34 am

    @43, you raise good point. It’s not as easy as just saying “let’s make the day longer – even (actually especially) if the teachers aren’t covering a lot of that time. SOMEBODY has to be supervising the kids. I suppose recess and lunch are relatively easy, but either volunteers or hour employees or somebody needs to supervise/organize, etc.

    Which is kinda why the whole extra 90 minutes does start to feel excessive since budget-wise CPS isn’t prepared to pay anyone to cover that time. As #44 points out, hopefully CPS would help cover the costs are the lower income schools to make it worthwhile.

    I’m so curious to see how this pans out…..

  • 46. Grace  |  September 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    @45 Very good points. Could the parents — Diane, No Surprise and anyone else whose children will attend the two schools that start the program next week — share with us how it pans out?

    Would love to see a schedule of how the time is used grade by grade. Do the students all have use of the new computer program at the end of the school day – like an after-school program — or is it interspersed throughout the day?

    What computer programs are used? Who has developed them? How many classroom monitors?

    How much does it cost and how is it paid for, including the monitors? Private donations, like the principal bonus plan?

    Does it come out of the $150,000? Or does the school get to keep that separate for whatever it wants?

    Is it the new program part of the school’s budget, and payable by CPS?

  • 47. Skinner North Mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Do any of the schools start the new schedule next week? I’ve seen conflicting reports, but I’d originally heard that STEM and Skinner North are starting it Sept. 26, and Melody is starting in January. Our principal sent an email to all parents saying our new schedule will start Sept. 26.

    Grace, what computer program are you talking about? As far as I know, Skinner North at least hasn’t yet announced how the extra time/money will be used.

  • 48. Feeling like Ruby Bridges  |  September 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    My child will start school at STEM on Tuesday. With all the media attention, including some negative headlines and comments peppered with inflammatory words like “dissent, coercion, bribery” I’m beginning to feel unsettled. Not so much about the extension because I welcome it… but my protective instincts are kicking in and I keep thinking about the story of “Ruby Bridges” trying to enter school on the 1st day, escorted by the security. Some of you may think my example is a bit extreme, but I can’t help but wonder what we will be met with on the 1st day of school. I heard the mayor will be at STEM on opening day…. will CTU picketers be there too???This battle has become a public spectacle with our innocent kids at the center! I don’t want our kids to suffer for this. I think extending the school day will prevail in the end.

  • 49. Mr Anderson  |  September 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Can anyone please clarify this apparent conflict of facts between the Mayor and CPS from these two quotes?

    1) From posting #10 above on September 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Emanuel said regarding STEM adding 90 minutes. “That gets you in Chicago up to par with the country,” he said. “It does not exceed.”


    2) The Trib Sept 3 article on p6:

    “Chicago’s school day which ranges from 5.14 to 5.5 hours, provides 15 percent less instructional time than the national average, according to CPS officials.”

    So if the average Chicago school day is about 5.5 hours (330 minutes), and the mayor wants to add 90 minutes, wouldn’t that would make the school day 27% to 28% longer because 90 minutes is 27-28% of 330 minutes. So based on CPS quoted by the Trib yesterday saying CPS provides 15% less than the national average, won’t adding 90 minutes to a 5.5 hour long school day, actually then exceed the national average by over 12%?

    Not saying that is bad, just confused by the Mayor saying if he gets what he wants, that is ok because it is inline with the national average, and adding 90 minutes on top of 5.14 to 5.5 hours does not exceed the national average. But according to CPS that ain’t right.

    If CPS is correct, than to “not exceed” the national average as the Mayor mentioned, he would need to increase the school day by exactly 49 and a half minutes – to be 6 hours and 20 minutes long. That is 15% on top of the current 5.5 hours or 330 minutes.

    Thanks to the info in posting #5 above from “cps Grad” you can see the length of day from the top 20 non CPS schools rated by the Sun Times had an average school day of 6 hours and 25 minutes, which is within 5 minutes of the national average. Does that seem to suggest to be a top rated school, it is much more about quality of class time, vs. the need to add on 45 minutes beyond the national avg of about 6.5 hours?

    Please “talk amongst yourselves” 😉

  • 50. Mich  |  September 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I’m happy as long as it is not ALL instructional time. To me the day is too long for elementary schools where there is no recess, no time to play, 20 min to scarf lunch and back to work.
    If they can use it to add a longer lunch, allowing time to both eat and play, perhaps a 20 min recess elswhere in the day or daily PE that works for me too.
    Move the teachers lunch back to, well, lunch time. As long as it is done with thought and care then I think it is a good thing overall.
    Likewise the extra 2 weeks – great to start class the 3rd week of August. In our unconditioned school where the top floor reaches 110 in the summer, it is NOT GREAT to start in the 1st week of August (track E)!!!
    The whole point of this is to do what’s best for kids isn’t it? Then we need to be sure that is what we’re doing by the time it is in place for all schools next year.

  • 51. cpsobsessed  |  September 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    @mr a: maybe those schools have more school days during the year, so maybe total yearly time would now be the same?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 52. magnet mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    @48 What a silly thing to say. I doubt most people even care about STEM’s opening. I think you might need a little perspective adjustment.

  • 53. North Center Mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Congratulations to those CPS kids and families who will get a longer school day. My two kids go to private school where kindergarten was 6.75 hrs/day. One child needed a nap right after school, the other didn’t. An earlier bedtime helped the napper adjust. I hope that the CPS kids get recess, gym, music, or language with the extra time. My kids are much better learners with breaks for exercise.

  • 54. WorkerB  |  September 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    “I heard the mayor will be at STEM on opening day…. will CTU picketers be there too???This battle has become a public spectacle with our innocent kids at the center! I don’t want our kids to suffer for this.”

    I think the kids can handle seeing democracy in action, yes? Or at least the media machine in action.

  • 55. WorkerB  |  September 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    46. Grace – We can only hope that the Chicago media will research the answers to these questions. Hope the coverage would not be limited to what’s been promised, but would focus instead on what really happens. It’d be great if the media could verify all the “shortest day/year” statements. Right now, we’re trying to figure this out by ourselves.

  • 56. CPSmommy  |  September 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    CTU members will be at work, and I doubt many would call in sick to protest. I am sure Rahm would love even more attention, but I would be surprised if it happened.

    Today I took my girls to the playground at the CPS neighborhood school near where I live. For all of those people that have been teacher bashing, I wish you could have seen this. The parking lot was half full, half the windows were open and I could see teachers moving things around, getting set up, etc. in their classes. I was there for two hours and saw A LOT of activity.

  • 57. My head is spinning  |  September 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    My few concerns about the longer school day are:

    1. school day at Skinner seems to be lenghtening by 105 minutes. In the spring we got an email that the techers voted to extend the day by 45 minutes. On Friday we got another email that they voted to extend by another 60 minutes. So the hours changed from the last year’s 9 15am- 3pm to 8am- 3 30pm.

    2. Most of Skinner’s students do not live in the immediate neighborhood. Our incoming Kindergarten daughter will be spending around an hour each way on the bus. So she will be out of the house for about 9 and half hours.

    3. I would like to hope that the amount of homework would be significantly reduced. We do not have any experience with homework yet, but hearing from some classical/gifted school parents that it can amount to couple of hours each day. I believe the kid needs some afterschool life. Getting home around 4 30pm and going to bed say 8pm in order to get 10 hours of sleep, that leaves 3 and half hours for homework, dinner, downtime and an interaction with siblings and parents.

    4. I do not have a good feeling about this happening 3 days before the school starts. Are the teachers happy or were they pushed to decide that way? If I understand correctly, to be tenured at the CPS, one has to be at the same school for 4 years. Skinner has not been open for 4 years, so Im assuming none of the teachers are tenured there and can be fired at any time if they go against principal wishes. Also 2 percent raise does not seem to be enough to compensate for adding 6 and half more hours to the teachers day.

  • 58. SN Mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Just to clarify, the extended day for Skinner North does NOT begin until September 26th. This was stated in an e-mail that the principal sent on Friday afternoon. Also, the email stated that the teachers would be involved in the decision of how to allocate the extra time during the school day. This will be dependent on the needs of the students and hopefully the current homework policy will also be reviewed.

    I think there are a few teachers at Skinner North that are already tenured so I’m not sure if it’s tied to a specific school. I’m guessing it has more to do with the number of years taught total in CPS, not necessarily the specific school.

    Overall, I think this is a great thing. Our kids will definitely benefit from a longer school day, as most times Science and Social Studies receive the least attention. And the district seems to be moving this direction anyways, so why not take advantage of the current financial incentives? Seems like a logical choice.

  • 59. Feeling like Ruby Bridges  |  September 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    @54: WorkerB: discussed my fleeting anxiety with my spouse. His response was identical to yours. I wonder if that post was really him. Lol. I feel less anxious this evening. Thanks!

    @52: Magnet mom: do not appreciate your judgemental tone or sarcastic advice. Personally, I do care about the opening day at STEM. I posted that comment to ease some of my anxiety after hearing about this sudden change 3 days before school starts. Do you ever feel anxious? Or did I strike a nerve? Comments like yours might discourage people from posting here if they feel like they will be judged.

  • 60. macK  |  September 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    @49: Not all of the 90 minute increase will be instructional time. Some of it will be recess, extended lunch, etc.

    @57: The homework won’t be going down. If you don’t want to spend your time doing homework, projects, etc., then don’t send your child to Skinner North. That isn’t going to change.

  • 61. cps grad  |  September 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    @49 I don’t know where the mayor gets his statistics… but a 10 minute search on the internet led me to the US Department of Education website and I easily found the statistics on the average length of the school day nationally: 6.64 hours. I really can’t understand why the media just believes any ole thing a politician spews and then they don’t fact check. 6.64 hours is more in line with the suburban schools that I listed in a previous post. 7.5 is 11.5% above the national average. (most recent data I found was 2007-2008 school year.)


  • 62. cps grad  |  September 4, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    @57- Saw my cousin today who teaches in CPS. She is convinced that the 3 schools that voted to forgo the contract and do the longer day did so because a lot of non-tenured teachers were pressured by the principals. Without tenure a teacher can be fired without any due process and this can put a teacher in a very awkward position when asked to do something. Their jobs truly might be on the line.

    An example of this: I have a friend who doesn’t have tenure at a CPS high school. She came back after maternity leave and requested to pump her milk at work in the lactation room that is required by Illinois law. She was not given a space, and was quietly told by other teachers to not to push the issue because her job could be on the line if she rocked the boat too much. She had no choice but to wean.

  • 63. My head is spinning  |  September 4, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    @cpsgrad.. exactly my point. 3 of my in-laws are tenured CPS teachers and they believe that was the case at Skinner, when it came to voting.

  • 64. magnet mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    My tone isn’t sarcastic. Honestly. While we all feel deeply about our own children beginning something new it can be surprising that not as many others feel the same. Identifying yourself with a child facing the end of discrimination with a police escort during the Civil Rights movement is ridiculous. Continuing to identify yourself that way seems a bit much to me. I’m glad you aren’t feeling as anxious.

  • 65. new K mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    It was interesting to read everyone’s comments given that I’ve been needing to hear various perspectives.

    My child will be attending K in one of the schools. I question if a 7.5hr day is best for our child. Given the timing of the announcement, we’re forced to enroll in the neighborhood school or keep our child at the school. Private schools have started (1-2wks out) & financially we are not prepared to pay for one. We were accepted into 3 other schools that we turned down because this seemed like the best match.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics quotes numerous studies that show children 5-12 yrs of age need 10-12hrs of sleep nightly (even to help curb obesity?!?!). It also recommends at least one hour of physical exercise.

    Our child needs 12hrs of sleep to function at his optimal. If I break that down:

    home 4:30pm
    4:30-5:30 play/active time
    5:30-6:30 homework
    6:30-7:30 eat & prep for bed

    If my child falls asleep at 7:30 & wakes up at 7:30am, there’s no time to get ready for school. We’re already late!!!

    Also, please keep in mind that I have another child with his own needs. As a newer mom of 2, I’m realizing how interesting it will be to try to juggle this time.

    Will we stay in the school we were lucky enough to get or will we enroll him elsewhere? Either way, I feel stuck between a rock & a hard place.

    Will our child adjust? Sure. I just hope & pray we are giving our children the skills needed to lead a balanced & healthy life.

  • 66. magnet mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    New K mom has the school stated that the longer day is for K as well? We have been watching the extension of the day discussion as we don’t want our younger children in a longer program and hope that the general longer day will not happen for them this year. I think about it getting dark early in the winter and my smaller kids not getting out to play and leaving for school daily in the barely light hours.
    The new Smithsonian mag has a long story on the schools in Finland that points out the teacher commitment to play and down time as parts of their striking successes. Teachers discuss that play is key into second grade there- school doesn’t really begin in earnest until 7 yrs old. Different programs fit families differently and I think for us time for my children to play and think their own thoughts are key to their creative thinking. Hopefully my kids will be sitting out the longer day this year.

  • 67. Feeling like Ruby Bridges  |  September 4, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    @64 magnet mom: to clarify my original post, it was only meant to express my anxiety in not knowing what to expect on the 1st day at brand new school (with no proven track record, I might add) that has now been thrust in a controversial public debate over extending the school day…Not to identify with a child facing the end of discrimination. The battle between Rahm/CPS, and the CTU is what I would describe as ridiculous. I do feel much less anxious about this change now. I have decided to adjust accordingly but will share my fleeting anxiety producing thoughts with family and close friends for now and not on a public blog. Lesson learned.

  • 68. Stem mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I am so surprised that no one seems the slightest bit upset that no parents were consulted before enacting such a drastic increase in school hours. 8 or 815 is way too early! These magnet schools pull kids from all over chicago. Little kids can spend 10hours a day traveling to/from and in school. This is highly unreasonable! Piling on homework and spending every waking hour devoted to school itself doesn’t raise test scores! CPS mismanages it’s money, refuses to fire bad teachers , etc.
    I have little faith that these 90 minutes will actually br out to good use!

  • 69. Stem mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    To follow up with magnate mom: Germany also does not have extensive preschool. Little kids are thought to be ready for serious learning at age 6. They are also top scorers on international testing. Play and recess are highly important especially for boys in grade school.

  • 70. maria a.  |  September 5, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Stem mom, I’m upset too. There was no notice given to the parents. I pulled my daughter from a RGC because she seemed burnt out and depressed during the school year. She got into 3 magnet schools this summer. I chose STEM because I thought it would be fun and engaging, actually address her gifts, and was near enough to allow plenty of play time. I also took the schedule into consideration, as I have a child in another school. It feels like bait and switch to me, and I have to admit that I’m feeling a lot of regret at this point.
    I think doing this with three weeks’ notice is ridiculous, and highly disrespectful of the parents and children.
    I’m also upset that I’ll have to pull my daughter from Girl Scouts and swimming due to the new hours. I had promised that she could keep in touch with her old friends that way

  • 71. cpsobsessed  |  September 5, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I think with all the city vs, union issues going on, it’s not out of the question that union members could show up to protest at the 3 schools. But I also think that tell a kid “our school has chosen to have longer school hours and those people are against it” is a fair answer (and one that points out the absurdity of the situation, in my opinion.) Although my son would probably be there protesting with them. I’m curious if he’ll even notice the extra 45 minutes this year. He will DEFINITELY notice the extra recess time.

  • 72. cpsobsessed  |  September 5, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Wow, so both the Unions and Rahm are hitting the church circuit to gain sympathy for their side:


    I continue to be bugged about this argument based on “evidence based research.”

    “There’s just no evidence-based research that shows the additional 90 minutes is a good idea,” Boyle (a teacher) said.

    Guess what? most decisions in life aren’t based on evidence-based research. There isn’t evidence-based research to show that unions are needed in 2011, that shorter school days are better, that charter schools are better or worse, that tenure is a good idea, etc, etc.

    The evidence-based research will never be conclusive because it’s too hard to measure. How do you prove something is a GOOD IDEA anyhow? I don’t care if the test scores go up. I care that the day is better for the kids. How about I do a survey asking kids if they’re happier having a longer recess? Would that count as evidence of a GOOD IDEA? It would to me. Case closed!

  • 73. My head is spinning  |  September 5, 2011 at 8:08 am

    @ stem mom…. I’m very upset that we as parents were not consulted or even informed that such an option was going to be even considered. As i said it seems not right towards us as parents to decide 3 days before the school starts. A little too late to be pulling a kid out and enroling her in the neighborhood school. She has been looking forward to attending Skinner for months now.
    As I said Skinner seems to be lenghtening by 105 minutes. Any opinion on that?

  • 74. Stop whining and just give up your spot  |  September 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

    To all of you whining about the longer day, I can’t wait for my daughter to take one of your spots. She’ll gladly wake up a little earlier for a better shot at life.

  • 75. macK  |  September 5, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Stem mom @ #68: There are parents who are upset. We received phone calls from fellow parents who are not happy with the situation for one reason or another.

    I am upset that parents were not informed–more because I think it is part of the process than because I don’t like the extended day. When our school faculty voted last spring to extend the day by 45 minutes, there were parent info meetings that we were told were mandatory. However, very few parents bothered to attend those meetings.

    I am certain our principal has heard from our families and will continue to hear from them in the upcoming weeks.

  • 76. cps grad  |  September 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

    So many people out there who are not in education seem to think that a teacher is only working when that teacher has “face time” in front of the classroom. This is like telling someone in the private sector that only time they are working when they are presenting to a client. Some of the most time consuming and important work a teacher does happens outside of the classroom.

    Lengthening the school day so dramatically without giving teachers adequate prep time may actually backfire on student learning. With a 7.5 hour day, teachers will need at least 2 prep periods a day, and I doubt CPS will be giving them this. Creating innovative and differentiated lessons takes time. Sure a teacher could just photo copy the “suggested lesson plan” from the book and put no thought into the lesson, but that teacher probably wouldn’t be winning any “Golden Apples” any time soon. Many teachers spend hours searching the internet, experimenting and thinking about how to excite their students and engage them in a lesson. When they come up with a new idea, they do a trial run at home to see if it will work or they try out the ideas on their families. Often they have to go out and buy the materials for their lessons since schools often don’t have the necessary manipulative and supplies. If a teacher has a student who is struggling with a concept, they look for alternative ways to present the material. Granted, there will always be the teacher that will continue to do these things no matter how long they are in the classroom, but lengthening the day WITHOUT giving the adequate prep time will lead to more burnout.

    Assessment planning and grading is also very time consuming. Yes a teacher could just “photo-copy last year’s test,” but I wouldn’t recommend doing this for too many years. A good test takes thought and can take an hour to write, edit, and rewrite. Things change from year to year and what was appropriate 2 years ago, might not be appropriate this year. As to grading, would you rather get a naked A ,B, C, D, or F at the top of a page or detailed comments and feedback to help with growth. Sure a teacher could just grade the answers on the math test this doesn’t let the kids know where they made their mistakes. Good grading is filled with commentary and guidance for a better result next time. Would you like the teacher to spend 30 seconds looking at your child’s test and then assigning a grade or more like 2-3 minutes? When you add that up over a class of 30, you can see how grading takes much more time than most people think.

  • 77. Mayfair Dad  |  September 5, 2011 at 9:30 am

    An extended school day is a WIN. Parents should relax, Buffy & Jody will adjust to the torture of art, music, a longer lunch period and recess. Much ado about nothing (except CTU negotiating).

  • 78. mom2  |  September 5, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Hawthorne Mom, or anyone else that might know, why do you think a school like Hawthorne or others with the same highly regarded reputation, haven’t moved to the open campus day and also haven’t been the leaders in this shift to a longer day? The used to be the trend setters for so much and now they are not. Do you think it is because they think it already works just the way things are or is there more to it?

  • 79. magnet mom  |  September 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I guess I would be very surprised if teachers were to go to any school to protest as it would deeply hurt an already embattled image and be terrible for the kids –whom most teachers care about very much. I would imagine them showing up at city hall more easily. Most teachers will be at work Tuesday. Any back and forth would just be using the kids- including a victory lap at STEM from the Mayor. Tacky in any case. He’s got his own pulpit at city hall and doesn’t need to take it to as school full of children ostensibly there to begin the school year peacefully.
    I’m interested in the comments that point out that the teachers at the three schools that extended don’t have have tenure.
    If I had an inkling that something chaotic might happen at school I would keep my students home until it died down.

  • 80. Grace  |  September 5, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Are art and music already included in the curriculum at these 3 schools?

    B/c the only description I’ve found on the longer day is that the schools’ regular classes will be extended by 5 mins. or so, lunch and recess will be a reasonable amount of time, and they will add a daily computer class of about 40 mins. guided by classroom monitors, not teachers.

    Would be great to actually know the details.

  • 81. Grace  |  September 5, 2011 at 10:16 am

    71 —
    Evidence-based research may sound like a lot of hot air, but I had this explained to me once by CPS’ head of the Office of Principal Preparedness and Selection.

    She said that when she first started teaching, there was no research on how children learned best. Over the preceding twenty years or so, as research on the brain and its functioning exploded, many universities developed research programs to study children’s learning and development. And that research underscores much of the pedagogy today — student-centered instead of instructor lead learning, developmentally appropriate curricula and differentiation.

    So, for degreed teachers who have had those courses, that expression is a commonly understood shorthand for them to say that the corporate-style ed reformers are promoting practices that have no basis in research. It’s an experiment. It’s fine to experiment and to learn from that.

    Many teachers say that they just see the wheel go round again on a topic that has already been put to rest with university-level research.

  • 82. Reesa On  |  September 5, 2011 at 10:30 am

    @76 What makes you think that the 90 minute day comes with art, music, additional p.e. or recess? Unless a school already has funding for these teaching positions (or aides for recess), we can’t assume they’ll be part of the extended 90 minute day. Although the three pilot schools are recieving some additional funding, there is no guarantee that it will be available to all schools or even able to these schools beyond this year. Nor is there any guarantee any incentive funds will be used to fund teaching or aide positions so that music, art, gym or recess can be offered where they are currently are not. I’m not comfortable with the 90 minute extension being sold to parents as incorporation of music, art, additional gym, longer lunch, recess, etc. when there is no plan of support or funding for any of those things. I’d rather Buffy and Jody come home and play with thier friends. Or go to soccer practice. Or curl up with a good book. . . .

  • 83. Another Skinner North parent  |  September 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

    @Grace (#79) – where are you finding this description about this aid monitored computer class? You have mentioned it in several posts, but as a Skinner North parent, I have no idea what you are talking about. Which of the 3 schools are you referring to? And is your only source for this an anonymous post on the Second City Cop blog? I would hardly consider that as the gospel truth.

  • 84. Grace  |  September 5, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I don’t have a secret source, but I do hope you will have better information soon from the SN principal to share with us.

  • 85. Working mom  |  September 5, 2011 at 11:00 am

    @Grace: a few weeks ago, the STEM principal casually asked us (parents) how we would feel about extending the school day starting this school year. She proposed that roughly 20 minutes would be added to literacy and 20 minutes to math, totalling 1.5 hours for each subject daily. Possibly another 15 min would be added to lunch recess/lunch with the remaining time added in 5 min increments to the other classes. Of course, this was an informal discussion, but I know for sure that math and literacy will receive more time, as her teachers have expressed to her that the original block of 1hr and 10 minutes is not enough time to accomplish what is needed, especially in the literacy block. And yes, art and gym (2x/wk) and music (1x/wk) were included in “old” schedule which we received a few wks ago.

    BUT, her email to parents on Saturday 9/2/11 stated that a new schedule will be forthcoming with the changes that have already been made. So…we’ll have to wait and see.

    A friend emailed me this excerpt from a September 2011 article titled “Allowing” from The Nsoroma Home for Healing & Higher Community:

    “This is a tremendous and unpredictable time of change, opportunity and resetting patterns and we have no idea how it’s all going to manifest or show up. So what is called for right now is to be generously allowing of whatever is occurring to occur without resistance, fear, judgment, over processing, over identifying, over thinking or denial. “Allowing,” means opening yourself up to the unknown, stretching your flexibility muscle and being neutral about whatever is happening. Allowing is not about surrender or giving up, nor is it passive. It is an active choice to let things be the way they are.”

  • 86. Working mom  |  September 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Oops: ^^^Saturday 9/3/11, not 9/2.

  • 87. hawthorne mom  |  September 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

    #77, unfortunately, I cannot comment. I have been out of the classroom for several years and am now returning to CPS. We had quite a lengthy ethics policy meeting and it appears to me that electronic comments between employees and parents anywhere in the system could possibly be grounds for dismissal, depending on what CPS thinks of the comments. (the only communication allowed will be through CPS email and I am pretty sure I have to de-friend all my friends on facebook who are CPS parents too) Since I highly value my job and don’t want to be dismissed for something I might say in passing, I will not be commenting further on anything anywhere on the internet. I will keep reading though! Best of luck to all.

  • 88. mom2  |  September 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Wow, sorry to hear that you will not be able to participate in conversations anymore. We appreciated hearing all your thoughts. Maybe you can come back anonymously.

  • 89. Skinner North Mom  |  September 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Skinner North parents got an email from the principal today (looks like he’s laboring on Labor Day) saying that teachers are still deciding how to use the extra time, and that there will be a meeting later this weeks where parents can share their input. I’m very glad to see that they want parent input, although I’m not surprised. Skinner North has been very good about involving parents in these kinds of decisions in the past. I get the feeling that this particular change went down too quickly for them to gather parent opinions in advance.

    So no more “reports” on how that time will be split up! For Skinner North, at least, and possibly the other schools, that has yet to be determined. I think this computer lab business is a figment of someone’s imagination.

  • 90. macK  |  September 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    When they first started talking seriously about an extended day a long time ago, they floated the idea of putting the kids in front of computers with aides because they couldn’t afford to pay the teachers extra.

    Now with Rahm and the new leadership, they just want the teachers to work the extra time without necessarily getting paid extra. I think the idea of putting kids in front of a computer is out–they want the teachers to provide “instruction” for the extended period. And it isn’t necessarily 90 extra minutes of instruction. About half of that time will be allotted for recess, lunch, breakfast, etc.

  • 91. junior  |  September 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    #80 Grace

    Since you’re demanding evidence, here is some evidence of the benefits of recess, per the CPS publication “Developing a School Recess Plan”. (Note: a majority of elementary schools are on the closed campus shortened day schedule and do not have recess).

    “The benefits of recess for children have been widely reported. Recess improves students’ physical, mental and emotional health and enhances their learning opportunities.


    In the Journal of Pediatrics, the 2009 study “School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior” found that daily recess of at least 15 minutes improved students’ classroom behavior. The study included 11,000 third grade children (8-9 year-olds) and teachers. Additionally, a 2009 paper “Crisis in the Kindergarten,” published by the Alliance for Childhood, cites nine major studies which identify play as a crucial factor in young children’s social-emotional development.

    According to a 2007 report by the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP), the introduction of scheduled recess into the school day of fourth and fifth grade students can have a positive rippled effect in behavior and attention throughout the school day.


    Now, since you have demanded evidence from people who oppose your viewpoints, where is your evidence that supports the educational benefits of having closed-campus with no recess and shortened lunch times so that teachers can leave 45 minutes early?

  • 92. cps Mom  |  September 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    @39 – these schools are not on their own, they have the support of the parents.

    To all concerned about young kids spending too much time on homework and academics. If you wish to succeed at the top CPS elementary /HS’s – get used to it. Our evenings have been consumed with homework and projects. This is all part of the deal that we willingly embrace. Evenings in 4th and 5th grade could occasionally go to as long as 11:00 writing up book reports, homework for 5 different subjects landing on the same night and those projects that run concurrently with the regular assignments.

    Our school had recess and art or music alternating. Where I would like to see more quality time in the arts, more academic time would help greatly too. Adding even 10 to 15 minutes to each subject would seem very beneficial. Class time consumed with reviewing the homework will now provide more time to progress forward. Homework time would probably be lessened when parents do not need to step in trying to look things up on line and relearn the material that a child is confused about. As far as I’m concerned, teaching is better handled by the teacher. Of course it would have been helpful if my child ever consider bringing a book home.

    A day ending at 3:30 vs. 2:45 does nothing to change any afterschool and daycare needs that parents have Grace. OK the earlier time does coincide better with most work schedules so they do gain something there. Heaven forbid.

    I have to think that more time is well needed and I agree strongly #9 and 11 and all the others that feel that the kids can certainly handle it.

    I am so happy for the 3 schools that will benefit and glad that those teachers and schools got a bonus. Thank you teachers!

    CPS Grad – curious about the suburban school times. Does this reflect elementary (K-5) or middle schools or both. The suburbs rarely go K-8 like we do in the city. An 8th grader does have very different needs than a Kindergartner. I would also argue that a 4th grader does too – ready for much more rigor there as well.

  • 93. cps grad  |  September 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    @91- the times I quoted were for k-5.
    I took the time to look up the top 20 non CPS middle schools (according to the suntimes)

    Bannockburn, Bannaockburn 8:40-3:15
    Maple, Northbrook 8:30-3:30
    Daniel Wright, Lincolnshire 7:50-2:35
    Kennedy, Lisle 8:00-2:50
    Marie Murphy, Wilmette, 7:55-3:20
    Washburne, Winnetka Mon:8:30-2:30, T-F 8:30-3:30
    McClure, Western Springs 8:10-3:20
    Wilmette, Wilmette 8:00-2:46
    Clarendon Hills, Clarendon Hills 7:55-2:45
    Hinsdale, Hinsdale 7:55-2:45
    Butler, Oak Brook I couldn’t find the schedule
    Woodlawn, Long Grove 7:45-2:30
    Margaret Mead, Elk Grove Village MTTHF 7:35-2:15, W 7:35-1:45
    Aptakisic, Buffalo Grove 7:40-2:50
    Deer Path West, Lake Forest 8:35-3:35
    Twin Groves, Buffalo Grove 7:45-2:30
    Central, Glencoe 8:20-3:25
    Roosevelt, River Forest 8:30-3:20
    Sears, Kenilworth I couldn’t find… this is also k-8 school
    Plum Grove, Rolling Meadows 7:55-2:25
    Sunset Ridge, Northfield 8:18-3:30

    Interesting note: Several CPS Neighborhood schools (non SE made the top 50)

    Hawthorne (magnet) #5 overall, better than all suburan 8:45-2:30
    A. Jackson (magnet) #7 overall better than all suburban 8:45-3:15
    Oriole Park (neighborhood) #18, ahead of Clarendon Hills 8:30-2:15
    Chopin (neighborhood) #33 overall, ahead of Sears 9:00-2:45
    Norwood Park #35 (magnet Cluster/neighborhd), ahead of Plum Grove 8:50-3:15
    Edgebrook #37 (neighboorhood), ahead of Sunset Ridge 9:00-2:45

  • 94. New Skinner North Mom  |  September 5, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    As a new Skinner North mom with a kindergartener just entering the school, my head is also spinning, as this decision was emailed to us a few days before school starts. I, like another mom mentioned earlier, turned down 3 other good magnet schools to have my child attend Skinner North. The school faculty should have first sought some input from parents or at least given us an idea that this might be happening so soon.

    I have been in favor of lengthening the school day by 45-60 minutes, more in line with suburban and national averages, but feel that 105 min. may be too drastic, especially for the younger kids. The time involved in getting to and from school must also be considered, as well as the amount of homework that is required. Will the children have time for anything outside of academics?

    My husband and I feel that academics are extremely important, but raising a well rounded child is as important. Time to socially interact and be involved in sports, arts or other such activities can also be very important for a child’s later success in life. Due to the new 3:30 p.m. end time, my child will not be able to participate in an extracurricular sport he has loved and that he has been told by coaches may be a sport he can excel in because he will now be getting out of school later than the start time for this activity.

    I am also glad that Skinner North will be having a parent meeting to get parent feedback regarding how the extra time will be used and I hope that programs incorporating physical activity (i.e. gym, dance, etc.), arts, time for completing homework or a decrease in the amount of homework, as well as recess will be considered in addition to increasing instructional time of the core subjects.

    In the end, I feel it will depend on how all of this is implemented and for that we must just wait and see. Skinner North did have their first year of ISAT testing last year while the school day was shorter and did outstanding even with the shorter school day. Therefore, it is imperative for the school faculty and parents to be clear what our aim is for the children as we work on the schedule for the upcoming year and to not overload these kids who were already doing well.

  • 95. LR  |  September 6, 2011 at 1:04 am

    That is an interesting list, CPS Grad. FYI – my nephew goes to Roosevelt in River Forest and they just went to a longer day this past year.

    I have mixed feelings about a longer day. I can say that our CPS elementary school is 8:15-2:40 and that seems just the right length. I wouldn’t want the day to be much longer. In that 6 hours and 25 minutes, the students get recess, music, art, gym, civics, computer, library, Chinese, and Sign Language, plus all the core subjects. It works fine and seems like a nice balance between time spent at school and time at home.

    My son’s parochial school day is 8:00-2:50, everyday except for Wednesday, when the students are dismissed at 2:00 and the teachers participate in professional development. The 2:00 dismissal is a bit of a pain. But, I bring it up because I actually do think it is valuable to have time allocated where teachers are the ones doing the learning – and doing so on a regular basis.

    As far as how my almost six year old is adjusting to an almost 7 hour school day…well, let’s just say Wednesday is his favorite day. The first comment he had after his first full day of school was, “Why is school so long?” And he did go to full day pre-k, it’s just that time was allocated differently. They napped in the afternoon, so it seemed shorter. Anyway, I think what is done with extra time should be largely determined by the age of the kids. Developmentally, Kindergarteners need more play time than 8th graders. 8th graders might benefit from more time spent on core subjects. But, I really do think that a 6.5 hour day is MORE than enough total time at school.

  • 96. cps Mom  |  September 6, 2011 at 8:39 am

    @93 – thank you so much for looking up that info. Looks like they generally start earlier end earlier.

    I believe most suburban schools start in August.

  • 97. Grace  |  September 6, 2011 at 9:25 am


    On the use of technology in the classroom.

  • 98. mary  |  September 6, 2011 at 9:29 am

    my son’s suburban school started August 22. I felt that was painfully early, but he was fine with it. His school day is 8:50 – 3:30 pm 4 days; Wed. is early dismissal at 2:40 pm. He goes to Before Care and Aftercare, so it is a long day even before sports/homework gets added in.

  • 99. Grace  |  September 6, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I didn’t make my point clearly regarding my comment on evidence-based practices.

    I tried to say why educators use that term as a shorthand.

    I certainly do believe that a longer school day with a full lunch or recess is developmentally appropriate and a good idea. And I have posted this before. ‘Nuff said.

  • 100. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Let’s be honest – none of you are Tiger moms or dads, and if the kids got out of school early, they’d probably spend it watching tv.

  • 101. new K mom  |  September 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Clearly, there are children who watch tv, play video games & the computer but let’s remember the other families. There are parents who keep their kids involved in other ways–not just media. They use the park district or other organizations that run various activities during the week–music, sports, foreign language… We have chosen not to have a tv in our house. Other parents choose other environments for their children. An extended day limits the opportunity for parents to use their time to teach the values they want.

  • 102. Julie  |  September 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I’m late to this thread, but reading the paper today, I’m astonished at two things.

    First, the $150,000 payoff to the schools to agree to the longer day amounts to something like $73 *million* in funds they are offering if every school took them up on it. That figure doesn’t include the $1,250 payment to the teachers either. Where are they finding that money? They could pay for tons of extra teachers to reduce class size or a million other things-art, music, gym etc etc.

    Second, they are saying 15 minutes of recess will be included, which is totally a joke, especially with gym once a week. There is absolutely not a word about how they will use all this extra magic time, and whether there’s any actual evidence a longer day will help. What will happen during that extra time? More test prep? Time in front of a computer screen? Isn’t that a huge question? My husband is a teacher, and I know how long it takes to prepare each class – I can’t imagine how much extra preparation you’d need to do for that much time in front of kids. So where do teachers get that time to prepare and grade extra work? And if they don’t get time to prepare, doesn’t that make the extra time in class way less useful?

  • 103. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    If they extend the school day, then the after-school programs will start later as well. If you need more time to teach your kids “the values” you want, there is always home schooling or private schools.

  • 104. cpsobsessed  |  September 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Ah yes. Home schooling and private school. Two simple solutions!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 105. cps Mom  |  September 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    @101 – The schools say they have a plan. The lucky parents will find out how that pans out. No need to worry about spending 73 million since other schools are not accepting the offer. Offer still on the table so your husbands school still has time.

    What is all this talk about spending 90 minutes in front of a computer? Does anyone go to a school that has the facilities to fit all the students in front of a computer at one time.

  • 106. Grace  |  September 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Posters have said parents want a voice in how the time will be spent, and they are voicing concerns about how it should not be spent.

    What is the “plan.” If they have one, release it.

    The computer class could be staggered, like any another class. This is not replicating an after-school program. It is replacing it with a longer school day.

  • 107. cps Mom  |  September 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    So the computer labs that are already used to teach technology, project work, presentations, language labs, on-line support for various classes etc are now going to be home to revolving 90 minute sit in front of the computer educational “enhancement”.

    Does anyone else buy into this latest conspiracy theory?

    A preliminary plan for STEM is discussed above stating that they plan to add instruction time and extend free time.

  • 108. Grace  |  September 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Many reformers — like Sec’y Duncan and Tom Vander Ark formerly of the Gates Foundation — feel strongly that computerized learning will do more to improve student outcomes than anything else, including smaller class sizes.


    Tom Vander Ark is CEO of Open Education Solutions, a partner in
    Learn Capital, and an avid proponent of computerized delivery of instruction which he terms “Blended Learning.”.

    Blended Learning extends the day and year. I’ve included a few paragraphs from a Huff Po story he wrote.

    “Blended learning is a shift to an online environment, for at least a portion of the student day, made to improve learning and operating productivity. In two important ways, this definition is different than layering computers on top of how we’ve always done things.
    First, this definition of blended learning means that technology is core to instructional delivery and it incorporates some student choice over time, location, and/or rate.
    Second, it requires differentiated (different levels) and distributed (different locations) staffing. …

    4. Extend the day. Rocketship features an eight-hour student day — something they could only do by incorporating a two-hour learning lab. Another option is an after-school blended learning partnership with a community-based organization.

    5. Extend the year. Blended learning can help extend the school calendar. If a school operates with two fewer teachers and spreads pay over the other 18 teachers, they may be able to shift to a 195-day school year. They can also extend the school calendar and add more breaks that become periods for extra academic time and/or enrichment — some of which can be provided by community-based organizations.

    It could be exactly what many parents are looking for.

    What conspiracy are you taking about?

  • 109. elizabeth  |  September 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I would love a longer school day. It is deplorable how little time CPS students spend in school. The school bus system must also be reworked to first of all get kids to school on time and re-scheduled so they do not spend 2 1/2 hrs of each day waiting for buses and riding on the bus.

    Today I waited for 1 hr with my daughter for her school bus and it never showed up. I had to walk back home and get a car a drive her to school. I got her there just at the start time. Only 2 school buses had arrived at her school (AN Pritzker) by start time. One was empty. They had no idea where my daughter’s bus was nor where all of the other buses were. Illinois Central Bus Company’s telephone line was busy when I called for about 1/2 hr trying to get more info on status of bus. There were many parents at the school when I arrived complaining that no bus had shown up to pick up their children either. I confirmed with the school and bus company that we were at the correct location and at the correct time (we got there 15 minutes early as suggested by the bus company)

    What a way to start off the first day of school.

    Anyone else have similar problems?

  • 110. Junior  |  September 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I think the issue of computers extending the CPS day is pretty speculative and something of a red herring.

    That said, the idea of computerized education is not as ridiculous or evil as it may first sound. The online version of this article doesn’t seem to be as thorough as what appeared in print, but it has some interesting perspectives:


    One of the interesting aspects of computerized education is that you can make best-of-breed teachers available to all students, and you can put students in the driver’s seat in terms of appropriate pacing. Often in-class teacher lectures are paced to the middle of the class, and inevitably the best and worst students become bored (often then acting out and disrupting everyone’s learning). Do you remember sitting through long lectures thinking ‘god, I know this stuff, please move on’? On computers, that’s as easy as button click. Likewise, kids who are not getting the presented concepts are often afraid to interrupt with questions, fearing that they will appear dumb in front of their peers. On computers, they can rewind and repeat what they need, master concepts at their own pace, and seek help when stuck.

    I’m not saying computers should replace teachers. But they may be a very potent adjunct, and one shouldn’t dismiss the ideas out of hand without looking at the issue more deeply.

  • 111. Shiz  |  September 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    My son goes to a charter school, hours 8-3.30. I’m very happy with it academically. He gets daily recess during regular scheduling and since he goes to after school he also gets second recess after which he does his homework. I pick him up at 5. I think this schedule has worked out well for us- since he pushes himself to do his homework before he gets home, we usually just get to review it. He loves second recess where he gets to play more freely with friends after school- legos, playground etc depending on weather. we also have other extracurricular clubs during this time- violin etc. I work full-time so I have some peace of mind. When I pick him up, homework is done we can even get time to be in a soccer team twice a week!
    As a note: we have art, music and Spanish built into the school day all year.

  • 112. Anonymous  |  September 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    As the mom of a parent in an overcrowded neighborhood school, my question is that the money is going to 2/3 magnet SE schools! They already have mandated smaller classrooms with no chance of the numerous surprise extra students we just got this year. They already have extra funding for programs. And they already have a “select” student body. I’m happy for the neighborhood school. But did Skinner and the new STEM really need more money and more perks?

    The inequality in this system is astounding.

  • 113. Another Skinner parent  |  September 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    @111…The offer was made by CPS to all schools. Are you blaming Skinner North and STEM for voting to accept something that was offered to all schools? Or are you suggeting that they should have voted for a longer day but said “No, no…we don’t want a 2% raise or additional $$$ for programming”?

  • 114. magnet mom  |  September 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    yikes- Where were all the buses with the kids on them?

  • 115. new K mom  |  September 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Gunnery Sgt Hartman–Trust me. My husband & I are entertaining other schooling options given our hesitation for the extended day. Unfortunately, we were informed so late. I can’t homeschool. Financially we’re unprepared to send him to a private school, which has started 2wks ago. We’re just trying to figure all this out…

  • 116. Teller  |  September 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    No. The parent is blaming CPS for the blatent inequality. $150,000 divided by 200 students is grossly unqual to $150,000 divided by 800 or 1000 or 1400 students, as in some neighborhood schools.

    This inequality is indefensible. Also, parents in each school should be allowed a second confirming or disapproving vote. Don’t pull this crap in September.

  • 117. CPS Grad  |  September 6, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I just heard Rahm on WBEZ talking about the exetend school day. He said, and I …the extended day means kids will “…get 40 extra minutes of reading and 40 extra minutes of math… ”

    So there you have it: more of the same, more of the same, more of the same. Everyone expecting that the school day will be used in a developmentally appropriate manner with more recess, longer lunch, PE, music and art– forget about it. But else should we expect when the person calling the shots knows nothing about education. It isn’t like he is going to listen to that the teachers have to say about education. What do they know? They are the problem.

  • 118. My head is spinning  |  September 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    @cps grad… Wow! Rahm must have misinformed the principal at Skinner, because he told us that the extended time will also be used for social, recess, enrichment and more. In his own words.

    @ teller….Yes parents vote should have been mandatory. It is a drastic change too close to the beginning of the school that affects many families.

    Somehow it is hard to believe that the option was extended to all cps schools, hundreds of them, but only 3 accepted? Neither of my 3 in-laws schools voted on such an option. And yes, our neighborhood school could really use the money. Many schools in poor neighborhoods could use the money and keep the kids of the streets for a little longer each day.

  • 119. onemoreyear  |  September 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I asked my principal today if our school had been given the offer extended to the 3 schools that took the money for the longer day. She said “no”, and I have no reason to think she is not telling the truth. My school is very pro-union, so there would not have been a pass for the waiver. I’m left wondering if all schools were not asked to waive the contract, how were the schools that were asked selected, and how many schools in all received the offer? Something seems not quite right here. Does anyone have any information about this?

  • 120. Teller  |  September 6, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Yes spinning. Because unlike untenured teachers, parents can demand to see THE PLAN for their school before they vote. Which, of course, means there would have to be a plan, first. Imagine that.

  • 121. new K mom  |  September 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    One more year…

    An article from ABC

    “In a grievance, the union has accused CPS of coercion, saying teachers were forced to vote on the issue. But CPS officials say it was the three schools – STEM, Skinner, and Melody – that approached them about longer days, not the other way around.”

    check out the article & video clip at:

  • 122. Teller  |  September 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    118. Who really knows but this is in today’s Tribune http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-cps-offers-teachers-and-schools–incentives-to-move-to-longer-day-20110906,0,4187673.story. The “offer” has. it says. been “expanded” to all schools. It can only be expanded, today, if such an offer was not made to all schools earlier.

  • 123. CPS grad  |  September 6, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    @117- I hope the principal at Skinner is right, for the sake of the kids. Many principals and teachers probably agree that what Rahm said is overkill, but I also fear that principals under the new merit pay system for administrators will be compelled to raise scores by any means necessary. I’m sure kids at Skinner will be fine since it is SE and most of the kids there won’t need remediation, but I wonder about the neighborhood schools. Adding 40 extra minutes of math and reading can backfire when it comes to kid’s readiness, willingness and excitement for learning, especially for the brightest kids. Can you imagine being the kid who got the concept on the first try and then had to sit through an extra 40 minutes of the teacher enthusiastically saying “Let’s do it again another way!” Many of those kids are bored to tears anyway. At least if there is a sufficient amount of break time, arts, music, sports and social time those kids remain engaged in school.

  • 124. Another POV  |  September 6, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Rodestvan said 8 hours, 57 minutes ago

    The problem with the entire way the longer school day is being discussed in the context of CPS is that it is equated with more time on task. The research on achievement and on task behaviors in school I think is pretty well established, but impact of the longer day itself is fairly difficult to determine. I do not think a longer school day will hurt most children and even students with disabilities like ADHD could benefit if the longer time was used to expel pent up energy with frequent breaks.

    The CTU is correct when it attempts to move the discussion to a better school day rather than just a longer school day. But we are in the middle of a PR war that involves money, contracts, and power that leaves little room for a more complex discussion. Then there is the question of child care for primary and middle school students, parents of many children in Chicago pay for after school care because they are working. A 90 minute increase in the school day will save these parents money and how would any parent oppose that idea. Unfortunately for some teachers who have younger children the converse is true the longer school day could cost them more in after school costs and take a good chunk out of the $1,200 CPS is currently offering them.

    When my own children were young our afterschool costs exceeded all of those allowed under the Child and Dependent Care Credit on our federal income tax. So it is hardly surprising that most parents want a longer school day. For older students getting them off the streets for more time is clearly popular amongst the citizens of Chicago.

    Recall that it was Benjamin Franklin who said: time is money. So this entire discussion goes beyond any pedagogical benefit of the longer school day. It is also part of Mayor Emanuel’s attempt to reduce the costs of running the city through curbing the power of organized labor. Part of former Mayor Daley’s power base was being able to mobilize relatively well paid unionized city workers to support candidates endorsed by the Democratic Central Committee which he controlled. Mayor Emanuel has little need for the armies of well paid pavement pounders used to elicit votes in the city, he is a new media age politician.

    Rod Estvan

  • 125. junior  |  September 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again — CTU wants a better day for whom?

    Not for the students, that’s for sure. Teachers have rejected open campus around the city for years.

    Enough of the CTU BS.

    Estvan has nothing relevant on the topic. Just another CTU apologist. Ridiculous point about this costing teachers more! It does not — teachers may get out later, but so will their kids!

    We do have a teacher in our school who is against changing from our closed campus, because she has to leave to get her kids from their open campus school. I guess open campus is great for her children, but not good enough for her students.

  • 126. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 5:33 am

    124 – The Principal is the only one who can propose and hold a vote on open campus or other such changes. Alot of Principals have refused to do so, (for many reasons from lack of facilities, to busing, to lack of staffing, to just because the Principal does not want it), so teachers in most schools have never even been asked. Many other teachers have voted for it, when asked, as about 1/3 of schools do have it in some form.

  • 127. mom2  |  September 7, 2011 at 5:59 am

    “The CTU is correct when it attempts to move the discussion to a better school day rather than just a longer school day.” – The CTU isn’t trying to discuss a better school day along with a longer school day, they are trying to discuss a better school day INSTEAD of a longer school day (unless you pay them). From my perspective, CTU is totally losing the PR battle.

    They are already some of the best paid for any urban school district in the country. They had it great with this pay scale and working in a system with one of the shortest days in the country. Now it is time to catch up with others or even our closest suburban neighbors.

    Moving from 5 1/2 hours to 6 1/2 or 7 hours would be something that most parents want because that is what they had growing up and that is what others have. They know that those extra minutes could be used for simple things like an extra 10 minutes to better discuss what was just taught or use it in a real life example, having more time to get your coats and boots on to go out for a short recess rather than having about 2 minutes to play once all the coats and boots come on and off, and an extra 10 minutes to eat instead of having to gulp down your food at lunch time. This constant attempt to make this about child care is driving me crazy.

    Once again I will say that I truly love some of the teachers that my children have had. I am grateful for all they do each day and I know it is a difficult job. But none of that means that I think their union is right in any of this fight. They need to change from talking about getting more money in their take home pockets to better funding the school and the classroom. Then they might get some parents on board.

  • 128. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Mom2, Your position is that teachers should vote to add time to the school day, in the midst of the school year, and change the terms of the contract for no pay? I just don’t think that’s realistic.

    What’s amazing is that the board’s PR stunt is so transparent. The school board spokeswoman said yesterday, the board does not expect all schools to go longer (at the same time urging all schools to go longer). The board is really hoping that all schools don’t go longer because the system, from lack of facilities, to lack of staffing, to lack of planning, to lunch, to busses, to parents, to students, etc., etc would be in turmoil (Even with no pay, the much larger number, the $75 million for the schools’ implementaion funds — that is grossly unequal among schools — needs to be funded).

    We are now in the midst of the school year, why wasn’t this proposed last Spring? Don’t all of us believe you have to be prepared to make changes? Isn’t that what we teach our kids. You have to have a plan, especially when it comes to school aged children. But there is no plan.

  • 129. Mayfair Dad  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:20 am

    @ 124 & 125

    The Local School Council can bring the issue up for a vote, as to whether or not Open Campus should be pursued. Then a special committee is convened, comprised of teachers, parents and the principal. These are the facts.

    CTU does not want your child to have recess because it erodes their negotiating position by extending their work day without additional compensation. I know many teachers who would accept the open campus/recess model hoping their own children enrolled at a CPS school would enjoy the same. But the CTU reps on school staff bully the other teachers and control the playground spin. Principals capitulate because the parents won’t rise up and demand recess – teachers are organized by their union, many parents are clueless as to how trhings work at the school level.

  • 130. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I don’t know why anyone is surprised. This has been discussed in some form or another for a long time, given that student achievement has stalled and that Chicago is an outlier in terms of time spent in the classroom (both days and hours). There was this guy who ran for mayor starting last winter, maybe your heard of him, I can’t remember his name, it was something funny and Jewish? Well, if I recall correctly, a big part of his platform was extending the school day. What ever happened to him? Oh, yeah, he won last spring and took office in May.

    CTU has had opportunities for a while to get in front of this. They could have supporting moving teacher lunches to the middle of the day. They could have pushed for more days or hours in exchange for a raise. They could have brought up the idea of an audit at CPS upfront. Instead, Karen Lewis talked about slavery and proposed a “better” day: one where kids no longer have to deal with that pesky math and reading and get to have lots of recess and art.

    Kids need recess and art. And math and reading. The only way to do that is with more time in school. Every other district in the country has figured that out.

    Rahm Emanuel has made it clear that he doesn’t think CPS is not suitable for his children. But he’s not being a hypocrite: he is also clear that he doesn’t think CPS is suitable for any children in Chicago as it operates now.

    CTU is on the wrong side of the parents and the voters on this. Any teachers who are truly surprised at how this is playing out are not smart enough to be teaching my kid. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

    I know one of the Skinner parents who was interviewed on ABC news last night. He’s a professor of computer science at Loyola, and he’s in favor of a longer school day. Gee, do you think he knows something about education in a modern economy?

  • 131. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

    That should be “he doesn’t think CPS is suitable”. Stupid double negative.

  • 132. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Sorry to post again but I just read this by columnist Esther Cepeda and thought it relevant to share:

    ….”Maybe someone has been laboring behind the scenes for roughly 100 days and has formulated research-driven recommendations on how to build and implement a longer school day for CPS students, but I haven’t heard of anything like that.

    Meanwhile, Emanuel is going around town asking everyone from clergy to youth task-force members to support a plan that isn’t actually a plan but merely a vague vision of a longer school day that miraculously improves student academic achievement. Worse, he’s balking at the idea that careful consideration of exactly what students will be doing during that time — and collaboration with the teachers who will be leading those activities — should be the driving factor in formulating such a drastic change.

    “Teachers will help design a longer day,” Emanuel said dismissively. “I cannot wait for a high-class debate and discussion and agreement about, ‘Is it more math? Is it more history?’ ”


    For a guy who champions corporate methods for squeezing more value and higher efficiencies out of complex systems, he’s completely wrong if he thinks any organization can be expected to improve any aspect of performance without first engaging in rigorous debate and discussion among stakeholders.

    The mayor should reread every business leader’s bible, Good to Great by Jim Collins: It’s disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action that enable even bad organizations to turn around and achieve enduring greatness. Organizational change requires painstaking collaboration, planning and systematic implementation. Foot-dragging is anathema, but it is immensely rare for those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings to succeed.

    The mayor is claiming a mandate to improve Chicago schools, and there isn’t a stakeholder in town that doesn’t want to see CPS do a better job at better educating and graduating students. But no mandate is a license for slapdash efforts implemented for the sake of claiming, “I said I’d do it, and there, I’ve done it.””


  • 133. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I commend Emanuel for acting. Debate over more school for kids is ridiculous. If you mean that we need to debate over compensation in a down economy, you’ve totally lost the parents there. The change is long overdue we need this administration to act.

  • 134. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

    128. Yes the LSC agenda is in most cases driven by the Principal. Principals have refused to consider it. And many union teachers have voted for open campus. So those are also facts.

  • 135. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Mom2: That’s not what I said. I said, we need a plan for the longer school day – both instruction and operation. The adminstration does not have one.

  • 136. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Sorry that should have been directed to cps Mom.

  • 137. Mayfair Dad  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:08 am

    @ 133: The Local School Council drives the Local School Council agenda. The principal is one vote. The Local School Council hires the principal. The Local School Council evaluates the principal’s job performance. The Local School Council determines whether or not to renew the principal’s contract.

    To blunt the impact of parent and community LSC members impact, it is commonplace for the teacher reps on the LSC to also be the school’s CTU reps. A weak principal will collude with the CTU reps to keep the peace among the teaching staff. But when parent and community LSC members vote as a block, they hold the cards.

    You want the principal’s undivided attention on the recess issue? Volunteer to be the chairperson of the principal evaluation committee of the LSC.

    Parents need to realize what power they hold to create positive change at their child’s school. Unfortunately most parents don’t have the time or the drive to get involved.

  • 138. Grace  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Boy, MFD, now I begin to understand. (Duh!) Are most parents complacent or do they also want a full lunch and recess at your school?

    Mine started at a school with no midday recess and with a heavy-duty curriculum plus lots of homework from first grade on. (About 18 worksheets each day, Mon – Thur in first grade.)

    Kids would manifest the stress in all sorts of ways that were sad to see. Recess would have been beneficial. BTW, parents were not allowed to volunteer during the school day and b/c everyone was bussed in, parents had a hard time getting to know each other. School events were very rare.

    At first I was surprised that so few parents would say they wanted recess or girl scouts or an after-school program. But the administration was against it. The admin had a few teachers who would support them, one a relative, but all the others stayed away for fear of retaliation.

    One mom actually walked up to Arne Duncan to ask him about that school’s policies toward parents. He just laughed. (The scores are very high.)

    She then organized some moms to go speak with the head of School and Community Relations, and although they were polite she got nowhere. Lots of nowhere. Finally the mom said she just had to stop trying.

    I never thought the CTU was the problem, though. Am I mistaken?

    And I questioned why the Central Office never once directed the admin to change things for parents and students. They still haven’t. Parents know full well the admin’s reputation, and there is a high mobility rate for a school of its caliber. As always, you will find a number of teachers who are really great and kind. Still parents leave when they can, often for an Academic Center if not before.

  • 139. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:17 am

    @134 – I understand what you mean and my comment still applies. The thread showcasing the WBEZ Q&A has showcased Brizard pointing out that the needs vary from school to school. The extra time needs to be handled responsibly and that the individual school would be creating their own plan. At some schools literacy is an issue and time does need to go into addressing basic skills.

    At some point the administration needs to step in and mandate it along with a deadline. For those schools that have their “stuff” together and can actually get it done now….bonus time – ding! ding! ding!

  • 140. Grace  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:19 am

    An excerpt from PURE, who like many of us is in favor of a longer day but wonders about what Brizard wants the 90 minutes to look like for the schools that have lower test scores.
    It would have helped everyone if our mayor had stuck to his promise to include the parents in this.

    “Well, those of us who would actually like to see a longer day at some point had to be worried – but not surprised – to read this comment from CPS CEO J. C. Brizard tucked into a Sun-Times article yesterday about the “new era” in Chicago Public Schools under Mayor Emanuel:

    Brizard said principals will “get guidance” about using the 90 minutes, and, if their school is academically successful, they may choose to spend it in enrichment activities, such as music, art and physical education. But if it’s struggling in math and reading it should expand math and reading, he said…. “I believe in autonomy, but I believe in bounded autonomy,” Brizard said.

    We had been told that Brizard was going to look at best practices in the city and nationwide. He had assembled a distinguished panel of experts to help, and in addition, CPS was supposedly going to work with parents, teachers and principals through focus groups to gain feedback on how the school day should be structured.

    Now it seems that the CEO has already decided how the 90 minutes will be used, and in doing so he’s displaying the ignorance of basic education theory so typical of the corporate education “reformers” who, like Brizard, got their marching orders at the Broad Foundation administrators boot camp.

    It’s simply not true that struggling students will do better if they are drilled more. It’s simply not sound to wait to “graduate” students to enrichment activities only after they have “mastered the basics.”

    In fact, well-planned enrichment activities integrated into a high-quality curriculum actually work better in improving academic outcomes than test prep. That was proven here in Chicago – Brizard can look it up, or better yet, talk to the guy from the University of Chicago who is supposedly advising him about this.

    The conclusion of a 2001 U of Chicago Consortium study? According to the executive summary, “Our findings call into serious question the assumption that low-achieving, economically disadvantaged students are best served by teaching that emphasizes didactic methods and review.”

  • 141. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Any parents from the 3 schools with longer times have info on how your school will be using that time?

  • 142. My head is spinning  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

    @cps mom, I posted above what Skinner principal told us “some academics, social studies, recess, enrichment and more”. We will see what it will turn out to be in reality.

  • 143. Mayfair Dad  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:37 am

    @ 137 Grace:

    Well, I admit my comments tend to get frothy when I remember the LSC battles waged with malcontent teachers who also happened to be CTU reps. Then I focus my thoughts on the many outstanding CPS teachers my children have known and that calms me down.

    Mayfair Twins now attend Disney II, an amazing school run by a highly competent principal and devoted teachers. Through grant-writing and parent fundraising, Disney II has had an extended school day since they opened their doors. My children enjoy music, art, recess, a reasonable lunch period, computer lab, science lab, whiteboards in every classroom, etc., etc., etc.

    So I know it works. I know what Disney II does with the extra time – they educate my children. And yes, the teachers earn a little more in exchange for the added time. Seems fair to me.

    So Rahm, if you’re looking for a bluprint how schools should use the additional time, give Mrs. Chkoumbova a call.

  • 144. diane  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

    @CPS mom: Regarding STEM, here is the plan as reported in the Chicago Sun Times.

    “One teacher said the idea developed “organically” among teachers as they realized the school’s extra engineering and technology classes, starting in kindergarten, left less time for other subjects.

    Under its tailor-made plan, STEM is merely boosting the minutes per class originally planned. Reading and math each will expand from 70 minutes to 90 minutes, and five minutes will be added to other classes, including physical education, art, technology and engineering.”

  • 145. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Mayfair Dad, Totally agree that more parents should be involved.

    cps Mom: “Bounded autonomy” is not a plan or at least it’s not a plan that has been communicated. What are the bounds? Moreover, it’s directly refuted by the one size fits all funding for the transition, in unequal schools. (Plainly, the money is not where the mouth is). Are you not disturbed by this mismatch and the inequality in the funding formula? To me it speaks of no plan and more importantly, no care.

  • 146. Anonymous  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I can also verify that the offer was NOT made to all schools. I’m not sure how I stand on the offer, actually. I’m not sure how I’d feel about a school day that long. But it was NOT made equally to all schools.

    Again, another example of politics and inequality.

  • 147. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:45 am

    @143 @141 – Wow. Thanks. From your advantage, some are taking the additional time in Math and Reading way out of context. You’ve just confirmed my opinion that there’s nothing wrong with extra Math and Reading time.

  • 148. cpsobsessed  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

    First thought that has been nagging me: I wish the change at these 3 schools and proposed by Rahm had been for an extension of 45 minutes – 1 hour, bringing CPS in line with the rest of the country. I *assume* we wouldn’t be having these debates about “all this extra time.” Maybe I’m wrong. In a “failing” school system (and I don’t mean in regards to teachers, I mean in regards to a big low income student base and meager funding) and a ton ton of kids who are below state levels, I don’t see the need for research to bring up in line on length of school day. I *do* see the concern for the longer-than-average school day for really young kids and I *do* wish it wasn’t sprung on people so last-minute. It undermines my faith in the decision-making at CPS a bit.

    Other thought: Reading that the CTU wants CPS to tell them how the increased time should be used seems like they’re insulting themselves. Are they saying a school principal and teachers cannot come up with the best recommendation for a specific school? Yes, many of us want recess and art and music, but in schools where 30% of kids are at state standards, perhaps the parents would want more learning/teaching/review/homework time. This lack of faith in themselves undermines my faith in the CTU a bit.

    And I’m sure the CTU would say that the lack of vision on the part of CPS for the longer school day undermines their faith in CPS a bit.

    And I suppose this is why we never get anywhere….

  • 149. cpsobsessed  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:54 am

    @142 MFD: regarding seeing what works at Disney, this is one thing that puzzles me in CPS. The re-inventing of the wheel. It seems obvious to me for someone at the top to say “hey, it’s working well here, let’s do it again at another school.” Not sure why that doesn’t happen more often…..
    It’s like each school is it’s own little universe.

    The only thing I’ve heard from a principal in terms of sharing what happens at another school is “why are your test scores as high as Decatur’s?” from the Area Officer. Uh, cuz they can screen for kids with high test scores.

    Undermines my faith in the Area Officer role.

  • 150. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:57 am

    @145 – Rahm has made a public announcement about the offer and the 3 schools reportedly approached CPS with their desire to move forward on the extra time. He encourages parents to get involved in developing the needs for their individual schools.

    @143 awesome program.

  • 151. Mayfair Dad  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

    @ 147/148 cpsobsessed.

    Isn’t it possible (probable) the 90 minutes will be negotiated down to 60 minutes at some point? Also, and I might be in the minority, is it so bad for Chicago to be ahead of the curve for once?

    Disney II was opened as a “performance school” which is a CPS-run school but the principal has the latitude to incorporate charter school-esque innovations.

    In an earlier post, I made the case for individual school autonomy on how to use the added time. If you are looking at a school with dismal test scores, then of course you would devote more time to core subjects and remediation vs. the arts. I was offering D2 as an example of where the longer school day was implemented with splendid results.

    AIOs (is there a new title? do they still exist?) are a mixed bag of nuts, nuts being the key operative word. Such an “insider” position, so much favoritism and intrigue, favors to be repaid and backs to be stabbed.

  • 152. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:21 am

    “Reading that the CTU wants CPS to tell them how the increased time should be used seems like they’re insulting themselves. Are they saying a school principal and teachers cannot come up with the best recommendation for a specific school?”

    I would only respond, not being a member of CTU, that instructional time is only half the battle, and will fail if not in the context of planned operations. The school for better or worse is part of a system. Facilties, operations, etc. that are unequal to the task cannot succeed. (As a small reminder, 161 schools don’t even have a library, and even more do not have a librarian.) So when you think about specific schools, remember that the teacher with 38 kids can only provide a part of what is required.

  • 153. Jennifer  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I wonder if parents really would have chosen other schools if they’d known about the new hours earlier on. I know that if my daughter had been offered a space at any of the schools I applied to I would have taken it no matter what. If you’re concerned about an extra 90 minutes in school because your child has to sit on the bus for 3 hours a day then move closer to the school, or put them in a school that is closer to you.

  • 154. CPSmama  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:28 am

    From CPS website (News section) link at bottom of post

    Longer School Day Pioneer Program Fact Sheet

    September 6, 2011


    Of the 10 major cities in the nation, Chicago ranks last in the amount of time students spend in the classroom.
    Today, CPS students receive 15% less instructional time than the national average.
    Academic studies, education experts, and high-achieving schools with extended time in Chicago and across the nation confirm that additional instructional time is a key factor in student success.
    While the ultimate goal is to have a longer day in every school in CPS, we are launching a “Longer School Day Pioneer Program” and inviting all schools to voluntarily participate in lengthening the school day by January of 2012.
    The additional 90 minutes per day will benefit students by providing the opportunity to:
    Spend more time on core academic subjects including math, science, social studies.
    Work on literacy skills and provide reading intervention for struggling students.
    Broaden enrichment opportunities including physical education, art, music, library time.
    Give students an adequate mid-day lunch and recess period so that they can recharge.
    Provide students with individualized interventions to help improve skills in math, science and core subjects as well as behavioral interventions and supplemental work for gifted students.


    In participating schools, teachers will receive a one-time lump sum payment equivalent to 2% of the average teacher annual salary, which shall be prorated to the number of days the school offers the Longer School Day.
    In addition, participating schools will also receive up to $150,000 in discretionary funds which may be used for supporting the Longer School Day, other than additional teacher compensation. The amount received is dependent on implementation date. Schools starting in January will receive $75,000 in discretionary funds.
    Schools could purchase technology, intervention programs, or additional staffing positions for enrichment.


    Day will be lengthened to 450 minutes from 345 in current closed campus model (an increase of 105 minutes.) The default schedule will be 8:00AM to 3:30PM, although schools will have the flexibility to determine start and end times.
    Students will receive 390 instructional minutes. That is 90 additional minutes from the 300 minutes required by ISBE, and 82 minutes from the 308 in current closed campus.
    Day will include 45 minutes time off for students– 25 minutes for lunch and 20 minutes of recess.
    Day will include a maximum 15 minutes of passing periods and break.


    Teachers’ required on-site time will be lengthened by 40 minutes from 420 minutes to 460 minutes.
    The default on-site or duty schedule will be 7:50 AM to 3:30 PM, although schools will have the flexibility to determine start and end times.
    Teachers’ lunch will be 35 minutes a day.
    Closed campus option (i.e., lunch at the end of the day) will be eliminated.
    Teachers will have four 60 minute self-directed preps per week.
    Teachers will have one 60 minute principal-directed teacher collaboration period per week.


    Teachers Report
    7:50 AM (10 min self-directed prep and entry)

    Students Report

    Student Recess
    20 mins per day(time varies)

    Student Lunch
    25 mins per day (time varies)

    Teacher Lunch
    45 mins per day (time varies)

    Teacher self-directed prep
    60 mins per day four days a week

    Teacher principal-directed prep collaboration
    60 mins on day per week

    Student/Teacher dismissal
    3:30 PM


  • 155. cpsobsessed  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Ah, I got it. I had even pointed out that at my son’s school, the extended day of 45 minutes was not an easy “yes” as the admin pointed out several logistical obstacles. Wanting to and being able to are 2 different things.

    I guess it’s just the blatant “we won’t even listen until you tell us what to do” from the CTU that makes me bristle. But then again, so does the “work a longer day! Just make it work!!” from CPS also makes me bristle.

    I think I’m so beaten down and cynical from the Democrats vs Republicans war against each other that I don’t have the patience to see the same type of fighting going on within our own school system. The angst ends up being a lot about the fight and tactics, rather than the real issues.

  • 156. Junior  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:29 am

    @147 cpsobsessed

    My sentiments exactly. I still want to think that the 90 minutes is a negotiating tactic on Rahm’s part to put pressure on CTU for the upcoming contract talks. Most parents would be fine with 60 minutes, but if Rahm had accepted 60 minutes at these schools, then he’d be undermining his own negotiating position. You can’t say Rahm hasn’t been shrewd in all his moves. He is winning the PR battle (that’s not hard to do when you have the media stage, as well as the substantive arguments in your favor). When the teachers see a 90-minute day become a reality in some schools, one would hope that they’d be quick to accept a 60-minute compromise. Watch out for the Tiger Mayor.

  • 157. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Mayfair Dad, I think AIO’s are now Network something or others.

  • 158. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Thanks CPSMama. Would it have killed them, instead of that “pilot program” being published on September 6, 2011, it was published May 6, 2011? Then they could have all planned logistics, facilities, funding, enrollment, contingencies etc., etc., etc.

  • 159. Grace  |  September 7, 2011 at 10:58 am

    154 — I’d have to agree; sure seems like the same acrimonious D.C. politics are played out here with CPS v. CTU.

    Paul Krugman, NY Times, has a piece today about how we need to hear the truth about the economy from our political leaders.

  • 160. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Hey…remember, CPS is “people” too

  • 161. CPSDepressed (was copyeditor)  |  September 7, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Honestly, I think CTU brought this on itself. Karen Lewis decided to make the raise her key issue, even though the mood of the city was elsewhere. She didn’t have the support of the voters or of parents.

    I can’t understand why CTU doesn’t want to be part of the process.

    And, like CPSObsessed, I can’t understand why CPS doesn’t learn from successful programs.

    So many children are completely screwed by the school system here in Chicago, and there is plenty of blame to go around. I’d rather see everyone work to fix the system rather than standing around pointing fingers.

    And yes, I’m glad that Emanuel forced the issue of the school day. Very glad.

  • 162. cps grad  |  September 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Mayfair dad– We could have a 12 hour school day and be ahead of the curve. Why don’t we do that?

    @153–I’m shocked that the school day will include only 20 minutes recess and 25 minutes lunch. Not developmentally appropriate. Period. I wonder why CPS can’t look at the research on this issue. 7.5 hour day needs to have at least 1.5 hours of break time. That would leave 6 hours (360 minutes) for instruction and well above the 300 required and more than enough to do what is necessary. Don’t forget that the state requirements include PE as instructional minutes and we all know that CPS does not give kids the required daily recess that is state law. Therefore kids up will even more “academic” minutes than required by state law. I don’t know why the media cannot speak to these facts. This is so frustrating!

    Again, I am all for a longer school day, but I think 6.75-7 hours is more than enough and it should include 1 hour of lunch recess and daily PE or 1.5 hours lunch and recess.

  • 163. mom2  |  September 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Teller @127 – “Mom2, Your position is that teachers should vote to add time to the school day, in the midst of the school year, and change the terms of the contract for no pay? I just don’t think that’s realistic.” – I do think that they should agree to add time to the school day with no additional take home pay. However, instead, I think they should negotiate for additional funds for their school or classroom. Those are things that would make their day more productive and more comfortable and would also help the students within that classroom/school. Sorry that you don’t think it is realistic to look for alternatives to just getting more money for yourself.

    In my industry, when times are tight, we look for other ways to get something when a raise is just not in the picture. We ask for better lighting at our desks to add comfort, a new version of software to make things run smoother, etc. Those things make working each day a little better but they also help improve the company long term. Therefore, it is more likely to be something management will agree to.

    (The “in the midst of the school year” portion frustrates me because we have known this was Rahm’s plan since before he took office. I know it would be odd to change things mid-stream at this point. But, if a school agreed to do this, then CPS has to find the ways to make it work regarding busing, building maintenance, etc. That is there issue to deal with.)

  • 164. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Its not money for me. I’m not a member of CTU. Its also my understanding, under the law that was passed earlier this year that CTU is barred from negotiating over those other “things.” They can only bargain over pay, some benefits, and this year hours. (next year they cannot bargain over hours, either). They can’t bargain over extras for their classroom, or class size, or curriculum. So, I don’t see the relevance of your experience in another industry – or your expectations that they can do something, they are barred by law from doing.

  • 165. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    You also didn’t address the gross inequality of the transition funding by the board.

  • 166. mom2  |  September 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Teller – Sorry, it appears you are trying to pick a fight with me. I am just a parent that believes that CPS should have a longer school day and at least a week more of school (to be in line with other schools). I don’t really know much about union law. If you are correct, then that is a shame that union employees cannot ask for things to make their jobs easier, better, more comfortable. Does that also mean that CPS cannot offer those things instead of a raise and CTU cannot accept that offer (rather than demanding more money) or they just cannot “bargain” for it?

    The “gross inequality of the transition funding”? Are you asking me about my opinion on the three schools taking the offer? I know nothing about if other schools could have taken this offer and money and just chose not to (their own fault) or if they weren’t asked or if they needed to offer vs. being asked or anything else. Sorry, you are out of my area of knowledge here.

  • 167. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    All I know is that my school day was 9-3, with an 8:30 drop-off, and none of these “professional development days” which seem to multiply like relatives at a will reading.

  • 168. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    mom2: Pick a fight? Your the one who, said I was trying to get money. I am just listing things, I think are relevant to the discussion. Your claim to know little does not impress. You just want what you want. Fine, we don’t have to discuss it anymore.

  • 169. Junior  |  September 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    That’s really a moot point. I didn’t see teachers in the last round going after school supplies. Look at the contract. It’s all about their pay, benefits, tenure, rights, etc. (as would be exptected)

    In the end, this is simply about competing interests. In the last round the teachers got very favorable pay and benefits for some one of the shortest working days and school years in the country. You can’t blame them — I’d negotiate the best deal for my own compensation too. No hard feelings, really. But, to use Rahm’s words, the kids got the shaft. Not because teachers are bad people who don’t want the best for the kids (teachers have to care deeply about their students), but because that’s the nature of human self-interest, and unions in particular amplify this. They are not really better or worse human beings — they are just human beings. When human beings are asked the question — “would you like to take 45 minutes for lunch in the middle of the day and let the kids have recess, or would you rather go home early?’ — more often than not, they say “f– it, let’s just go home.”

    Now, the City and parents are looking after their own interests Parents are pushing for a longer and better day to improve their kids’ education; City Hall wants more bang for its buck in the current fiscal climate. Economically, people are all sacrificing, so public sentiment is going to support this position. Really, with all the step and lane increases — how much does has the average teacher’s annual pay increase been over the last 10 years? 7 percent? More? That far outpaces the working stiffs whose kids go to CPS. Sadly, another part of human nature is that people take for granted what they already have — the glass may be 96% full, but that empty 4% can sure make one dissatisfied.

    Kudos to the teachers who accepted Rahm’s offer. They looked past their narrow self-interest to do what needs to be done to improve their schools. Obviously, they didn’t need a year to plan this out. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    Of course, most of the rest CTU members are pissed. You can almost hear them shouting “you’re making us look bad!” And on that, I’d have to agree with them.

  • 170. Teller  |  September 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Sgt: For me it was 9-3:15, slaker 🙂

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  September 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    To take a turn on the teachers’ side, the one main thing that seems unfair is the expectation that because they’re TEACHERS, they should be more compassionate about making concessions. As Junior points out, much of what they asked for is human nature.
    If I could choose to work a shorter or longer work week, I’d pick shorter, but nobody blames me for shortchanging my clients or my research for whatever.

    Nobody tells the garbage collectors that they care more about themselves than whether our city is stinky. Nobody even seems to give cops a hard time that they need to care about our safety. It’s a JOB just like everyone else has a job and just like teachers have a job. With teachers, we can always throw back at them “it’s about the kids!” and seem to expect some concessions and compassion that in other fields, we might not be willing to budge on.

    I think that makes it harder for them to will sympathy from the public — they’re expected to be saints to some extent….

  • 172. mom2  |  September 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I’m sorry if I offended anyone and I certainly wasn’t trying to impress anyone with my lack of knowledge. That was odd. I was trying to be honest. I’m bothered by the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any solution where both parties can get what they want (due to unions or union law or whatever). I will defer to Junior on this topic. Thanks everyone.

  • 173. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    @170 – true, but you can be fired. Straying to another topic, I know.

  • 174. CPSDepressed  |  September 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Junior is my hero.

    Mom2 didn’t offend me.

    CPSObsessed, I think that the teacher sainthood line does backfire, and a lot of teachers are responsible. My SIL is a teacher (not in CPS) who told me that she deserves a big raise because she stays awake nights worrying about her students.

    Some people here, to defend the CTU position, have told heartwarming stories of teachers who saved their lives. Great. I have stories of teachers who bullied students, who didn’t give a damn about what they were teaching because they were going through a divorce or about to relocate, or who were teaching things that were nifty cool twenty years prior. I’ll bet a lot of people have stories about bad teachers, too. Maybe people who go into education were lucky when they were in school; maybe they avoided the bullies and the lazy-bones.

    Making the argument that teaching is just a job would actually help teachers seem more professional, I think. All of the protestations about how teachers do so much more than all other workers starts to sound like whining to me. (My husband laughed at his sister when she said she thought that her lost sleep should be included when figuring out her working hours.) My boss does not care about my sleep habits, as long as I am there to do my job.

    I had a thought about this: many of us are competing in a global economy. My husband has co-workers on H-IB visas. I once had a job cleaning up technical documents that were written in India. When you find yourself dealing with lower-paid colleagues educated in other countries doing the work you could be doing, you get stressed about the future, and you realize how hard your kids have to work. But teachers aren’t competing in a global economy. They compete for jobs locally. They don’t have low-priced teachers from India undercutting them. And I wonder if that’s why they have sometimes mis-gauged both the stress many parents feel about education and the economic pressure that is going on elsewhere in the economy.

    So that’s my two cents for now.

  • 175. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    CPSD you do have a way of putting a perspective on the issues (must be a good editor!). I will echo the sanity of Junior and Mom2 seems like a very concerned parent (that I happen to agree with and suspect that some of those nudges were supposed to be directed at me). Others here are great too 😉

    Everyone has valid points – parents wondering if longer hours are best for their kids, lack of planning, direction, permissions….and (gulp!) money. In listening to the successes that have been talked about – (2) schools adding 45 minutes of enrichment on their own (1) school needing more time to successfully introduce engineering to Kindergarteners. It makes me wonder why a school like Disney 2, that is already half way there can’t cease the moment and jump on the carousel. $150,000 or even $75,000 is a LOT of fundraising. Mayfair Dad doesn’t even have to answer the question that we all know the answer to.

    Like Mom2, I am very dismayed to hear of situations that go beyond differences of needs and opinions and are downright punitive. That being the situation of a closed campus scenario. Schools that have shorter than short days, no recess with the ability of teachers to leave early. That is wrong any way you look at it. Very disappointing, reflects poorly on CTU and the teachers that vote for this situation.

  • 176. cps Mom  |  September 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Oh – one more thing. Someone keeps mentioning that about 1/3 of the schools already have open campus. I’m going to turn that glass half full senario around. This means that a whopping 2/3 of CPS schools have CLOSED campus. So the glass is 1/3 full.

  • 177. Gayfair Dad  |  September 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    @128 CPS Obsessed needs a ‘like’ button.

  • 178. M. Song  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I am amused we are having a rigorous debate on paying teachers more money. I wish we could put the same spirited effort into why we are having a severe economic crisis locally, nationally and globally. However, I digress. It is crazy that we are demonizing teachers to justify not paying them. Worrying about the future is on everyone’s mind. Wanna be competitive with other countries? Elevate the education of our children. So why are trying to alienate the people who have a direct hand in making our children educated enough to compete globally? Not investing in the future and complaining about the bleak future of our children is insane.

  • 179. cps grad  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I agree with CPS mom EVERY school should be open campus. I went to the LSC meeting at my neighborhood school when this issue was addressed in May to voice my opinion on the importance of moving to this model. Sadly that school didn’t vote for open campus, but I must say that was it was somewhat understandable considering that the school is under construction this year and the entire playground is currently a construction site. After construction is over, however, they have no excuse.

    What I can’t understand is the media didn’t jump on this last spring when it was announced. Some principals didn’t even inform their teachers and parents of the policy and in effect prevented a vote. I wonder how many parents in the inner city even knew that the Open Campus was an option for this year. If you aren’t already wired into cpsobsessed, district 299 or any of the mommy boards you might have missed the whole thing. Without the media to inform parents, there was no one to push the issue.

    If the media had jumped on this issue last spring, more schools may have voted for open campus. The CTU really wouldn’t have had the compensation argument since the Open Campus model didn’t really add any time to their work day, just a rearrangement in the periods. Most people would agree that requiring teachers to take their lunch at noon (rather than 2:45) makes sense and under media scrutiny teachers might have been more compelled to vote in favor of the open campus.

  • 180. WorkerB  |  September 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    If most CPS teachers were men, rather than women, do you think the debate now would be different? Take and moment and let me know what you think. Thanks.

  • 181. current cps employee  |  September 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I work at one of the few schools that utilizes the “open campus” schedule, and we have done this for going on 4 years. We have great test scores and great parent involvement and I would say we are a successful school. Our students go to school from 9-3:30pm and teachers get there at 8:30. We do not get paid more than the “Closed Campus” schedule. No one hates it either. BUT, to be honest, we struggle every single day to get lunch covered by non-teachers, and administrators are always present, plus as many parent volunteers as possible. Teachers cannot cover that lunch. However, the lunch/recess is a great thing and definitely allows us more instructional time and kids are happier. It works you know? Why must they try to increase the day an ADDITIONAL 45 minutes to 90 total? THat seems ridiculous to me. I grew up in the burbs where my school day was 845-3, and then 8:15-3 in middle school. And I am 100% sure teachers are paid much more, but that’s not really the issue here.

    What bothers me is this one size fits all approach. No thought to school size, school test scores (which I hate btu supposedly this tells us how successful we are), etc. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure after school programs are going to be difficult to staff. I know I won’t be able to be nearly as involved, as I have small children and this cuts into my already precious time at home w/them. However, this isn’t the point. I think everyone agrees a longer day is necessary, but this is the most poorly planned rollout I’ve ever seen, and I personally think it’s a media blitz and very political. Why couldn’t they have started with trying to get the schools to do the Open Campus option? It is much cheaper!

    I’m very interested to see how this plays out.

  • 182. organicdad  |  September 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    My son attends a school where because of the facilities lunch for his grade is at 10:15 and I know they go all the way through 1:00 to feed everbody.

    I am concerned about the kids going from basically 10:30 to after 5 by the time they get home without eating.

    Anybody have any ideas about how to deal with this if the school goes to the longer day?

    I am also worried about the after school programs. We love having our son participate last year but that will end up extending his “school day” all the way to 5 or so and by the time we get home and get dinner it will be time for bed.

    I am all for more time in the day and I guess my worries sound silly in the big picture but I am looking at this and thinking I will never see my kid except on the weekends.

  • 183. Breakfast and lunch question  |  September 8, 2011 at 7:53 am

    181 Organicdad – this is no answering your question, but from your screen name I’m hoping we think alike about feeding our kids. My child has lunch at 10:15 also. School starts at 7:55 and ends at 1:45. My daughter stays for the after school program since I am a working mom.

    What do you do about the free breakfast pushed on the kids in the morning? Steaming hot pancakes with syrup and sausage are very hard to resist for a 5 year old. I’d rather her eat only her breakfast at home (organic milk and fairly low sugar foods) and skip the school breakfast. My daughter did eat at home, but then told me she grabbed a school breakfast, too. In this first week of school I decided not to make it an issue with so many other logistics to work out.

    With breakfast eaten at 7:55 – 8:15, she has no appetite for the healthy lunch I packed for her.

    Also, doesn’t your school allow for a snack for your son? Our school provides an afternoon snack and encourages parents to bring snacks. My guess is that your school will make sure a snack is available or brought.

    I know this is a small problem compared to all the other cps problems we all have, I just don’t have anyone else to ask for help on this.

  • 184. ChicagoGawker  |  September 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

    @179 Absolutely yes, the whole debate would be different if most teachers were male. Coincidentally, my kid asked just yesterday, “How come there aren’t that many man teachers at my school?” I said because “our society tends to think of anything having to do with children as women’s work. Therefore, it’s not very highly valued and doesn’t pay as much as many other jobs. And it’s difficult to support a family on a teacher’s pay, if that’s the family’s only income.

  • 185. cps Mom  |  September 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Agree with 183 and add that being a mother of a boy there is something to this whole topic about how boys learn differently than girls. They are very hands on, physically and emotionally intrigued. The best male teachers my son has had have been very motivating and project oriented. They love to tell and engage in stories. Recess would be a non-issue for sure. On the other hand, I do appreciate that nurturing side of the female teachers.

  • 186. Junior  |  September 8, 2011 at 10:58 am


    I guess the charges of “slavery” and “bribery” aren’t sticking, so let’s see what other cards are left in the deck.

  • 187. SNMom  |  September 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

    @184, speaking of gender bias. I know plenty of nurturing male teachers and hands-on female teachers.

  • 188. cps Mom  |  September 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

    OK 186 – thought I was actually saying something nice about teachers (which I also find to be true). Dammed if you do…

  • 189. Make that 4! :-)))))  |  September 8, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Another Chicago Public School — this time an elementary school in Englewood — has voted to add 90 minutes to its school day.
    Teachers at Benjamin E. Mays Elementary Academy in Englewood took the vote this morning.

  • 190. ChicagoGawker  |  September 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Actually, Junior, I didn’t pose the gender thing in support of CTU against any recent CPS initiatives, and remain neutral on that topic due to lack of enough info to form a solid opinion. But I do know that the debate would be framed way differently if the livelihoods of more men were at stake. BTW, you have an obvious interest in education, what kept you out of the field?

  • 191. cps grad  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Under the new plan Open Campus schools are going to loose their lunch time and recess. The plan outlined on the CPS Press Release on their website states that lunch will be 25 minutes (5 minutes more for closed campus schools, but 20 minutes LESS for open campus schools). Open campus has an additional 20 minutes of recess on top of lunch. Therefore, overall the Open Campus will LOOSE a total of 20 minutes unstructured time while adding 60 minutes of length to the day.. Now I really don’t think this is in the best interest of children.

    I am also really disturbed by the “one size fits all” approach that is proposed both system wide (low performing schools and high performing schools) and within the age groups. Since most schools are K-8, there needs to be some differentiation between the primary grades and middle grades. Back in the day when I went to CPS we had open campus: 9:00am-3:15pm. Everyone had one hour for lunch/recess midday. School was dismissed at 12:00 and started again at 1:00. In addition, the youngest grades (k,1st, 2nd) had both a morning recess 15 minutes and an afternoon recess for 10 minutes in addition to the midday break. Grades 3, 4, and 5 only had the morning recess. Grades 6,7,8 did not have any additional recess other than the lunch hour. This makes sense developmentally.

    If CPS really goes to a 7.5 hour day, I don’t see why this model shouldn’t be able to work with perhaps the only change being in lunch (since kids don’t need an hour since they aren’t going home for lunch). Why not have 45 minutes lunch/recess for all kids, and additional recess where appropriate for the younger students. Unfortunately according to the CPS press release this won’t happen because it says that schools can have a maximum for passing periods and break. Consequently a 5, 6, or 7 year old on a non PE day will be doing academics for approx 3 ½ hours before lunch and 3 ¼ after lunch with very little break time. Wouldn’t a 10-15 minute recess half way through these blocks of time make sense? Think about it, half-day kindergarten is only 2 ½ hours long total!

  • 192. cps grad  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    On another note, I just got off the phone a woman at the ISBE. She was kind enough to call me back and I had a lengthy conversation with her about ISBE requirements. She confirmed to me the following:

    1) the 300 instructional minutes required by ISBE includes any instruction in non-core subjects such as PE, music, art, computer, library, and foreign language. Since CPS does not offer some of these subjects at all, and others infrequently, CPS already has more time for core academic subjects than required by ISBE.

    2) Daily PE is a state requirement k -12 and any district that does not offer daily PE needs to have a waiver approved by the State Legislature. In 2008, new rules made it more difficult to acquire these waivers. CPS has never had and currently DOES NOT have a waiver for PE in the elementary level. She told me that she really doesn’t know how CPS has gotten away with this. It does have a waiver for the upper grades in high school. Therefore CPS is operating in violation of the ISBE and state law requiring daily PE.

    Another interesting piece of information that I was given gives me a little hope, especially for the younger kids. This is something that probably can be pushed at each school through your LSC. According to the woman in ISBE state certified PE teacher is not required in grades K-5. The regular certified classroom teacher can teach PE for the elementary school grades (not middle school). Since we all know that CPS isn’t going to send additional PE teachers to the schools, perhaps we can push that the younger kids have PE 4 or 3 days a week with the regular classroom teacher, and 1 or 2 days a week with the Certified PE teacher.

  • 193. Skinner North Mom  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    @190: I’m surprised that CPS is presenting it that way. My impression is that every school is deciding for themselves how to spend this time. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all imposition of a new set-in-stone schedule, at least not at Skinner North. Teachers at each grade level are exploring what to do with the extra time, and they’re soliciting parent input. I hope this happens at every school that goes to the extended schedule, because every school will have different needs.

  • 194. cps grad  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    @ Skinner North Mom — here is the link:


    Interesting note, when I quoted this link yesterday, it had sentence somewhere saying that the exteneded day would provide an extra period of math and extra period of literacy every day. I can’t seem to find that sentence now. I wonder if someone in CPS is monitoring this board and adjusted the press release?

  • 195. cps grad  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    @Skinner North Mom– I really hope you are right. My neighborhood school (not a magnet or SE) is already 56% exceeds and 98% meet/exceeds. I don’t think most kids really need 1 1/2 hours of additional math and reading.

  • 196. SchoolDaze  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    @190 Where did you read this about open campus schools? I can’t find it on the cps site.

  • 197. Junior  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    @189 ChicagoGawker

    OK, thanks for clarifying. I’ll take that at face value. But I have heard the gender bias issue thrown out by others as a defense (or offense?) of the CTU. Personally, I don’t think the debate would be much different if we were talking about males. What drives me — and what I see of many of the involved parents here and elsewhere — is simply advocacy for my children’s education and well-being.

    I support shifting funding away from the military and moving it towards education — does that make me biased against males? I think we’re better off keeping the discussion on the specific facts and policies instead of speculating about biases and motivations, lest this thread quickly jump the shark.

    As for why I didn’t go into education, honestly, I never had the interest. This is admittedly selfish, but my interest started with my own children. That is how probably how most of the people on the board became active in their schools and CPS. Never liked kids when I was younger. Of course, since then, I’ve worked with kids in various settings, and have come to appreciate those challenges.

    So, to go back to my earlier post, I think this is simply a clash of self-interests. Parents interests in what is best for their kids versus teachers interests in what makes their own work/lives betters. I think to bring in the issue of gender bias is a red herring, and given the previous rhetoric that we’ve encountered, once has to look at it somewhat cynically.

  • 198. Junior  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    @cps grad 190/191

    Thanks for all the research and facts for discussion! Regarding the decrease in recess/lunch for the Open Campus, I think there maybe ways that schools can reinstitute that time creatively. Some schools currently have a supervised ‘recess-like” outdoor time, which counts as academic time.

    The actual time breakdowns of the day seem rather fluid. I think the only thing we can count on right now is that Rahm/JCB need these pilot programs to be unmitigated successes, and one can assume that all constituencies (teachers/admin/parents) will have to be appeased to at least some degree.

    Regarding the state law requiring PE, the challenge here is that there is no mandate in the law for a minimum amount of time per day to be spent. A couple of years ago, it seemed that CPS was encouraging schools to start their days off with some in-class stretching or yoga for a few minutes. Clearly, there were no certified PE teachers involved. But, the requirement for certified PE teacher for grades 6-8 would seem to give parents another hammer in advocating for a better school day within the context of the added time.

  • 199. Empehi  |  September 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Chicago has a goodly number of female CPS teacher + male CPD cop marriages. I’d love the hear their conversations about work and labor issues. 😉

  • 200. cps grad  |  September 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    @195 the information on the Open campus schools is from the
    CPS Developing A School Recess Plan Toolkit that was released last spring. Here is a link to the tool kit on the Raise Your Hand website.


    If you go into the 60+ page document you will find a lot of good information about how time is used in closed campus/open campus schools.

  • 201. cps grad  |  September 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    @ Junior, thanks for the info on how CPS is doing “PE” without really doing it. How nice that they can get away with short changing the kids on a technicality.

  • 202. brittney jones  |  September 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Hi I attend sherwood elementry and what i think about havin longer days is that it is bad because what if someone have something important to do at a certain time.Alsowhat if there parents want them to come home early so keep this in mind my school dont want to attend this program

  • 203. Junior  |  September 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    @201 brittney

    Thanks for your opinions. Just one question — shouldn’t you be in school right now?

  • 204. Like it is  |  September 8, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    The day for students in the mock schedule (8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) is 105 minutes longer for students than the closed campus day — so it’s going from 345 minutes to 450 minutes. Their lunch/recess period will increase from a current 20 minutes to 45 minutes, or by 25 minutes. That leaves 80 minutes for additional instruction.

    What that additional instruction is is to be decided by the schools — it could be interventions, Science, Science Lab, Writing, PE, Art, Performing Arts, Music, Library, Technology, World Languages or some combination thereof.

  • 205. Like it is  |  September 9, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Chicago Sun-times is reporting that CTU has sued and is asking the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to put a halt to the longer day at any of the schools that voted for it.

  • 206. Mayfair Dad  |  September 9, 2011 at 8:11 am

    @ 203: Sounds reasonable to me.

    @ 204: Sounds typical to me.

    Karen Lewis and the crazies from CORE are outmatched.

  • 207. mamusia  |  September 9, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I don’t understand why would Skinner need 90 more minutes when it seems they did just fine on the old schedule- preliminary ISAT results are outstanding.
    I wouldn’t mind a longer school day if it was in a neighborhood school, but Skinner is not that. Kids are brought (on busses or by parents) from all over the city, and those new hours are making it really hard. My child gets on a bus @ 7:30 and is back @ 5-5:15 right now, which is already a really long day. With 8am start she will probably have to be on the bus @ 6:30!
    Why doesn’t anyone take this into consideration…:(

  • 208. Grace  |  September 9, 2011 at 9:05 am

    191 — Great point, that w.o. the specials CPS already spends extra time on the core subjects!

    That may explain why charters and traditional schools performed the same on ISATs this June — despite charters much longer school day.

    193 — Yes, your hunch seems right. I noticed this happen before as well.

    201 — Welcome Brittany. Thanks for your opinion. I hope you will be careful and never use your real name or post from school.

    202 — Some CPS schools run from 7:40 to 1:45 often with after-school programs in computers, music, art, etc. So she could be doing this after class has ended.

  • 209. mommy too  |  September 9, 2011 at 9:05 am

    @204.. at this point I would very much like if the schools do not start longer days in September. GIve the parents some extra time to digest this, adjust and plan accordingly. Give the schools time to put in place an exact plan for those additional minutes to fill.

    @206… we are in the same exact boat. The same times our kid gets on and off the bus. The busing application states, that no child should be on the bus for more then an hour. The assistant principal at Skinner told us to call the transportation deparment at CPS. The person to talk to is Ms. Linda Parker 773-553-2891.

  • 210. RL Julia  |  September 9, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Say you will about CPS – but with the short school day, they certainly give a pretty good bang for their buck. Just think what another 90 minutes could possibily mean. Hate to bring this up, but what sort of nightmare would school opening and closing changes bring on any sort of bus scheduling. I doubt many schools are going to want to opt for a schedule that is anything earlier or later than 8:00 – 3:30.

  • 211. mamusia  |  September 9, 2011 at 9:33 am

    @208…Thank you for the info. I was just about to look it up cause I heard somewhere about the limit of 1 hour a child can spend on a bus, but wasn’t sure if it’s true. Yesterday she spent more than 1.5h on the bus just going back from school 😦

  • 212. cps Mom  |  September 9, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Is this a new busing rule? Our bus schedule involved getting to the stop 1 hour and 45 minutes prior to the start of school. As a result, no one rode the bus in the morning – except 2 kids who still were required to be there that early. What a waste.

    I hate to say it but I do agree with the parent above that said busing should not be a consideration in contemplating school hours for all. Anyone that rides a bus participates in special programing – magnet, SEES, possibly others. We were fortunate to get into a magnet school. Along with that privilege, we gladly accepted the transportation responsibility. I do understand the hassle….sorry part of the bargain.

  • 213. Typical  |  September 9, 2011 at 10:13 am

    211 – Typical ‘everyone elses’ concerns should not be honored,only mine’ Not just not honored, not even “a consideration.”

  • 214. Empehi  |  September 9, 2011 at 10:57 am

    @ 124 Junior “Estvan has nothing relevant on the topic. Just another CTU apologist.” A CTU apologist?! You’ve got to be kidding. Or, perhaps, just ill-informed on Estvan’s opinions.

  • 215. Empehi  |  September 9, 2011 at 11:00 am

    @ 110 mamusia – The 1-hour limit on the bus applies to students with IEPs under IDEA 2004 regulations.

  • 216. Junior  |  September 9, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Morning reading…

    Disney debating longer day (note — i’ve seen it reported that a dozen schools have so far rejected the longer day)

    City Council backs longer day…

    PURE out of step with parents; enhances its reputation as top CTU lapdog…

  • 217. cpsobsessed  |  September 9, 2011 at 11:08 am

    “CTU lapdog.” Heh heh.

    Boy, I love snark as much as the next online person, but that PURE article is snarkiness to the point that I can’t even follow it!

  • 218. cps Mom  |  September 9, 2011 at 11:52 am

    @212 – I really don’t have any concerns, but thanks for your consideration. Parents like @152 do have concerns.

    I wonder if any of the parents with children at any of the 4 schools that accepted longer days might give some insight as to the overall feeling at your school about this change? Are parents in general happy about it? In spite of busing issues, after school needs and last minute notice do parents feel they are able to work with the situation to gain that time?

  • 219. Mayfair Dad  |  September 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Interesting strategy by PURE, pissing off Ed Burke. I’m sure that makes alot of sense to somebody.

    Junior, I thought Substance was the official lapdog of CTU and the CORE crazies who are driving the union into a ditch.

    You should visit their site every once in a while and light George Schmidt’s hair on fire – its great fun!

  • 220. Different POV  |  September 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Imagine PURE or the CTU shaking their tiny fists at Ed Burke!

    If you want some background …


    Alderman Edward Burke: Top Machine Boss of Obama’s Chicago-Part 1
    by James Peterson
    As we watch Obama practice Chicago-style politics, it’s time to answer the question the old media ignores. Who were the key people in the Chicago Machine who helped advance Obama to power? We’ll start at the top.
    In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley gets the spotlight while Alderman Edward Burke runs the show. Burke is Chicago’s longest serving Alderman, first elected in 1969. He chairs the City’s Finance Committee. He also chairs the Judicial Slating Committee for the Cook County Democrat Party. Since there are no Republican judges at the circuit level, Burke is de facto head of the Judicial Branch of Chicago’s government. Burke was an early Obama supporter.
    Burke’s campaign chest is impressive. In 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Burke “has more money in his four campaign funds than the combined total of all 49 other Chicago aldermen, more even than Mayor Daley’s $2.9 million.” (It seems to have hit $8.13 million in 2011.)

    There’s more where that came from.

  • 221. Junior  |  September 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Yeah, you’re right about Substance. What gets me about PURE is they are ostensibly a parent group, but I have seen them spend tons of their time fighting charters and haven’t seen them spend any time fighting for recess.

    What folks may not realize is that I’m actually highly pro-union in my politics. That doesn’t mean I blindly endorse all actions by all unions. So, in this instance, when I’m highly critical of CTU, they have to start asking themselves what they have done to alienate even the pro-union crowd. Chicago City Council, as the original article points out, is filled with Democratic backers of labor, and yet, they are lined up strongly against the CTU’s position. The campaign for a longer day is not an attack on teachers or an attack on unions, it is an advocacy for CPS students to get what *they* deserve.

  • 222. Different POV  |  September 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Saw this and thought I’d share with you-all about where the funding will come from for the schools that go with the extra 90 minutes. Matt Farmer sometimes visits us here.

    For the real deal on how Rahm plans to come up with $89 million in longer-school-day bribe money, be sure and read Matt Farmer’s excellent piece at Gapers Block.

    Also check out Ben Joravsky’s latest at The Reader, “Mayor Emanuel’s budget show.”

  • 223. Different POV  |  September 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Sort of interesting, from Matt Farmer.

    Skinner North gets an extra $1,500 per student!

    “Of course, even the gang at Accenture might start asking questions if they looked carefully at the cash handouts. For starters, each grade school has been offered $150,000 to sign on to the extended-day program. That means Eberhart School, which has an enrollment of roughly 1700 students, would reap about $88 per student while Skinner North, which has an enrollment of roughly 100 students, would take in an extra $1500 per student. (Enrollment figures are taken from the CPS website.) Details, details.”

  • 224. Typical  |  September 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Typical CPS inequality. Disgusting.

  • 225. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  September 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Again, i’m more concerned with the number of development days than the length of the school. What are they developing, exactly? Couldn’t some of these be done during winter, spring or whatever long breaks are already given (such, as , say, summer)?

    The teachers do a fine job. I just don’t understand why they need all those extra days which take away from schooling. Educate me, please!

  • 226. CPSDepressed  |  September 9, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Sgt. Hartman, I asked what happened at development days at my kid’s school, because I was curious. I was told it was none of my business.

    In other words, development days are a waste of time.

  • 227. Mayfair Dad  |  September 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Development day = pointless, boring Powerpoint presentation followed by happy hour. Another CTU negotiated benefit.

  • 228. Grace  |  September 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Hey, did you read that Ed Burke has 3 grandchildren at Skinner North? It’s in the Sun Times.

  • 229. Grace  |  September 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm


    This report is the best i’ve read on CPS, CTU and the longer day. It discusses financial and legal issues as well.

  • 230. Hip  |  September 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    @222-Skinner North has more than 100 students
    . They probably have close to 240 kids.

  • 231. junior  |  September 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    That is a good article, though I think that the issue of the 2% raises and extra school funds costiing over $100 million is a little silly. Not that many schools are going to take the offer, and the City could obviously cap the amount of funds available. With only 5 schools extending the day, there doesn’t seem to be much danger of reaching tens of millions of dollars.

    As far as the lawsuit goes, hmmm. What does the union have to gain there? Seems they really do have a tin ear as far as PR goes. If they do succeed, they are going to be painted with the image of the worst stereotypes of union employees. Here, the union is taking dramatic steps *to prevent teachers from accepting a deal to work longer hours.* This plays into the widespread stories about the gung-ho union reps who harass other teachers when they see them putting in additional time — the old “don’t work too hard, you make the rest of us look bad” mentality.

    Somebody explain to me what the union has to gain with that lawsuit. I’m not understanding it.

  • 232. cps grad  |  September 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Chicago Lab (where Rahm sends his kids) goes from 8:30-2:10 in Nursery – K, and 8:30-2:20 in grades 1 &2. 3rd and 4th grade kids go from 8:30-3:20. All grades have early dismissal, once a week 1hr early in k-2, and twice a week 1hr earlier for grades 3 and 4. A 2nd grader at Lab gets PE 4 times per week, Library 1x w, Computer 1x w, Music 3 x w, and Art 2 x w at 45 minutes each. They get this all in a day that is 100 – 40 minutes shorter than what Rahm wants for CPS’s youngest kids. The 3rd and 4th graders get a world language too.


    For 6th-8th grades Chicago Lab goes from 8:00-3:25. (5th grade starts at 8:30). This makes me wonder if Rahm just took the schedule of Chicago Lab upper grades and thought “that would be good for CPS.” They also have 25 minute lunch (but kids this age can handle that). But if you look closely at the schedule you’ll see homeroom 10 minutes, break 10 minutes, Music 4 x a week for 45 minutes, PE 4 times a week for 45 minutes, and a couple more advisory and activity periods. They also get 2 early dismissals (1hr early) twice a week.

    Looks to me that Chicago Lab school put some thought into the needs of the students and what is developmentally appropriate. I wish CPS would do the same for kids who can’t afford a school like Chicago Lab.

  • 233. junior  |  September 10, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I guess it remains to be seen how the longer school day will be constructed to meet student needs. I remain cautiously hopeful. It is no doubt a fine balancing act, and one that will be made more difficult by the lack of funding for enrichment. One thing I do know — it can’t be worse than the cram-it-all-in-so-I-can-get-the-hell-outta-here closed-campus schedules of today. Do you suppose when the CTU negotiated the closed-campus option they put any thought into the needs of students and what is developmentally appropriate?

  • 234. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 6:32 am

    CTU did not propose the closed campus, CPS did, CPS wanted children to particpate in the federal lunch program and had to close the campus for lunch (hence the name closed campus) to do so, to get sufficient numbers to participate (much like the recent universal breakfast move that all schools now have to partcipate in). CPS was also unwilling to pay for enrichment or physical activity time, during the shool day, which was justified by the prevailing developmental education rhetoric of the 80s, that school should focus only on the three “R’s.” The kids can do their own enrichment/physical activity outside of school and would have time to do so. CTU opposed closed campus but ultimately the public, and CTU, bought into the CPS rhetotic and inducements.

  • 235. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 6:39 am

    The capital result was the destruction of many school playgrounds to build lunchroom facilities (with federal dollars), so that many schools are now without sufficient outside areas to accomodate thier shool population. This was also justified by the fact that many playgrounds were unsafely exposed to the violence of the streets.

  • 236. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 6:54 am

    . . . and further supported by the CPS argument (whether real or imagined) that the playgrounds are unusable/unsafe during the many frigid school months (ie, the CPS policy that outside is off-limits below 40 degrees).

  • 237. Grace  |  September 10, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Junior, I can’t speak for the union regarding its lawsuit. Many union members see Emmanuel’s approach to negotiating with them to be a “race to the bottom.” In other words, no concession wil ever be enough to safeguard jobs.

  • 238. Grace  |  September 10, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Typical, thanks for the explanation. A lot of parents can get confused by what CPS Central Office does and what the CTU does.

  • 239. Grace  |  September 10, 2011 at 7:01 am

    “Chicago faces daunting social, cultural, economic and demographic complexities. A longer school day is needed but in tandem with many changes. Studies of nations outperforming us aren’t definitive on a link between hours and results.”

    From James Warren, Chicago News Coop

  • 240. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Oh, I forgot to mention one of the other educational developement arguments CPS made to support closed campus: it would cut down on truency.

  • 241. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 8:02 am

    To summerize the above posts,the educational developement arguments CPS made for closed campus in the 80s:

    1) To learn, School should focus only on the 3 “R”s. (parents/kids take care of the rest).
    2) To learn, students need to not be hungry.
    3) To learn, children need to be safe.
    4) To learn, children need to not be truent.

    Whether you view these arguments as valid or cynical is up to you but that us how it was sold to the public and CTU by CPS.

    Now, when you rejigger the focus of the schedule, you have to rejigger the facilities and resources (space, means, money, number and function of personnel) to meet the new schedule’s priorities. But few, who say, ‘just do it,’ seems to care do that.

  • 242. mom2  |  September 10, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Thank you for the information on how closed campus came to be. Again it was that one size fits all mentality. What seems funny to me is that you said teachers opposed this idea but now, when they have a chance to change it, they keep the closed campus.

    I am one of those parents that feel we could “just do it” because I trust my school and the teachers there and know that they would mike great choices on how to best use those extra minutes to benefit the students at our school. I certainly don’t want cps to come up with another one size fits all mandate on how to use those minutes, so I don’t want to have a plan first. Give us the minutes and we will make it work best.

  • 243. cps grad  |  September 10, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Junior—I don’t like they cram everything into 5.75 hours, but at the same time I don’t think it is wise to overwork kids beyond their normal attention spans and consequently and burn them out. I can agree to a 7.5 day (as I said before 7 hours feels better), but the proposed plan is far too narrow and clearly has too little play time for the primary grades.

    Just look at the lunch issue. Most Kindergarteners, 1st and 2nd graders have a lot of difficulty eating their lunch in 20 minutes –, just read the comments on the STEM thread. I don’t think adding 5 minutes is really going to make that much of a difference. Plus the comments on STEM are by parents who pack a lunch for the kids so think about the kids who buy/receive their lunch at school. They first have to wait in line and some of them only get 10 minutes to eat by the time they make it through the line. Consequently they aren’t fully nourished. When the lunch period goes to 25 minutes things probably wont get much better since little kids eat very slowly, and with the longer day those kids will have to wait even longer before their next meal/snack. Hungry kids isn’t going to make learning any easier around 3:00. I just don’t understand why they can’t give the kids a 30 minute lunch period with 20 minutes recess.

    Also, why won’t anyone address that little kids just need more play time and should have more physical activity. If those little kids get restless, they aren’t going to be learning much. Build in extra recess time in the primary grades.

  • 244. magnet mom  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

    from district 299 a post about how complicated for teachers the waiver is: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”

    Is this really better for the kids?

  • 245. Like it is  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I am not sure what educational development arguments were made in the 1980s for this, but the closed campus actually started in the mid-1970s. And I think no one would argue about items 2, 3, and 4 today.

    The retelling of some these arguments seems off to me but also seems to be omitting some important considerations. More was going on here both financially and socially to induce this change, including an inability of the system to fund the necessary ancilllary staff, a parental push for closed campuses as fewer and fewer families had parents at home to permit students to leave school during the midday and a community push for it driven by concerns over the safety of students making 4 trips to and from school each day.

    I am not sure what CTU’s position on it was and I am pretty sure it does not matter now. A review of collective bargaining agreements shows an evolution of the closed campus beginning in the early 1970’s with the community in control of it and the teachers having to buy into it by a significant margin (67%). It was supposed to a year by year decision, with it defaulting back to an open campus except upon approval of parents and teachers. Somewhere along the line, this community-based exception morphed into a “benefit” for teachers that they have fought against. In schools where they tried to change it this year, it was overwhelmingly rejected, sometimes with parents on one side of the issue and teachers on the other.

    It appears that CPS is going to end the closed campus option and on top of that students are going to get more instruction. You rightly point out that there has got to be some “rejiggering” of things.

    Principals in the main think they can figure this out locally with the help of their staffs. They welcome the opportunity to get some badly needed additional time in subjects that are under provided right now – like Writing, Science, Art, Music, Technology, World Languages, and Social/Emotional Interventions. To achieve this, CPS will need more staff who can provide these services — I just don’t see any way around that. The last point one that should bring CPS and CTU together, if CTU is willing.

    I am not a big fan of Karen Lewis and I am becoming less and less enamored of her as I watch her in this debate in which she has proved to be incompetent. The last thing that CPS or local schools need is Karen Lewis and the CTU dictating to them what they do with additional time, which Ms. Lewis seems to think is unnecessary. Not that she does not have educational expertise; I am sure she does. But she cannot wear the hat of education expert and labor leader at the same time because there’s an inherent conflict – and the worst instincts of the latter always seem to win and I am not buying that they are aligned.

    The educational decisions need to be made at the local level by the educational experts at the schools. But where Karen Lewis’s voice should be heard is on how much of the additional time should be borne by existing employees and what their days look like. Lewis was offered the opportunity to do this and the manner in which she has responded is perplexing and disturbing. I think things would be a lot better if she moved off her position and became less belligerent.

  • 246. Like it is  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Magnet Mom –

    This is a misinformation campaign started by CTU. What they fail to mention on items 1-8 are the substitute provisions which are actually more generous to teachers than their current preps. On compensation, the only thing they are waiving is the right to afterschool pay for the additional 40 minutes not the entirety of Appendix A.

    CTU is desperate and doing desperate things, including this misinformation campaign, attempting to punish people who voted for the waiver and other thuggish things. .

    So Magnet Mom, don’t buy into it.

  • 247. cps Mom  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Was this at a time that kids walked home for lunch eliminating or reducing the need for recess?

    Mom2 – I see your point, if there is an opportunity to change outdated policy why would we chose closed campus?

    I have heard that many schools do not have libraries Are they also without gymnasiums or do those rooms double as lunchrooms? Our school had no playground but did have some open area around the school. You can get very creative with limited space.

  • 248. cps grad  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:16 am

    .mom2– My neighborhood school (not a magnet/SE) already does the basics since ISATs are already at 98% meet/exceeds and 60% exceeds overall, so I’m not worried about math and reading. But I wonder how much my neighborhood school can add. They only have 10% low income students so the get very little funds extra funds and since CPS got rid of minimum funding this year the school gets less than $50,000 in discretionary funds. Some schools (with >90% low income) get discretionary funds in the millions. Schools use discretionary funds to buy teachers to make classroom sizes smaller and add the extras like music, art and foreign language. My neighborhood school already has a foundation to support the school, but it this neighborhood is solidly middle class and it isn’t gong to raise the same funds like some of the Lincoln Park, Near North side schools can. Since a teacher costs about $80,000 salary and benefits, and the school consistently has large class sizes, the discretionary funds go to buy classroom teachers. Not much will be left over for the extras. So CPS is imposing 90 extra academic minutes to teach them the math and reading these kids already know.

  • 249. cps grad  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:44 am

    @246—In the 80’s I went to CPS open campus school 9:00am-3:15pm. We walked home for lunch (12-1pm), plus primary grades (k-3) got 15 minutes of recess in the morning 10:15-10:30, and ten minutes of recess in the aftenoon 2:30-2:40. Grades 4,5 only got the morning recess and the upper grades 6-8 only got the lunch. A develeopmentally appropriate schedule. (It’s funny that I remember the times 25 years later).

    This was the same schedule that my mother had when she went to school in the 40’s. But she has fond memories of music, and singing in grade school. There was a piano in every classroom and every primary school teacher could play a few of the favorite songs like “Good Morning to You,” or “America the Beautiful.” Something changed along the way and slowly these pleasures of childhood have been taken from our kids. First they took away the music and then the recess. What a shame that the at one time the people in charge understood that the litteliest kids need play time, rest, music and recreation to learn. How unfortuante that we can’t do the same for our kids now even when we have the Brain Reseach that supports that traditioanl schedule. Studies have shown that kids who do music learn math better.

    Now I understand the world has become a more competative place. I know that kids need to learn things that weren’t even taught before like foreign language and computers. But can’t they extend the day 1 hour from the traditional schedule shorten lunch by 15 minutes (since noone goes home anymore) and have enough time for those extras?

  • 250. magnet mom  |  September 10, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Like it is- I would be interested in the details of these provisions that you mention in detail much the way the post is structured. I don’t think that the whole picture of what the waivers mean is clear exactly. I’m not ” buying ” what many of the factional communication is on this in any direction. I think do think that the teachers at my kid’s school are the best barometer of what works for my children as they are to a teacher hard working and amazing. I worry about any pressure they come under that gives them less power as they wield what little they have so well.
    Maybe you could detail the provisions side to side in a detailed way and let us in on any details that you have.

  • 251. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

    “What seems funny to me is that you said teachers opposed this idea but now, when they have a chance to change it, they keep the closed campus.”

    To that, I would note another commenters observation,which echos my own above:

    “More was going on here both financially and socially to induce this change, including an inability of the system to fund the necessary ancilllary staff,”

    Can anyone say that has changed?

    As to the claim that principal’s support open campus. Surely some do, if they have the money to provide for it, the personel to do it, and the facilities that are both sufficient and safe. (LIke our host said, more staff was required by her principal before they went to it) Other principals just don’t like change and do not even present or support the option to staff. Others, perhaps, are still convinced by the reasons it was adopted in the first place.

    Regardless, you are right, now they will all go to a longer day (closed) model, without (and here is the well grounded fear, imho) the money, the personel, or the facilities to suceed.

  • 252. TYTY  |  September 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I myself was a little concerned about the longer day too, but then I read an article about most of CPS students graduating out of high school are not making the grade in college for their freshman year,(2.7or below GPA) and these are not students from low performing high schools, alot were from some of the best h.s in Chicago, so now I am concerned if they are getting enough in school and need more instruction.

  • 253. cps Mom  |  September 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    @250 How is it that the approximate 1/3 schools manage open campus now?

    I’m sure there are many creative structuring and scheduling solutions. Why is it that schools that have the facilities, parental support and funds have no open campus? You make a valid point yet there are many exceptions.

    The longer day calls for recess, correct? Does recess define open or closed campus? I ask these questions only to understand, other parents may be confused as well.

    Right now, our administration at both the city and state level is operating off fumes. I can’t see how we can hold off progress in our schools due to “well grounded fear”. I think everyone here agrees that we do need to be smart about our plan. Adding time to the school day is a smart development. I am happy to see an administration that acts in the face of funding problems and is forward thinking enough to believe that an economic downturn is probably the best time to retrench and build up….especially when it comes to the future, our children.

  • 254. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    “How is it that the approximate 1/3 schools manage open campus now?”

    Because they have the money, the personel, and the facilities.

    “Why is it that schools that have the facilities, parental support and funds have no open campus?”

    That would depend on the school (which are you talking about?) .but generally it is becasue the adminstration of the school has an opppositonal or poor leader.

    “The longer day calls for recess, correct? Does recess define open or closed campus? ”

    No. Recess (indoor or outdoor) is generally provided in all schools for primary students, (and occasionally but seldom for some older students in a closed campus). In the “open campus”: (which is now closed, really, all kids get a 45 minute lunch/recess and younger kids may get more recess). In the new longer day, we will see, the proposal is: “20 min recess and 25 for lunch.

  • 255. T  |  September 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I find it unfair they added the extra time after we enrolled our kids into the school (STEM) as the mom of a kindergartener I think 815-345 is to long especially since lunch is only 20min not giving the younger kids enough time to even finish their lunches. Also I live a distance from the school so this will make our day considerably longer, traffic is worse at 345. Point being if I knew the extended hours first I would have chosen a difernt school .

  • 256. A Chicago reader  |  September 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Check it out. Over at the Chicago Reader, Ben gives a shout-out to Ken with kudos to George and meh to Kate. CPS stuff.

  • 257. A Chicago reader  |  September 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Not to worry, people. Your children will thrive in any school environment and if not, you’ll move them. It’ll all be OK by the time they decide on college.

  • 258. A Chicago reader  |  September 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Also, check out Diane Ravitch’s “‘School Reform’: A Failing Grade” in the new New York Review of Books. Very clear.

  • 259. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    “I think everyone here agrees that we do need to be smart about our plan.”

    True that. Critically, it needs to have effective time use, be funded, be staffed, and apporiately housed.

  • 260. A Chicago reader  |  September 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    And finally, it’s interesting to read the formal NLRB Complaint just filed against CPS by CTU. (Who knew a complaint could be so “juicy”?! It includes which profanity Rahm Emanuel used toward Karen Lewis. He’s such a mench, eh?). See Daily Kos – the complaint is posted there.

  • 261. A Chicago reader  |  September 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Opsie. It’s the IELRB, not NLRB.

  • 262. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    “I can’t see how we can hold off progress in our schools”

    I think this maybe a critcal difference of view. You equate progress as “more.” I don’t That’s not progress, that’s regress, a damaging and expensive regress too. The saying is, ‘more of the same and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.’

    (Also, we do have sucessful (brilliant) schools on the old schedule, so maybe we should do more of that, whatever that is)

  • 263. CPSDepressed  |  September 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Did we have brilliant schools on the old schedule, or did we have schools with brilliant students? When only about 8% of CPS HS juniors are meeting college readiness benchmarks, I’d say that some dramatic changes are needed systemwide.

  • 264. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Dramatic? Clearly, like no more classes with 38 kids.

  • 265. cps Mom  |  September 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Did I say “more of the same”? I use the word “enrichment” many times. No doubt teachers and parents feel that there is not enough time in the day to do all that is necessary in a rigorous curriculum. Is this insanity? Welcome to the looney bin.

  • 266. Typical  |  September 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Oh. No, that’s not insane. Just costs money and needs resources, that the District has not wanted to provide (that’s insane).

  • 267. Like it is  |  September 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I see a representation here that 1/3 of CPS elementary schools are on open campus. That’s not true. Something far north of 90% are on closed campuses. I think like it’s like 20 out of 487.

  • 268. Mayfair Dad  |  September 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    @ 232. Bingo. Junior for President.

    (Grace: I know you like to quote James Warren, but he’s a dweeb. Seriously.)

    If CTU was smart, they would force Karen Lewis off the stage and hire Gerry Chico as their official spokesperson, or somebody else who could put two sentences together without sounding like a moron. Too bad Miguel Del Valle already has a cushy job.

  • 269. CPS momma  |  September 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Here’s a bit of what Ben Joravsky said in his blog:

    “…On the show with me is Kate Grossman, who writes editorials for the Sun-Times. That’s a pretty mainstream guest for Chicago Newsroom.

    “Unlike the other talk show hosts in Chicago, Ken’s not afraid to bring on people from the fringes. Which is why he’s had me on four times.

    “On one show, he even included George Schmidt — who edits Substance News and just might know more about the Chicago Public Schools than anyone else town. You’ll hardly ever see George on mainstream TV cause, you know — you wouldn’t want someone who actually knows something about the schools to be talking about them. At least, not on mainstream TV….”

  • 270. CPS momma  |  September 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Whoa. Almost each show of Chicago Newsrooms lately has CPS comment: http://chicagonewsroom.org/. Worth the while.

  • 271. cps grad  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Mayfair Dad- Gerry Chico now has his own job and is now the head of the ISBE.

    I used to think that Karen Lewis was a nut when I watched her on TV, but now, and I know that this opinion is not shared with a lot of people here, I see things a little differently. I came to this realization when I started READING her comments rather than watching her make them. I don’t agree with everything she has to say, but I find that a lot actually makes some sense and has some merit.

    I think she has two problems. 1) The tone of her delivery. In general her tone comes across as contentious, negative, and combative. 2) I also hate to say this, but I think that her general appearance undermines her. I’m not saying that anyone here is doing this, because there are plenty of people who would disagree with her regardless of appearance, but it has been shown that people tend to make judgments about a persons intelligence, social status, and level of education based on these personal style and weight. I am trying to make myself aware of this because it is an unconscious thing and I would rather not do this myself.

  • 272. cps grad  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    @ CPS momma, I watch the videos. Very interesting and thanks for posting the link.

  • 273. cps grad  |  September 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    oops “watched”

  • 274. cps grad  |  September 10, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Here is an interview with Karen Lewis on Chicago tonight. Even if you don’t watch the clip, please read the comments below it. The second comment is a perfect example of what I meant in my comment #270. Why do people need to talk about her weight?


  • 275. cpsobsessed  |  September 11, 2011 at 12:01 am

    That was interesting to watch. I haven’t actually seen her speak before, only read her words. At times I felt more sympathetic to her arguments than I have before, but by the end I felt like she was all about twisting words and using what I might call “immature” tactics. (Not saying doesn’t.)

    I think what’s most frustrating is how the argument seems to be more about the fight now (Rahm says he’s not backing down, so clearly neither will the CTU) than about the actual issue. It’s just tiring to keep listening to. Especially when it seems like many parents want something in the middle (little bit longer school day to bring us up to par with the rest of the country. Little bit extra money to compensate the teachers. If they could just both agree to THAT, we could move on to other topics….)

    Honestly, this is why I tend to tune out politics. It’s maddening.

  • 276. mom2  |  September 11, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Do you think CTU would agree to a “school day to bring us up to par with the rest of the country,” along with a 2% raise but they must continue to supervise the kids even during lunch and recess if they make lunch and recess a bit longer? I think, if they don’t do that this year, they won’t get anything next year – just a longer school day.

  • 277. grace  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Great information.
    –251 — The Trib editorial on the story did mention that it did not look at the students’ grades after freshman year. And that they may have gone up.

    I find that interesting b/c based on recent experience, many kids going into to more challenging school will take some time to get back to the level where they once performed. It takes time to adjust to all the changes both in the classroom and outside. It is fairly common, at least according to advisers at s.e. high schools, who see a lot of very bright kids used to getting As now finding Bs and Cs on their work. Many pull those grades up, and the advisers say that is what colleges look for. For what it’s worth.

    — 253 — Regarding the basic logistics of recess — For the past 10 years at least, Lenart has never had daily midday recess. It does have a beautiful playground, a cafeteria, a library, a gym, an auditorium, and a media center, so it could handle indoor recess in inclement weather for its fewer than 270 students. Many other schools are not so lucky. Some have enrollments of 900 and don’t have a cafeteria or library or decent play area.

    –257 — Would love the link, pls. thanks.

    — 267 — Warren’s a dweeb, Emanuel’s a mensch, Karen is a woman, black and overweight. I think I got it now.

    BTW, Chico’s law firm and his wife’s consulting firm have made many $$$ doing consulting work for CPS.

    But what’s a little conflict of interest in Chicago?

  • 278. Sped Mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I’d call Emanuel almost anything but a mench. He’s an abuser. Wonder if he uses such verbal abuse against his wife and childrenor does he save it for those outsde his family.

  • 279. Grace  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:48 am


    I agree with Kate Grossman of the Sun times when she said It’s safe to say that Emmanuel doesn’t see the CTU as a partner in any way.
    I think that was clear during his campaign.

    In Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio approaches similar to our mayor’s toward teachers unions are moving ahead. It is farthest along in Michigan, according to this link. This has been pushed by Sec’y Duncan. It sets up an unregulated and scalable nationwide market for educational products and services.

  • 280. cps Mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:52 am

    @265 – “resources that the district has not wanted to provide” or “can’t” provide. Clearly if there were resources for salaries, facilities, programming, amenities, supplies we would not have much of an argument at all. This is about doing what we can with what little we have.

    Grace you are clearly misquoting Mayfair Dad. I have not seen anyone bring up the issue of Karen being black (in fact I didn’t even know that she was until you brought it up and I don’t care). @270 discusses her weight – a point I happen to disagree with.

    Being in construction I have seen a side of unions that is not the “warm and fuzzy” experience that you have had – complete with inflatable rats (maybe the fuzzy part applies). My feeling is that unions do not need to be “busted” but they do need to become more mainstream.

    The rat is now a symbol that the developer did not overpay. In the same token, K. Lewis (or whoever is in charge) could greatly elevate teachers position and image by coming to the table and partaking in thoughtful discussion that truly considers the matters at hand – something she has blatantly refused to consider. If union law prevents this, then the unions are doing a disservice to their constituents.

  • 281. Grace  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Sped mom — that was a poor attempt at sarcasm. He seems to like to bully. I wonder if Mayor Daley thinks this is going well?

  • 282. Grace  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:56 am

    When I quote someone, I use quote marks.

    Maybe your issues with carpenters, plumbers, HVAC, electricians and other union workers have some bearing on education, but I don’t see it.

  • 283. cps Mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Clearly you don’t – same old tactics.

  • 284. Grace  |  September 11, 2011 at 9:10 am

    My apologies for the big mess. I was trying to quote Rod Estvan, from the district 299 blog. But somehow this got goofed up this time.

  • 285. Sped Mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Grace – Yes, I heard the sarcasm – and enjoy it, but his behavior disturbs me so much that I just had to underscore that I am not impressed by his m.o. Dan Sinker milked it for humor (but sadly missed all the opportunity for judgement). Me, I judge. 😉

  • 286. Typical  |  September 11, 2011 at 10:58 am

    @279. “resources that the district has not wanted to provide” or “can’t” provide. Clearly if there were resources for salaries, facilities, programming, amenities, supplies we would not have much of an argument at all. This is about doing what we can with what little we have.”

    Again the disconnect, first you say you want a school progarm with enrichment for a rigorous curriulum, then you say there are no resources for it. That’s exactly what will happen in CPS. That’s the “plan.” Failure heaped on failure.

  • 287. cps Mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    @285 could be right if you equate enrichment with money. I do tend to look at learning opportunities for our kids in terms of people jumping in to do what’s needed. If everyone shared your outlook throwing out obstacles for every good idea we would all certainly share in your “failure heaped on failure”.

    I will be spending my own time volunteering mornings at 7AM because our school does not have the resources to staff. Many others donating time and money: many teachers working beyond their bounds. May need to polish the cloud off that crystal ball.

  • 288. cps grad  |  September 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    The CDC report on school-based physical activity and academic outcomes.


  • 289. Skinner North parent  |  September 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    My child has attended preschool since 3, generally from 8am to 5:30pm with weekly (voluntary) homework to turn in in an accelerated learning program. So I have no issue with the longer day as child participates in onsite afterschool at SN anyhow. The last thing I’m concerned about is my child being burned out; my child loves learning and being around other kids. I drop off and pick up so bussing is not an issue for us, either. It’s interesting to hear others’ concerns and I respect those concerns, but for our family and our child, this is a non-issue. SN has such outstanding teachers and overall approach to learning that I am fully confident that the teachers will make the apprpriate choices for each class. The school is soliciting input from each parent via an online survey, so and feel good about the process.

  • 290. CPSDepressed  |  September 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    When I was in elementary school, back in the dark ages, the 7th and 8th graders supervised lunch and recess for the primary grades. It was a huge honor to be assigned lunch duty because it was considered a sign of responsibility and maturity. I wonder if reinstating that could remove some of the angst over who will supervise during open campus as well as create new leadership challenges – educational opportunities! – for the older students.

    These problems aren’t impossible to solve.

    As for Emanuel, yes, he is a bully, but he has the backing of the voters for now and will keep it as long as he delivers. Daley was a bully, known for screaming at city hall staffers, and he kept his power for years. The voters supported him because he was able to deliver what they wanted – until he couldn’t, and then, he stepped aside.

  • 291. Mayfair Dad  |  September 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    @ 270 & 279

    I don’t know a ton about this, but this is what I do know. Pro-CTU posters feel free to disagree.

    Karen Lewis headed the CORE slate of candidates for leadership of the CTU. It is fair to say this faction was the most militant and extreme of the factions. In light of the proliferation of charter schools and the corporatization of public education, and with a contentious contract negotiation on the horizon, perhaps this was the logical choice. So she was chosen for her ideology, and not necessarily her media skills.

    As a public spokesperson, I find her lacking in credibility and it is difficult to take her seriously. I am not commenting on her ethnicity but her eccentricity. Her penchant for ill-chosen inflammatory comments, the dreadlocks, the moo moos, and if I’m being really honest, her obesity, add up to an unkempt caricature that damages the union’s professionalism. She does not look or sound professional. (I don’t agree with Rahm’s boorish behavior – totally unprofessional for other reasons).

    Am I a horrible person for stating the obvious? Ask yourselves how many people feel the same way I do. Don’t we elect a president that looks and sounds presidential? In the public eye, image matters. Shallow but true.

  • 292. Skinner North parent  |  September 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Mayfair Dad – I think your comments regarding Karen Lewis are unfortunate. She may not fit your image of professional or ideal. I personally don’t care whether or not a person wears locs or is overweight; don’t see why that is relevant. What is relevant is the person’s position on behalf of those whom she represents, ability to convey thoughts effectively, garner support, and lead. If she is unable to do this, it has less to do with her hair style or weight and more to do with her positions and ideas.

  • 293. CPSDepressed  |  September 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    No, Karen Lewis does not look professional. I can look past that, although it is surprising that a leader would not try harder because much of leadership is setting an example. Of course, she probably never had a review where “professional demeanor” or “client-centered affect” was on the list of job criteria. She truly may not know any better.

    She should know better about her choice of words, though, and that’s what I can’t get past. The voters were with Emanuel; she may have had a chance to win parents over to her side, but she failed. I also do not understand how she could be in such a high-profile position and not have any public relations help. I heard a rumor that CTU just hired PR counsel two weeks ago, and if that’s true, that’s evidence of how clueless the leadership is. Why would you start a major offensive against like this without having a plan for how to talk to people? You can bet the mayor has a plan – and that he has stuck to it perfectly.

  • 294. Commenter  |  September 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    @292 – Why do you say Karen Lewis doesn’t look professional? Is it because she doesn’t look like you?

  • 295. magnet mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I’m not sure if we know how the”voters” feel about this issue — have we seen a poll yet? How do people feel about a small handful of schools getting a massive funding boost while other languish? I guess the parents at underfunded schools without libraries might wonder how ok this is when they have been told for decades there is no money for them. Really the last thing STEM needs on top of the six million dollars they have already for a very small school is more money and a bunch of cameras all over on the first day of school.
    I think the Mayor is creating a spectacle at the start of the school year that does not engender a focused peaceful start to the school year. He could surely have picked this fight weeks ago when the impact on students and the overall environment for teachers and families would not have been so unsettled. This tactic doesn’t bode well for his work for my kids. I guess he forgot the thank-you note for the 3% score increase.
    As for using kids for free labor as opposed to them working on their own work… The last thing I want my kids doing is supervising lunch.
    A well planned, thought out way for an upper grade student to have a deep and intellectually useful responsibility at school would be great– lunch duty is not that.
    Well measured and deeply thought out doesn’t seem to be the hallmark for any of the Mayor’s CPS plans. I really expected more.

  • 296. magnet mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    sorry that’s “others languish”

  • 297. cps Mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    @294 – some schools already have merit club for 7th and 8th graders. In their free time and before and after school they help teachers, buddy up with Kinder and 1st graders in the library, run errands for admin, photocopy, help grade and file papers and yes, even help monitor recess and lunch. They earn merit points and awards.
    I’m sure any other suggestions to creatively utilize our scarce resources needed for teachers and classrooms would be helpful.

  • 298. Working mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    I am surprised by the comments from #190 Mayfair Dad re: Karen Lewis’ appearance. Usually your comments are insightful and reflect habits of a “critical thinker.” Moo moos, dreadlocks, caricature, obesity…Your description does not fit within the stereotypical standards of American beauty. Is this what you are trying to get folks to buy into? Instead, ask yourself how many people feel the same way you do!

  • 299. Working mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Correction: above post meant for comment #290 MF.

  • 300. Typical  |  September 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Mayfair Dad asks:

    “Am I a horrible person for stating the obvious?”

    Yes. Since you asked. Both, that you say it, and that you think it “obvious.” You’re a boor. Plain and simple. When you start pilloring others for thier weight and hair and clothes, at least we will know your an equal opportunity boor.

    Mayfair Dad asks:

    Don’t we elect a president that looks and sounds presidential?

    Apparantly, you didn’t notice, we recently had a president — for two terms — who regularly had difficulty “sounding presidential.” We recently had a mayor, for over twenty years, who had trouble with pronounciation, subject verb agreement, and sentence construction. There are dozens of governors and 100s of CEOs, who tip the scales. De Valle, the guy you like, as well.

    And, you don’t respect women with dredlocks or loose fitting clothes.

    Yes, you’re horrific. Since you asked.

  • 301. anotheryear  |  September 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    @296 – it is totally against Board policy to allow students to monitor other students, and rightly so. There are legal issues and insurance issues involved here. I certainly hope that the schools that are using 7th and 8th grade students to monitor lunches also have a CPS employee standing there with them. If a child get hurts while a parent or another student is in charge, there will be no insurance coverage and they will be held liable. If your child is involved with this, ask that he not take part any longer. Believe me, if there is a problem, CPS will let you hang.

  • 302. Working mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    @typical: Very good examples you mentioned in your post to Mayfair Dad. In all honesty, MFD’s credibility has seriously dropped several notches down on my credibility measuring stick…sad but true.

  • 303. Typical  |  September 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    “How do people feel about a small handful of schools getting a massive funding boost while other languish?”

    Like the system is corrupt. It has to be, since not one penny of this money is in the public budget that the board passed. How’s that for public accountability.

  • 304. cps Mom  |  September 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    @300 – referring to my post….merit students HELP monitor other students. Of course there are CPS employees around. This is silly…it’s a real program within CPS.

  • 305. cps grad  |  September 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    There is nothing wrong or unprofessional with the way Karen Lewis dresses. Just because she doesn’t wear a size 6 Ann Taylor suit doesn’t mean she isn’t professional. Unfortunately when most people think “professional” they are really saying “tailored”, and tailored suits are very unflattering on many overweight women.

  • 306. Myron Miner  |  September 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Now these greedy teachers have gone too far. They’re asking the city to give them money that should be going to the Cubs. We can’t afford to use taxpayer money to reward long term failures like the teachers when Wrigley Field needs to be modernized:


  • 307. cps grad  |  September 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    This is what the union wants for the longer school day.. Isn’t this the same thing that parents want?


  • 308. WestLooper  |  September 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Mayfair Dad thank you for an honest opinion. I find Karen Lewis an ineffective CTU leader for lots of reasons unrelated to her appearance. She seems to be politically tone deaf and lacks any cognizance of her audience. I think she plays well neither to working stiffs who would love the benefits teachers receive nor to professionals that roll their eyes about a profession governed by a 100-page union contract.

    If I were a CTU voter, I would certainly consider these attributes and other attributes it is not considered polite to discuss in making my vote.

  • 309. cps grad  |  September 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Everyone needs to fill out the survey at Raise your Hand. Since they are a part of the “Task Force” that will help shape the longer day.


  • 310. magnet mom  |  September 12, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Why is Raise Your Hand on the task force? They don’t represent the economic or racial/cultural diversity of Chicago. The Raise Your Hand parents have the know how and education to make an extension work for their children. Most parents in CPS do not have the luxury of external fundraising or political clout to make an extended day a sure positive for their children. What will happen to the kids in the poorest schools?

  • 311. CTU public relations  |  September 12, 2011 at 7:44 am

    @292 – What do you mean CTU has no public relations help? They have “typical”.

  • 312. cps Mom  |  September 12, 2011 at 7:51 am

    @308 thanks for the info. I always appreciate it when parents and teachers advocate for the kids. I will fill it out.

  • 313. Southside  |  September 12, 2011 at 8:30 am

    The poorest kids, despite good intentions, will likely get “the shaft”.

  • 314. Grace  |  September 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

    290 — Imagine there is a child in CPS who also has weight issues. Or wears locks. Or wears clothes you disapprove of. Or imagine a child with learning disabilities. Should that child’s comments and questions be dismissed b/c of her appearance?

    Re: Lewis’ demeanor, Imho, if I had spent 22 years teaching chemistry to high school students, I might have a similar no-nonsense demeanor. And if the mayor had just told me to —— off, I might be a bit defensive.

    We are so used to attractive people smiling at us and telling us a load of nonsense on FOX and other stations.

  • 315. CPSDepressed  |  September 12, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Lewis looks unkempt. I don’t care what size you are or what race you are, you can use an iron or get a bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser. If you are poor (although I doubt Lewis is – just how much does she make, anyway? I can’t find CTU’s Department of Labor filing), you can always hang your clothes to steam in the shower.

    Maybe to you, Lewis comes across as a sharp leader who has her act together and can inspire people throughout the city to appreciate her point of view, but to me, she comes across as someone who cannot be bothered to try to make her case.

    You all can keep defending her, but whatever she’s doing, she’s not picking up support outside of CTU.

    But clearly, people love her. She tells them what they want to hear, even if she is unable to get anything done. As a parent and a taxpayer who has trouble with 4% raises for all teachers in this economy and who is in support of a longer school day, Karen Lewis’s style is all right by me!

  • 316. Grace  |  September 12, 2011 at 9:30 am

    My point was a little broader than merely commenting on Lewis’ “wrinkled” clothes and its effect on her message.

  • 317. Grace  |  September 12, 2011 at 10:17 am


    This story is about the new NYC schools chancellor, Dennis Walcott, and his approach to working with teachers and principals.

  • 318. Mayfair Dad  |  September 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

    To the chorus defending K. Lewis’ image:

    Yes, I was a little “boorish” in my description of Karen Lewis, and caught some well-deserved flack for it.

    She is an iconoclast. She is genuine. She is secure in who she is and does not feel the need to comply with outdated ideas about what is appropriate dress in a high profile public relations position.

    I guess I have spent way too much time among senior executives in corporate America and I’ve lost touch with what matters. My bad.

  • 319. cpsobsessed  |  September 12, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Thanks MayFairDad. You get a popcicle after dinner tonight.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 320. cps Mom  |  September 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I think CPS Depressed needs a “like” button too.

  • 321. Grace  |  September 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Disagreeable men earn more, says study

    BY KARA SPAK Staff Reporter/kspak@suntimes.com
    September 11, 2011 11:50AM

    At work, it pays to be a jerk — literally.

    A paper co-authored by a University of Notre Dame professor shows that moderately disagreeable men earn an average of 18 percent, or $9,772, more than the average of moderately agreeable men.

    Both groups of men, though, earn more than the average salary for women — regardless of their workplace disposition. And while women are still lagging behind men in pay, disagreeable women earned 5 percent, or $1,828, over their more pleasant peers.

    “I don’t think anyone would look at that and think that’s fair, that’s OK,” said Timothy Judge, a Notre Dame management professor and paper’s author. “Our job is not to describe the ideal world but the world as it is.”

    Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, “Do Nice Guys — and Gals — Really Finish Last? The Joint Effects of Sex and Agreeableness on Income,” was written by Judge, Cornell University’s Beth Livingston and Charlice Hurst of the University of Western Ontario.

    “Nice guys do not necessarily finish last, but they do finish a distant second in terms of earnings,” the paper says. “Yet, seen from the perspective of gender equity, even the nice guys seem to be making out quite well relative to either agreeable or disagreeable women.”

    Judge said he was inspired to research the wage difference between agreeable and disagreeable men and women by a few famous faces, including Martha Stewart’s.

    “I had done a few studies on the gender wage gape but the real thing that made me think of it was the Martha Stewart trial when she was prosecuted for making false statements,” Judge said. “This was a couple years after Bill Clinton did the same thing. She went to jail and he didn’t.”

    Hillary Clinton also made him wonder how people’s personality and gender played out in their careers.

    “I think she is a disagreeable person, but the passion that it arouses, it is amazing compared to disagreeable male leaders,” he said.

    The researchers used interviews with thousands of people in different stages of their careers to come to the conclusion that “ ‘niceness’ — in the form of the trait of agreeableness — does not appear to pay.”

    It’s not all bad news for pleasant people. Agreeable people are more likely to value and maintain interpersonal relationships, be social, are more helpful and cooperative and are better liked by their peers, the study says.

    But you can’t take that to the bank. Judge said he is interested in further researching if agreeable people take a pay hit because they are less assertive in salary negotiations or because employers are biased against them.

    Most people who are classified as disagreeable in the study may in fact be mostly amicable. Highly disagreeable people “may be associated with psychopathy,” however.

    “Most disagreeable individuals are unlikely to suffer from clinical psychological disorders, and as evident in the myriad acts of corporate malfeasance . . . antisocial behaviors do not preclude earning higher incomes,” the paper says.

  • 322. Sped Mom  |  September 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I’m old. I’ve learned that you really can’t tell much about the content of a person’s character by their clothes or pedigree. Anyone can wear a sharp suit. A Harvard grad can be dumb as wood. The gas station guy can be a brilliant problem-solver. I guess Chicago’s mayor is willing to act like an ass. And a CTU president is not required to look like a magazine model.

    Always best to look a someone’s actions.

  • 323. cps grad  |  September 12, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    @321- Well said.

  • 324. Typical  |  September 13, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Tribune has been reading this blog and decided to look at the suburban data, the private school data, the non-existant research, the unreliablility of ISBE and school data, and mentions (but does not investigate) a disagreement between CPS and CTU about the current average daily instruction time.


  • 325. Sped Mom  |  September 13, 2011 at 8:54 am

    God almighty. I’d give a freaking Pulitzer to the reporter who gets off his duff and investigates the facts.

  • 326. CPSDepressed  |  September 13, 2011 at 9:24 am

    The Tribune is too busy protecting us from Doonesbury saying not-nice things about Sarah Palin.

  • 327. Junior  |  September 13, 2011 at 10:42 am

    @323 Typical

    The disagreement is 12 minutes. CTU says kids get 5 hours and 20 minutes of instruction, and CPS says they get 5 hours and 8 minutes — both of those days are on the low end of the day compared to national data, and if you take into account the short school year, there is a multiplier effect that puts CPS students far below average in instructional minutes.

    Of course, some schools in CPS get even less than 5 hours , because they (mostly closed campus) count recess with an on-duty teacher as instructional time.

  • 328. Grace  |  September 13, 2011 at 10:55 am

    CPS’ school day not that much shorter than those in some suburban districts

    Daily minutes vary district to district, and state is at a loss to verify the overall accuracy

    By Joel Hood and Diane Rado, Tribune reporters

    September 13, 2011
    The tongue-lashings Chicago Public Schools has endured in the last several weeks over its short school day — U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called it a “disgrace” — have overshadowed the fact that that many suburban students aren’t receiving much more instruction time than CPS.

    Affluent Glen Ellyn’s two elementary districts both offer five hours, 15 minutes of instruction daily, only seven minutes more than CPS reports.

    “We clearly see that we are lagging behind in time,” said Superintendent John Perdue of Community Consolidated School District 89. On average, the students in his district spend about 26 minutes a day on science, a figure Perdue called “insufficient” to produce the scientists and engineers who can compete in the global economy.

    In Elmhurst’s Community Unit School District 205, elementary school students receive about five hours, 20 minutes of instruction time a day in grades one through five.

    “Sometimes I feel so rushed,” said Laurie McDonough, a third-grade teacher at the district’s Channing Elementary School. “I would love to have another half-hour.”

    For all the talk about the importance of more time in the classroom, the length of the school day varies tremendously from district to district in Illinois. State school officials can’t say how much it varies, though, because so many districts incorrectly report the length of their day. Officials acknowledged to the Tribune that they are aware of errors in the data for dozens of schools, though they continue to publish it.

    With state data unreliable, the Tribune used class schedules from a handful of Chicago-area districts to highlight some of the discrepancies. So while seventh-graders in northwest suburban Elgin School District U-46 are getting less than five hours, 30 minutes of instruction on average, their counterparts in southwest suburban Plainfield District 202 are receiving about seven hours, according to state records.

    That’s a big difference, but one that doesn’t necessarily translate into student performance, experts say. Indeed, at a time when urban and suburban districts across the U.S. are lengthening their school days in an effort to improve tests scores and student learning, no studies conclusively link more instruction time with higher achievement.

    … There’s more.

  • 329. PostCPS  |  September 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    the dominoes are still falling. . . applause for disney magnet please.

  • 330. cps Mom  |  September 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Congratulations Disney II and Mayfair dad!!!!! You were right, they are the model school.

  • 331. Mayfair Dad  |  September 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Dear Disney II Families,

    Today the faculty of Disney II Magnet approved with overwhelming majority my proposal for adopting a longer school day and becoming part of the Chicago Public School’s Pioneer Program. We collectively demonstrated our strong commitment to work in the best interest of our students and school community. Here are our considerations:

    • Increase student achievement by providing sufficient learning time balanced with enrichment classes (Art, Technology, Music, and Physical Education)
    • Build upon our experience with the extended school day and potentially become a model for other schools in the city
    • Support the efforts of our families to sustain a longer school day through fundraising and grant writing

    In the past three years, we offered extended learning opportunities for our students and the results are proving that our efforts were successful. We also heard the voice of the parents, loud and clear, in support of the extended school day. Many families made direct donations, participated in fundraising, and worked endless volunteer hours. I wish to express my sincere gratitude for your continuous support.

    What does it mean moving forward?

    1. The new school schedule begins on September 26, 2011.
    2. The school day for students in KG-5 will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm.
    3. The extension of 45 min per day will be distributed as follows:
    -5 min will be added to the lunch period, increasing from 20 to 25 min
    -Additional time for special classes (Art, Music, Physical Education, Technology), increase
    from 240 min per week to 360 min per week.
    -Additional time will be added to the Tribes program (character education program)
    4. Morning and afternoon recess for Kindergarten students will be provided.

    As you all know, Disney II students have sufficient time in core curriculum areas such as literacy, mathematics, and science. It is our goal to provide more enrichment classes and activities focused on the social-emotional development of our students.

    I welcome your ideas and feedback regarding the school day. The parents from each grade level will be invited to “MORNINGS WITH ME”. This informal get together will give me a chance to personally connect with each family and get your feedback about the school day or any other topic.

  • 332. Mayfair Dad  |  September 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Letter from the principal at Disney II. A big round of applause and heartfelt thank you to a wonderful and caring teaching staff. Right on!

  • 333. PostCPS  |  September 13, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    330 – Fantastic letter. All CPS schools should be sending out the same one. Well thought out and good luck to all

  • 334. Working mom  |  September 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Congrats to Disney II. Just curious…how much time is spent each day on core subjects at D2?

  • 335. Empehi  |  September 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Haha: Paid protesters. Very funny stuff: http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=2588#comments

  • 336. Junior  |  September 13, 2011 at 3:17 pm


    No actual evidence of paid protesters, just an insinuation.

    Though it’s Stalin and not Hitler, I’m gonna have to invoke Godwin’s law here. You lose, George.

  • 337. mom2  |  September 13, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I don’t see Disney II mentioning all the extra hours students will sitting by themselves working on a computer. Grace will be disappointed. LOL.

    Disney II sounds like a wonderful school. Good for them.

  • 338. Mayfair Dad  |  September 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    @ 336: the only one sitting by themselves working on a computer is Grace, looking for more half-baked, pro-CTU propaganda to post!


    Said with a smile…

  • 339. Gayfair Dad  |  September 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    What about my neighborhood school?

  • 340. cpsobsessed  |  September 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I’m at the Brizard Lewis discussion and just got interviewed by channel 2 news. I told them the name of the blog to which they replied “cute.”. Hmmm. Anyhow, I may be on channel 2 tonight. Big excitement. I have a feeling it’s a lot of teachers here. I may be the only one cheering for JC at times….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 341. Mayfair Dad  |  September 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    @ 339: if the situation get really ugly, call the hotline and Gayfair Dad and I will come rescue you.

  • 342. cpsobsessed  |  September 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I am surrounded by super pro union teachers. Probably the 299 crowd. They hooted and wooted when lewis was announced. :). I may be calling…….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 343. SuJe  |  September 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    CPO: I’m here too cheering for JCB 🙂

  • 344. cpsobsessed  |  September 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Tough crowd!! 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 345. SuJe  |  September 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Sorry, CPSO, that is 🙂

    This is actually kind of fun.

  • 346. cps Mom  |  September 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    what is she wearing?…..

  • 347. cpsobsessed  |  September 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Just kidding. She looks fine. Better than I do, that’s for sure.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 348. Sped Mom  |  September 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Oh, Grace wasn’t sitting alone;she and I were passing notes &whispering. 😉

  • 349. SN Mom  |  September 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    It has been reported that Nash Elementary School has also voted in favor of extending its day.

  • 350. cpsobsessed  |  September 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    At the Brizard-Lewis event, they said it is now 7 schools.
    Which sent a murmur through the crowd.

    I have to finish a work report tonight, so probably tomorrow will write about the event.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 351. WendyK  |  September 14, 2011 at 12:15 am

    #309. We (Raise Your Hand) are asking those very questons. I have no idea why you would assume otherwise. We are well aware of the inequities in the system, and while our steering committee may not be racially diverse (you are wrong to make assumptions about economics), we are trying quite hard to advocate for the betterment of the whole system, not just our select schools . Our group formed organically last year as a result of the budget crisis and we haven’t turned anyone down who has said they want to work 50 hours a week for free and read about 300 emails a day.

  • 352. magnet mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Why not create a board that has complete racial/cultural economic diversity? I guess that’s not “organic”?
    The larger needs of poor parents and students are as invisible as always. CPS invited you(Raise Your Hand) because you are pro longer day not because you are nuanced. CPS should be reaching out to school leaders/ parents in the poorest schools in the large proportion that this population represents in our city schools to sit at the table but they won’t. The payoff for your organizing of well educated and resourceful parents has been political power– no harm in that. But as you look across the table at this committee or working group I think you will see few dissenters. Raise Your Hand isn’t bringing diversity to the table. Why would it assume that it represents for it? Better to advocate for many many other voices to be included.
    The Mayor’s “plan” doesn’t have any depth and it has already created an extremely tensed atmosphere for teachers and families who wonder what the repercussions are of not lengthening their day if it isn’t going to be the best way to grow achievement for their children. In many cases without a solid framework for changing the day at this point it won’t. Buying an extra nine months for many schools may result in a much better outcome.
    Enjoying a peaceful and studious start to this school year is a luxury we will not have this year. Certainly I am not saying that Raise Your Hand is responsible for this. The Mayor bears that but he could care less.

  • 353. Typical  |  September 14, 2011 at 6:23 am

    CPSO: cute! 🙂

  • 354. cpsobsessed  |  September 14, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Regarding Raise Your Hand, I see “organic” to mean that a smallish group of parents stepped up to the plate where nobody had before to start a stronger voice for CPS parents.

    These are the few that are willing to give up their own time to advocate for what is *generally* regarded as improvements in the schools in a way that hasn’t been done before via forging positive connections with CPS officials.

    As Wendy has alluded to, I’m sure the RYH people would love to have others join the group to ease the burden. But you can’t *make* people get involved, nor can you just find some “diverse” people and request that they sit on a board. When a group is small and over-worked, “organic” is the way it has to go, typically.

  • 355. mom2  |  September 14, 2011 at 7:06 am

    @Magnet Mom – I am not part of Raise Your Hand, but I wonder about your comments. How poor is poor enough for someone to be the right kind of person for Raise Your Hand? What is the dollar figure in your head? Do they also have to be black or brown or if they are poor enough and white, would that be OK with you? And, once they find these people that represent our city schools, how will they get them to come and participate? Don’t teachers already have an impossible time just trying to get those types of parents to come to report card pick up days? I believe they often offer food as an incentive to come. Really poor parents have a hard enough time just getting through each day. If they came, I’m sure they would be welcome. And why do you assume that everyone that is working so hard for our schools only cares about their school and their children? How do you know how much money all those people make? I for one am thankful that they are taking time away from their lives to try to make a difference for all our children.

  • 356. mom2  |  September 14, 2011 at 7:07 am

    @353 – we were typing at the same time.

  • 357. WendyK  |  September 14, 2011 at 7:29 am

    I personally don’t support this 7.5 hour move, not sure why you assume our group does? I actually wrote a blog about it yesterday. You should check it out under “blogs” – ilraiseyourhand.org.

    The majority of people on the RYH steering committee have f/t jobs and are doing a ton of work as is and don’t have a lot of time to be doing anything more than we’re doing right now. I get what you’re saying that on the surface we don’t represent diversity, but you really have no idea what we stand for, or you would know that our concerns are not as you describe. We collaborate with a group called COFI and talk to them all the time about the needs of their parents on the south/west side that they’ve been organizing for 15 years. They’ve been trying to get recess mandated working with CPS and the state for 5 years.

    I refuse to put out a request based on race, although I do think it would be the politically correct thing to do and would quell some apparent perceptual problems. I am not saying we take on every issue that applies to cps, but we try to take on issues that overlap for all kids.Getting proper funding for a longer day is crucial to our group because we know that many schools can’t fundraise for extra programming. These things are at the heart of our advocacy, I have no idea, again, why you make assumptions. And our steering committee doesn’t have a unanimous view on how long the day should be.

    As far as this task force, it’s made up of groups that represent all parts of the city, mainly lower-income neighborhoods. Our group is not a rubber stamp and we don’t go to these things to approve of what cps is doing but to give constructive help to try and make the day better for our kids and voice some of the concerns that our members are sharing with us.

    Seriously, we are just one parent group working really hard. I encourage anyone who is interested with a good plan to start their own!

  • 359. CPSDepressed  |  September 14, 2011 at 8:09 am

    As for report-card pickup: I hate it, and I’m an educated white person with degrees from fancy school who expects my child to go to college. I think it’s a total waste of my time. It drives me crazy when people use failure to show up at report-card pickup as proof that some parents don’t care. I think the whole day is proof that no one cares about parents, honestly. I have a job that I can leave. Many people in this city do not.

    That being said. I agree with WendyK. And I live in Chicago and care deeply about what happens in the future here, which goes far beyond the success of failure of my relations. I’ll get my kid educated no matter what, if I have to do it myself. Very few kids in this city are in that position, and they need more time in school.

    I suppose CTU is hoping that if they have a more “diverse” parent base, they would have parents who agree that teachers need more pay for less work.

  • 360. cpsobsessed  |  September 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

    That Zorn piece is great. He summarizes many of the thoughts I’ve had about the union’s role in the longer-day issue (which were reinforced at the event last night) quite eloquently and succinctly.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 361. Junior  |  September 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Zorn has compiled a nice collection of studies and data:

    It’s safe to say that the study data are inconclusive and that reading these will be much like a Rorschach test — you can see in them what you want to see.

    I don’t know if there are any data that specifically deal with a Chicago-like scenario — going from a below-average length and highly compressed day to an average or above-average length day with more breaks. But it doesn’t take rocket science to realize that kids, like all people, require adequate breaks to maintain a good performance level.

    I do think that at some point of extending day lengths, kids reach a saturation level and teachers reach a burnout point. There would be diminishing returns as days get longer and longer. But, the problem with our curent cram-it-all-in-so-I-can-get-the-hell-outta-here closed-campus schedule is that we probably reach saturation/burnout more quickly because there are not adequate lunch/recess/PE/enrichment breaks to rejuvenate.

    A better day for CPS necessarily means a longer day, but a longer day isn’t necessarily a better day unless it is properly designed.

  • 362. mom2  |  September 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

    “It drives me crazy when people use failure to show up at report-card pickup as proof that some parents don’t care. ” Just to clarify, I mentioned report card pick up, not as a point to show that parents don’t care (I’m certain that most do care), but just to show that many parents don’t have time for even that small amount of time. So, expecting that someone like that could have the time to devote to RYH meetings and activities would be unlikely.
    (I thought of that scenario because I have family members that are teachers and they get quite frustrated when parents don’t show up to conferences when they so much want to work with the parents as a team to try to help a student. However, I, too, have had some of my own experiences with report card pick up that would not reflect that same dedication from the teachers and just seems like a big rush to get on to the next meeting).

  • 363. CPSDepressed  |  September 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Mom2 @361, thanks for the clarification. I know I don’t have time for RYH – those people are committed! And I am happy for it.

  • 364. HSObsessed  |  September 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I can’t believe they’re doing this school by school, one at a time. There are more than 400 elementary schools (union, non-charter) in CPS, and 7 have signed on so far, after weeks of contentious debate. This can’t be the right way. Not that I have an alternative plan, mind you, but this method seems crazy.

  • 365. Mayfair Dad  |  September 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    @ 363. Rahm is willing to bet that, on a school-by-school vote, teachers will endorse the extended day. If a citywide vote was left in the hands of the union, you would get a different result. If Rahm reaches a critical mass or at least makes a good showing, he wins. There isn’t enough money to incentivize every school to come on board, but every school that does is another thorn in CTU’s side and erodes CTU espirit d’ corps. Daily coverage by mainstream media paints Rahm as a can-do champion for kids. Zorn essay is spot on re: CTU’s muddled message.

  • 366. cps Mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    @356 Wendy – other than CTU turning down the opportunity, who else is on the committee?

  • 367. Mayfair Dad  |  September 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    @ 360. I agree with your well reasoned post. Most parents I know would choose an unproven longer day with breathing space for recess and extras vs. an overly compressed day designed as a negotiated benefit for unionized teachers.

    Is 90 minutes the magic number? It would have been significantly less disruptive if this was figured out prior to the start of the school year. It now appears the disruption was part of the mayor’s strategy from the start, or at least tolerable in his eyes. He is manipulating parent/taxpayer sentiment and winning.

    Karen Lewis finds herself backed into a corner. It is unlikely she will get the 75% she needs to call a strike to press for the 4% raise in exchange for the extended day. Each day that passes, the decision to decline the 2% compromise offer looks like a poor decision. And along comes JC with a bag of money for any school staff that breaks with the union and embraces a longer school day.

    Classic divide and conquer move by Rahmulus.

  • 368. WendyK  |  September 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    @365 CPS Mom – Clarice Barry – Principals & Administrators Association, SEIU Local 73 (Service Employee International Union), MIKVA challenge, Apostolic Church of God, Neighborhood Parents Network, Teach Plus, Chicago Park District, Chicago Transit Auth…ority, New Life Covenant Church, Healthy Schools Campaign, Chicago Public Education Fund, Urban Education Institute, Sen. Kimberly Lightford 4th District, New Schools for Chicago, Noble Street Charter, Illinois Action for Children, Raise Your Hand, Father Michael Pfleger Faith Community of Saint Sabina, Chicago Housing Authority, Enlace, COFI- Community Organizing & Family Issues, Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Advance Illinois, 17th Ward/Education Committee, Father Bruce Wellems Holy Cross – IHM Catholic Church

  • 369. Missed It  |  September 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm


    Anyone hear this questioner’s exchange with Brizard & Lewis last night? Any more info?

  • 370. cps Mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Sounds like a pretty diverse crowd to me. Interesting and agreeable to see private and charters involved. Demonstrates a tone of cooperation.

  • 371. SuJe  |  September 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    @368: The Substance post is quite slanted. As far as I can remember, none of the contest winners were restricted in time. I don’t recall any of them being cut off. So, Salazar got the same treatment. To make more time for audience questions, the moderator could have cut the time Lewis and Brizard got to repeat their talking points. Regarding Salazar, many of the teachers near me scoffed at his remarks. But rather than help their case, it just illustrated to me that there is no room for disagreement among the ranks. I thought he brought up some valid points. For example, he asked why the union protects bad teachers. Instead of actually addressing his question, Lewis blew him off and said such questions were distractions. As a parent, I think his questions was valid. Sure, bad teachers are the exception (or so we hope!), but if there is the perception that they are being protected, then that perception should be addressed in a fair manner. I’m new to this, but I don’t understand the suspicious tone of the Substance post. It seems Ray Salazar is a pretty well-known guy.

  • 372. Hmmmmm  |  September 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    @368 – If he was such a distraction and a “filibuster” as the article points out…..why don’t you remember?

  • 373. SuJe  |  September 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Sorry, that is “question was,” not “questions,” in my previous post. (The editor in me couldn’t let that one slide!)

  • 374. Sped Mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Of course, this really interested me:

    (pasted from District 299)

    Rodestvan said 11 hours, 32 minutes ago

    I believe that both Mr. Zorn and Alexander are looking a little bit too much at the present and not enough at the future. Yesterday before CEO Brizard and President Lewis had their public discussion or debate JC Brizard was at my office at Access Living for one and a half hours. He met with a group of former CPS students with disabilities and heard their post graduation struggles and successes. A few are college graduates, and some are living on SSI, he even heard the story of a CPS student with psychological problems who was living in a storage container the day he graduated from CPS because his parents had thrown him out. While every one of these former CPS students had very legitimate complaints about the special education system they also talked about individual teachers that cared for and nurtured them.

    We discussed the future of special education in CPS, a longer school day for the future was assumed and how that could be benefit the wide array of students with disabilities in CPS was also generally discussed. As readers of D299 could imagine I had many thoughts on that topic as did Access Living’s CEO Marca Bristo and our advocacy director Amber Smock.

    What I think both Alexander and Zorn are missing in this discussion is that both the CPS and CTU are positioning themselves for the contract discussions that will take place for FY13 and beyond. The problems the CTU and CPS are having I think are based on the radical change in the framework of the structure of teaching that SB7 will allow. Both sides are being given legal advice and are being pressured by constituents. As I have stated over and over again the CTU is put in a very difficult situation by SB7 and CPS is loath to open areas up for bargaining that SB7 allow them to keep closed.

    While Alexander is correct that the number of schools that will waive the existing contract provisions are likely to be statistically insignificant they also create models for implementation for FY 13. As has been pointed out on this blog it does appear that CPS will give schools that are making AYP and are not under the NCLB gun much greater flexibility in shaping their own longer school days than schools that are not making AYP. The CTU and many teachers in schools with deep poverty are not in agreement with that perspective.

    Access Living is obsessed with the lack of independent living skills of seriously disabled CPS students who graduate or age out of the system. We are also obsessed with the fundamental illiteracy of higher functioning students with disabilities who are effectively unemployable. We are deeply disturbed by the number of students with psychological problems that end up in prison. We are agitating for radical change in the current special education model along with stable funding for services. Given the fiscal crisis of the state and city that stable funding is in question and we have little hope for increased funding for special education services.

    The question is not simply who is more competent, CPS or CTU, or how strategic the Mayor has been in all of this, it is about the future of education in our city.

    Rod Estvan

  • 375. Sped Mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I could be wrong, but a union contract usually protects only a worker’s right to DUE PROCESS. So, a principal can still fire a teacher who is documented as “bad” but must follow due process. You might want to encourage your principal to fire the teachers in your school you believe are bad.

  • 376. cpsobsessed  |  September 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    i can’t read the Substance News link now, but I read it on my blackberry earlier. I see it’s a union-oriented publication so they clearly take one side.

    But boy, did it seem to filtered through an entirely different set of ears than my own. It underscores to me the vast difference in how the “2 sides” view things. 2 sides being staunch pro-union versus others.

    During that man’s question period (I believe everyone had their essays pre-screened, so if he went on longer it is because they let him and/or followed up with questions. Way to start an article by nitpicking and sounding paranoid.)

    The man’s questions to Karen Lewis were a bit provocative (clearly intentional) and it was the only time in the evening that she came across as defensive, angry and ruffled. She seemed pissed that a teacher would question the union on anything. She basically denied anything he said (her most concillatory statement was that “we need to work on perceptions because we’re doing that but you don’t know it.” Her calling him “brother” which the article states was being friendly felt more like a subtle dig as in “I’ll imply that you’re an ass, but call you ‘brother’ while I do it so it sounds nice.” I feel that the ‘brother’ was her way of implying ‘do not break ranks with us BROTHER.’

    He asked her why the union protects bad teachers. She said they don’t and I believed her. A better question would be why the union protects perhaps all teachers but the bottom 1%. I’m sure even Karen Lewis doesn’t care if a few teachers a year get canned.

    He also said he feels the union doesn’t LEAD the discussion, but follows what CPS demands or brings up. Not sure what he was getting at, but to Eric Zorn’s point, the union says they want a plan for a longer day, but seems unwilling to offer one up or participate in a plan to do so. That absolute refusal is maddening to me.

    More later. I will say, Ms Lewis has a very charismatic personality. Wish I could say the same for Brizard.

  • 377. cps Mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    334, 368 – two ominous articles from the “Substance News”.

    Anyone see the movie “Wag the Dog”?


    Sped Mom 374 – It would seem logical that a principal would fire a teacher that is not highly thought of. Imagine the scenario – Parent complains about Mr. Smith because of XYZ. Complaint is shared by others. You complain, no one else comes forward. Teacher is “talked to” and teacher in turn relates the details to all the other teachers. The teacher will not be the one leaving.

    A school has a movement to remove the principal. Everyone agrees he is not doing the school justice. School is losing its best teachers due to poor leadership. Multiple LSC debates and a vote ensue. Final vote 18 for keeping 2 for getting rid of prin. Everyone knows who the 2 votes are. The principal will not be the one leaving.

  • 378. Sped Mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Firing people is never a clean process,v that’s for sure. Sometimes good people get let go or run out. Sometimes the bad people stay. One bo Iss know has to fbire his bottom producers each quarter. I would think that CPS admin know what teachers think would make a better school system. I hear the requests often – Hawhtrne Mom shared such.

  • 379. cps grad  |  September 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    It is interesting that Ron Estevan said that CPS schools that make AYP will have flexibility with the new schedule. How long will that last? Eventually no school, except perhaps for some of the SE, will make AYP. In 2014 NCLB will require that 100% of students are at grade level. This is a mathematical impossibility. Even some of the top schools in the state don’t make AYP.

  • 380. cps Mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    377 – true, sped mom. firing should be a last resort for anyone. I also recall Hmom mentioning that there are procedures in place. Problem is that they are rarely enforced due to fear of CTU retribution. As in my examples, validation of issues occurring in the classroom brought up by parents are largely ignored and the child is not protectd..

  • 381. magnet mom  |  September 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I am glad that you guys talk to COFI- better that they have their own place on the committee. It’s great that you are working hard to support the change you want to see at CPS but the pay-off is a major leap in political capitol for your aims. As I said no harm there either but the starry eyed we’re doing it for you all kind of presentation belies the hard work, political experience and stony resolve that lies behind any group that has been as successful as Raise Your Hand. Changes that are comfortable for well funded schools are not possible for most of our city schools. The complete roster of schools represented by the RYH steering committee are well insulated from many of the potentially negative aspects of the longer day– that’s not a jab.
    I look forward to the constructive work your group can bring from this opportunity. I don’t feel the organization represents my children’s needs or in the case of the open campus the individual needs of my children’s school.
    We need to hear from every kind of parent– and on that we obviously agree.

  • 382. WendyK  |  September 15, 2011 at 3:53 am

    @380. I hear what you are saying. Of course, our experience shapes our priorities. We don’t take on issues like restorative justice/suspensions because we don’t have the experience and it’s not an issue we feel we have the knowledge to tackle. We don’t claim to take on every issue that affects cps, but try to work on those that overlap at all schools. We don’t work on state funding and tif reform because we need the money at our own schools. And we aren’t trying to promote more arts, language, recess, etc. because our schools don’t have them. We can fundraise to supplement a lot at our schools, but we want these things to be standard, and from talking to other parent groups across the city, so do they. Doesn’t mean it’s their top or only priority, of course.
    In terms of political experience, that’s been total on the job training. None of us had any political experience before this. I work in social services and the rest of us do a variety of other things.
    Change will be harder for schools without resources, I agree, and CPS needs to pay attention and put resources to help ease some of these problems, but from talking to COFI and others, their parents are stongly in favor of a longer day. And they’ve been on a task force with cps for a while to implement recess at some of their schools. Recess is happening in small pockets all over the city. Some schools have instituted indoor recess to meet their needs, some have hired running groups to find a way to run in or around their school, many have recess outside. There are creative solutions to recess and our group never was claiming a osfa, but that kids deserve some unstructured time.

    I am curous, what are the top needs at your kids’ school?

  • 383. Consider  |  September 15, 2011 at 7:10 am

    @381 – Thanks for your work. Please consider what certain student populations do when they are “unstructured,” and whether anyone’s child should be in that often dangerous situation. Please, solicit and work to fund fund creative ways to deal with that (perhaps with more structure).

  • 384. wendyk  |  September 15, 2011 at 8:11 am

    @382. Thanks for the feedback. We do discuss this issue a lot and have found that there are already groups – COFI, Healthy Schools, etc. that are currently working with CPS to address these issues. They have a task force but we aren’t on that one. There are groups like Playworks that will facilitate recess for schools (I think they are new to Chicago) and not sure what their fee is, but I think they are in some pilot schools now. We can at least help provide resources to schools and point them in the direction of other community groups that can also help. We put on three recess forums with COFI and some other groups this past spring and have another event coming up. There are resources out there, it’s just a matter of building on them, shedding light on them, and convincing school admins that recess is important, is happening all over and can happen. Schools also need more social workers to help deal with issues that can arise during unstructured time. What kind of a city are we that says it’s too difficult to give a kid the chance to learn how to play for 15 minutes? If there are challenges,you find solutions, not sweep it under the rug, imo.

  • 385. wendyk  |  September 15, 2011 at 8:31 am

    This is another group that works with a lot of CPS schools on recess in low-income areas:

  • 386. cps Mom  |  September 15, 2011 at 11:25 am

    OK – this article from the Sun Times makes a lot of sense


  • 387. magnet mom  |  September 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    @ 382 Sorry if I am mistaken about the steering committee at this point. My reference is the letter sent requesting the TIf meeting this summer which was signed as a committee by parents noted as successfully elected to LSCs, active with Friends of Orgs and one parent who has had lobbying experience with the legislature or run for state office. Definitely correct me on this. I really want to stress I don’t think having or creatively using political experience is a bad thing at all or that it would be a negative aspect of Raise Your Hand. Most parent groups could really benefit from others who have a knowledge of how our states and cities work. (and in my case a good proof reader) and it would be amazing if we could share this together as I am guessing is part of your work and partnership with COfi and others.

  • 388. Mayfair Dad  |  September 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Here are some ideas how to use those extra 90 minutes…


  • 389. WendyK  |  September 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    @386. Yes, we did have one politically active parent but he left the steering committee a year ago. We are adding info to our website so people will know who we are. No one’s really asked until now but we should have put it up earlier. Most of us have been on pto/lsc/fo groups.

  • 390. Sped Mom  |  September 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    wendyk – “Schools also need more social workers to help deal with issues that can arise during unstructured time.” You can say that again. Especially vulnerable are kids with special needs/disabilities. I’ve witnessed it. And, it can be very difficult to get the school admin and teachers to address it.

  • 391. WendyK  |  September 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    @389. I have been there with a 504 daily medical need for my son. Won’t go into detail here, but it was quite the wake-up call.

  • 392. watcher  |  September 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    In case you were not at the Lewis-Brizard event, here’s the tape: Go to the bottom of the web story, to listen to the entire discussion: http://www.wbez.org/story/brizard-lewis-talk-education-91951#

  • 394. cps Mom  |  September 16, 2011 at 7:51 am

    @392 – thanks, I don’t know how that happens. Maybe I need to spend some time in front of a computer. 🙂

  • 395. Grace  |  September 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    [Raise Your Hand] 90 Minutes, Who Said So?
    BY WENDY KATTEN | 09/15/2011

    Raise Your Hand is a growing coalition of Chicago and Illinois public school parents, teachers and concerned citizens advocating for improved public education. The following editorial can be found on the organization’s blog.

    Our group was invited to be on a task force for examining how the day should be lengthened at CPS. The first meeting was on September 6th and many community leaders from all over the city joined together to share their ideas about extending the inarguably short 5hour 45 minute elementary school day in Chicago. Strangely, before the first meeting ever took place, Rahm Emanuel made an announcement with CEO Jean-Claude Brizard at his side that schools would be 90 minutes longer next school year. Due to a change in Illinois law, CPS can unilaterally extend the day next year, although they do have to negotiate with the Chicago Teacher’s Union over pay for instructional minutes. Why convene a task force if a decision has already been made on how long the day should be? Who decided that 90 minutes was the right amount? Rahm then went out and said that parents want this, and he offered schools $150k and a 2% bonus for taking the offer now, but the deal for those schools was they had to extend by 105 minutes. Huh?

    I am glad our group was invited to be on a task force to discuss this, but how about getting some community feedback from teachers, parents, education researchers before bulldozing ahead with a plan that has not received buy-in from anyone. How about doing this thing right, not quickly and haphazardly and without an excellent foundation to ensure improved learning and more importantly, love of learning, for our kids?

    You can read more at the CTU and RYH blogs

  • 396. watcher  |  September 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Value for your money at CPS: Go to http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Financial_information/Pages/EmployeePositionFiles.aspx

    Click on the Aug 1, 2011 file.

    (via Rod Estvan)

  • 397. Grace  |  September 18, 2011 at 11:51 am

    395 watcher —

    It’s fine to copy in its entirety one of Rod Estvan’s comments from district 299.

    But to add his name to a CPS link that he did NOT contribute to is misleading.

    Why include his name at all on this? What are you trying to imply?

    Btw,via Gov. Quinn, stop doing that.

  • 398. watcher  |  September 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Ah, I wasn’t signing Estvan’s name to my post: “via” means “by way of” but that must not be clear to readers. Estvan seems to have a firm girp on accessing and understanding CPS documents, so if anything was implied, it’s “Estvan is a good source for docus.” I did not find this document link, Estvan did. My post gave him the kudos and the only “direct quote” from Estvan would be the link itself. Hope this explains.

  • 399. watcher  |  September 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Also, he posted the link at Substancenews.net, I believe.

  • 400. junior  |  September 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Don’t know where you get your ideas of what is acceptable, but it is improper Netiquette and often a violation of copyright laws to copy someone else’s materials from other sites.

    Junior (via Junior)

  • 401. watcher  |  September 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Source was noteed. This is a blog, as in “Web log”. So netiqutte is intact.

  • 402. watcher  |  September 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm


  • 403. junior  |  September 18, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    @400 watcher

    My comment was not directed at you (it was actually in defense of you). You can tell whom a poster is responding to by the number referenced at the top of a post. But thanks for explaining what a blog is.

  • 404. Grace  |  September 19, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I hope we continue to share things of interest we find elsewhere.

    When we post a link to something we read — whether it is via Rod Estvan or J.C. Brizard or Diane Ravitch — provide the original comment, or a link to the original comment, in order to give the proper context for that data.

    Estvan’s analysis is very well regarded, and it is missing from your link.

  • 405. watcher  |  September 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

    @402 – Hope I didn’t seem snarky. “Blog” has become such an common term, many (?) don’t know its origin. 🙂

  • 406. watcher  |  September 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Oh, also, FWIW, my phone interface with this blog masks comment #s for some reason. It also leads to maaaaany typos, what with the tiny keyboard, etc. Still, it’s great to have a blog like cpsobsessed.com.

  • 407. Junior  |  September 19, 2011 at 11:12 am

    @403 Grace

    Yes, let’s continue to share items of interest. I’d like to suggest that items be shared as links rather than as copied text, for various reasons, one of which is the need to offer context for shared items, as you pointed out was the case with the Estvan-attributed link. Sharing links has the advantages of:

    (1) complying with copyright
    (2) driving traffic to the original site that published the material, thus encouraging and rewarding them to continue to publish similar material. (Note, we are in the midst of the potential collapse/consolidation of many news media, and republishing their content elsewhere only further hurts media sources, leading to the eventual elimination of diverse media voices).
    (3) allowing the original author/poster control and ability to see and respond to commentary about his/her post. If Rod Estvan posts on District 299, then it’s only fair that he should not need to troll the web to find out where his work has been recopied and commented on. (Of course, some people don’t mind if their work is copied everywhere, but the assumption should be that the author/publisher maintain that decision, not the readers.). Likewise, if I read something on CPSObsessed that has been copied from Rod Estvan, I shouldn’t need to search the web out to try to find the original source and provide feedback, when a link would make that so simple.
    (4) copying full articles into a thread (especially, for example, a thread that exceeds 400 posts) makes threads unnecessarily long, consuming time and bandwidth to scroll through them. Remember, there are all sorts of devices, including phones and other 3G devices, which are trying to access sites.

    Also, it is courteous if items shared stay on the topic of a thread.

  • 408. cps Mom  |  September 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you Junior! I would like to add that “in your face video clips” can be invasive. The reader does not want to be accosted with views, they should have the option of following a link.

  • 409. Alcott voted against longer day  |  September 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Information on Alcott’s vote against longer school day from an LSC note to parents:

    Ms. B, Alcott’s 5th and 6th grade teacher and Alcott’s CTU union representative, spoke about the CPS extended day offer. Mr. D brought the offer to the teachers. The teachers, in a closed meeting, voted to not accept the proposal. Ms. B explained that while the teachers agree with the need for more instructional time, the current proposal was not supported for various reasons. One reason was that teachers would not be fully compensated for this additional time – teachers would be paid significantly below their hourly rate. If they accepted this offer, they would receive a one-off payment of approximately $1250. Secondly, under the current CPS proposal, it was questionable how much instructional time is gained. Finally, many teachers were not comfortable with how CPS has been handling this offer. By accepting the offer, teachers would have to break their contract.

  • 410. magnet mom  |  September 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I just don’t think Alcott is the only school to turn this down. I was surprised that the NYT didn’t investigate exactly how many schools had voted no. I would imagine it’s far far more than eight schools.

  • 411. junior  |  September 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm


    Who cares how many voted ‘no’? Voting ‘no’ is what we expect CTU members to do; therefore, that’s not news. Voting ‘yes’ is news.

    Man (Rahm) Bites Dog (CTU).

  • 412. mom2  |  September 20, 2011 at 6:50 am

    FYI – CPS area to voice your own opinion on longer school day:

  • 413. Mayfair Dad  |  September 20, 2011 at 8:36 am

    @ 408 & others: I’d be really curious how these closed teacher meetings are held. My assumption is the meeting and subsequent vote is moderated by the school’s CTU rep and done with a show of hands instead of secret ballot. This is the best method to bully young and/or moderate teachers to vote the union-mandated way. Teachers who have the audacity to break ranks with the union will be subjected to harsh treatment in the teachers lounge, vile rumors on the playground, classroom vandalism, flat tires, threats of violence, etc.

    If you think I am exaggerating, you haven’t witnessed CTU bullies in action – I have.

  • 414. Grace  |  September 20, 2011 at 10:22 am


    Rod Estvan (3 hours, 55 minutes ago) has interesting things to say about the difference between the NYC school day and proposed Chicago day; about the impact of the fiscal crisis on federal and state funding for education; and about lower employment options and rising college debt burdens for some low-income students.

  • 415. CTU question about longer day  |  September 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

    About post #409 about Alcott voting no to the longer day, this statement is not accurate, is it?

    “By accepting the offer, teachers would have to break their contract.”

    Please chime in.

  • 416. magnet mom  |  September 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Junior- I think it is new when the message is that there is a huge movement to the change of day if the reality is that it’s not even a drop here and there.
    I have no problem with the schools that extend. Many teachers are not extending because they want a better plan for how this is going to be realized in their classrooms. I’d want a much clearer plan if our school were to extend.
    The mayor doesn’t want any spotlight on schools that are sought after that refuse nor on the informed parents and excellent teachers questioning how well organized this change is.

  • 417. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for keeping the conversation going, you guys. Just got back from 4 days in the woods so I’ll do a weekly update and new topic very soon.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 418. cps Mom  |  September 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    @414 I wonder too. I had only read/heard that teachers were asked to sign waivers with regard to further compensation.

    I know that ones mans news is another mans……. but I do prefer mine to be accurate.

    Anything in “Netiqutte” about bold print?

  • 419. CTU question about longer day  |  September 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    @417, I wasn’t questioning the person who posted the Alcott update, I was questioning the accuracy of information the local school council gave to the parents.

    Do you know if teachers are breaking the contract by voting for the longer day?

  • 420. CPSmama  |  September 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    #418- look at post 243 for what the teachers are waiving by voting for the longer day. My understanding is that the waiver is for just one year.

  • 421. cps Mom  |  September 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    questioning the person – don’t understand what you mean

  • 422. CTU question about longer day  |  September 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    @419, thanks!

  • 423. cps Mom  |  September 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I too was questioning the accuracy of the info given by the council – never intended to question any person, my apologies if taken as such.

  • 424. CTU question about longer day  |  September 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Information on the CPS website answered my question about whether this Alcott school statement was correct — “By accepting the offer, teachers would have to break their contract.”

    1. “I’m waiving all of my collective bargain rights”

    The waiver merely changes the school scheduling details, it has no effect on your collective bargain rights or the existing collective bargaining agreement. But you don’t have to take our word on this. CPS is willing to spell out, in as much detail as teachers need, exactly which rights will NOT be waived in each vote. We’ve lengthened the ballot for two schools already to help allay concerns around rights. We are happy to provide all of the support and detail teachers need to be comfortable with waiver content.


  • 425. watcher  |  September 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I guess it all depends on one’s definition of “break.” A waiver is an exception to the existing contract. It’s an option within the rules. But (there’s always a “but”, yes?), one can debate about how well the stipulations about how waivers are to be done has been honored by CPS HQ and school personnel.

  • 426. cps Mom  |  September 21, 2011 at 8:07 am

    @412 Mayfair Dad – Tribune article today talking about the start of the longer day mentions that teachers are being approached union reps in the parking lot after work in order to vote no to the longer day.

    Sorry to hear that teachers have to endure this type of harassment. Very scary. I only hope that our new Admin can lead us out of the dark ages.

  • 427. Grace  |  September 21, 2011 at 9:19 am


    Unique take on pundits — and how to write like one — for the wannabees out there.

  • 428. watcher  |  September 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    @412 & 425: Hmmm. I’ve never considered being approached by a union rep to discuss contract-related business as “harassment.” Dialog, rather.

  • 429. cps Mom  |  September 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Being confronted in a parking lot unsolicited is a frightening experience whatever the reason.

  • 430. Mayfair Dad  |  September 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    @ 427. You are correct. Its only harassment when the union posse outnumbers you, one of them leans on your car door so you can’t jump into your car and escape, and then verbally berate you.

    The only way to do the vote fairly is by secret ballot. But instead, the CTU reps huddle the teachers in the cafeteria for a “closed meeting” while the rest of the LSC meeting attendees are sitting in the auditorium. (Closed meetings are legit with Open Meetings Act when contract or employee discipline matters are being discussed).

    With little or no fanfare, the CTU rep demands to see a show of hands from teachers who are “willing to break the union contract and force their union brothers and sisters to work for $1.93 an hour.”

    Not surprisingly, no hands go up.

  • 431. MRS.HOMER  |  September 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm


  • 432. CPSDepressed  |  September 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Where I live, it is still light out at 3:15, which would be quitting time if 90 minutes were added to my kid’s school day. Maybe in Rogers Park, which is closer to the Arctic Circle, it would be too dark out at 3:15 for the kids, but in the rest of the city, it should still be okay.

  • 433. Grace  |  September 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Mrs. Homer, I am glad you mentioned that b/c I have had read enough about a union rep leaning on a car door in a threatening manner.

    There are little kids who aren’t safe walking home from school on a dark street.

    Go ahead and yell, cps mom.

  • 434. CPSmama  |  September 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    @#431 “Maybe in Rogers Park, which is closer to the Arctic Circle, it would be too dark out at 3:15 for the kids”

    ^ Thanks for making me LOL

    @429- that is scary but not surprising. Meanwhile CTU has been ranting & raving about harassment by CPS & principals.

  • 435. cps Mom  |  September 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Grace – don’t quite get your jab. I usually do appreciate your POV even if I don’t agree with it. So please, don’t think I am yelling but would be considerate enough to tone down anything offensive.

  • 436. Mayfair Dad  |  September 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Dear Rahm:

    Please hire more cops, the eskimo children in Rogers Park are depending on you.

  • 437. junior  |  September 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I can almost see Rogers Park from my home.

  • 438. cps Mom  |  September 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Can you see who’s lurking in the parking lots in the dark?

  • 439. cpsobsessed  |  September 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Omg Junior, that is going on the hall of fame!!

    Sorry, I am swamped with work for 2 more days from being away. Work has already killed my happy vacation buzz. I SWEAR, a new post will happen soon.
    In the meantime, be nice. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 440. watcher  |  September 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Mayfair Dad: “With little or no fanfare, the CTU rep demands to see a show of hands from teachers who are “willing to break the union contract and force their union brothers and sisters to work for $1.93 an hour.” Is that a hypothetical or actual action you witnessed (or were told about)? If actual, sounds like CTU needs to train that rep on how to conduct a secret ballot. I wonder if this year’s new CTU reps been trained yet?

  • 441. Mayfair Dad  |  September 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

    @ 439 — I was describing a scene based on previous dealings with the pro-CTU posse on principal selection, open campus vote, etc. I have a pretty good idea how they operate at the school level. But let’s not rely on my overactive imagination.

    I would love to hear back from parents or teachers on how the extended day vote was handled at your school: secret ballot? public show of hands? with or without parents present?

    Hey, maybe I’m way off base. Been known to happen.

  • 442. Skinner North mom  |  September 22, 2011 at 9:02 am

    We were told that at Skinner North, the vote was done by secret ballot. No parents were present, nor was the principal.

  • 443. Mayfair Dad  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

    From the CTU website:

    “When there is a proposal to change any Article of the 2007-2012 Agreement between the Board of Education of the City of Chicago and the Chicago Teachers Union, the Waiver procedure in Appendix C must be used. A waiver that is rejected may not be submitted more than once in any school year. An approved waiver automatically terminates at the conclusion of the school year. Remember: a Waiver vote must be posted with at least two days advance notice, be clearly worded, and be conducted by secret ballot.”

    So my hypothetical scene in post #429 would be against CTU policy. Still wondering if everybody is following the rules.

  • 444. cps Mom  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Would any of the schools that voted “no” say so – unless of course they did follow protocol.

  • 445. mom2  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

    FYI, in taking a look at the CPS site where you can express your views and ideas on the longer school day, it looks to be dominated by CTU members which makes it look one-sided (which I am certain it is not). Disappointing method they are using to get opinions. It is clunky, people can vote if they agree or not and you have to dig deep to read comments. I like this blog better 🙂

  • 446. Mayfair Dad  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

    @ 443. Perhaps a disappointed parent or brave teacher would blow the whistle on a school’s vote that did not follow legal protocol. It may be possible to have the results invalidated and a new, secret ballot vote held.

    If anyone is aware of inappropriate voting practices, Phil Rocks at CPS legal department would be a good place to start.

  • 447. Angie  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Speaking of parking lots and CTU intimidation tactics, this is from Tribune:


    “Teachers and administrators say the debate continues to rage even as more schools consider the plan. District officials reported that union representatives showed up at Evergreen Academy Middle School on Tuesday, speaking to each teacher in the parking lot and eventually winning a “no” vote, making it the third school to vote against a longer day.

  • 448. anonymous  |  September 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    It is far more common for a principal to pressure young untenured teachers into a hands-raised vote to accept the 90 minutes than it is for CTU members to pressure eachother to reject the 90 minutes in the parking lot. This is anecdotal of course, based on the 2 dozen teachers I personally know. Many schools are simply refusing to even vote and others have had nearly all or all of the votes come up no, through secret ballot. And the Tribune is incorrect. Way more than 3 schools have voted no. I cannot name those schools out of fear of reprisals for them. There is all kinds of political pressure being put on all the schools. I will not be surprised to find many popular principals out of a job come June if they did not find a way to strong arm their teachers into a yes vote. If Emmanuel wants them gone, they’ll be gone, regardless of what the LSC wants.

  • 449. Angie  |  September 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    @447. anonymous: ” I cannot name those schools out of fear of reprisals for them.”

    If they voted no, surely the CPS and Emmanuel know about it by now? So there’s no harm in letting us on the “secret”. And what is the point of firing the successful principals in June if all the schools are going to add more time next year, anyway? I think that’s just more of the same old union fear mongering.

  • 450. jom  |  September 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    @448 Angie. I think wnat anonymous might mean is that many schools have refused to consider the waiver. Before the big invite to become a “pioneer” went out, some friends who teach in CPS said that some of their principals put out feelers to the staff about how they felt about adding the time. In one case, the principal was trying to push for it b/c of the money, but realized that the teachers would not vote for the waiver. In the other two schools, the principal also knew that her staff would not accept the waiver. In all three of these schools, that was the end of it. Nothing had to be reported to anybody b/c there was no actual official vote taken. I think that this might be the case in a lot of schools. It never gets to the official vote stage b/c of the lack of support.

  • 451. anonymous  |  September 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    #448, sure and I suppose that it is union fear mongering when today, yes, today, I was told that if I recommended that a sped family hired a lawyer, to, you know, god forbid get the minutes their child is entitled to, I’d be losing my job. Because my administration would fire me. For advocating for a student. And believe it or not, I have one of the good principals!
    I realize the average parent doesn’t believe there are reprisals for things in CPS. I don’t blame you, you simply aren’t knowledgeable about what really goes on and never will be unless you work in a school. You don’t have any idea of the 90% of crap that happens in schools. Even the most educated, involved parents, and LSC/PTA chairs only know about half of it. The rest is kept from parents. I see this first hand every day.
    And since there are so many schools voting no or refusing to even vote, why is Emmanuel and the newspapers so hell bent on only covering the ‘yes’ schools? Why are they refusing to print the names of the many that voted no or refused to vote period?

  • 452. watcher  |  September 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    446: Hope you’re not implying that talking between teachers in parking lots is “intimidation.” Where else are teachers and the CTU reps going to talk? Starbucks? Oh, yeah, there are a lot of those on the south and west sides.

  • 453. Mayfair Dad  |  September 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

    With $150K of discretionary money on the table and a 2% raise being offered, I would hope that all CPS schools take a vote. If I’m a parent volunteer busting my hump planning the annual Silent Auction that yields $6,257.38, yeah, I’d like to see my school get that money. I’m guessing that some teachers who have an out-of-work spouse at home might really need the 2% raise, since a longer day is a lock for next year anyway. Not every teacher buys into the “tip of the iceberg, slippery slope, union-busting” narrative. And most parents, other than the obsessives on this site, don’t have a clue what is at stake.

  • 454. cps Mom  |  September 23, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I don’t blame the principals who rally for their schools. The program seems like it would benefit all. Teachers could have more resources. The 90 minutes is going to happen thanks to the efforts of Deb Mell and other forward thinking representatives putting the needs of our kids first.

    I’m guessing that the reason we hear about the success stories in the news is that all those interviewed by the press were very upbeat and positive and enthusiastic about their pursuit for excellence. Quite honestly, we could use a little good news. This is exactly what parents want for their children and the schools that did vote yes must be very proud right now – for good reason. As mentioned above, no one cares about the behind the scenes grumblings that are going on. Those issues are very stressful and as parents we need to know that our kids interests are being served while we tend to economic issues that we are confronting at work (or due to lack of work).

  • 455. WK  |  September 23, 2011 at 9:35 am

    @450. Here’s one parent who believes you on that story about advocating for your sped student. I don’t get why you’re asking why they aren’t printing the schools that voted no? It’s a PR battle. Why would they print that? It’s not about fairness or honesty, silly. At this point, I would believe nothing that you read on either side from anybody.

  • 456. Grace  |  September 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    @ 450 Here’s another parent who believes you about the level of retaliation in CPS.

    @ 452 Raise that money.! Have you got a small group of parents who want to write grants? That can be a great use of parent volunteers’ time and more remunerative.

  • 457. cps Mom  |  September 27, 2011 at 7:51 am

    This is a great article in the Tribune that captures the feelings that many have about the longer day


    hope I got it to work this time

  • 458. Grace  |  September 27, 2011 at 8:21 am

    From Ben Joravsky.


    “At last month’s budget hearing at Kennedy-King College, Mayor Emanuel let it be known he’s got nothing but love for public school teachers. In fact, he thinks they’re “really good.”

    I guess he’s just got a funny way of showing it.

    Within days of the hearing Emanuel unleashed an awesome full-court public relations offensive slamming teachers for selfishly resisting his good-faith effort to lengthen the school day by 90 minutes. And he’s shown no signs of letting up.

    Hats off to the mayor for this one. As political campaigns go, it’s a rip-roaring success, with almost every columnist and editorial writer in town chiming in to say, right on!

    I haven’t seen such love between the mainstream media and a political boss since Mayor Daley tried to bring the Olympics to town.

    They all agree: more time in school has to happen right now. Never mind the details such as what teachers and students will do with that extra time. This has to happen—you know, for the kids.

    Oh man. I always get a little nervous when Chicago operators start talking about doing things for the kids—that’s when you can be pretty sure they’ve got some trick up their sleeves. As a matter of fact, Mayor Daley said he wanted to bring the Olympics to town so he could build more recreational facilities in low-income areas for the kids—as opposed to billions of dollars of contracts for the well-connected.

    The showdown over the longer school day comes in the midst of an ongoing tussle between the mayor and the teachers union over money. Teachers want to hold on to what they’ve got and the mayor wants to give them less, probably so he has more left over to spend on other things, like deals for cronies and contributors.

    But don’t let anyone fool you—this fight over the school day is not about kids. Fundamentally, it’s not even about money. It’s a political power play by a crafty mayor who’s looking to undercut the teachers union, one of the few sources of potential opposition left in this town.”

    There’s more.

  • 459. Grace  |  September 27, 2011 at 8:49 am

    From the blog School Matters, on what Obama’s change to NCLB means for urban schools


    “The Obama-Gates-BRT 10-Year Priority Plan for Urban School Privatization”

    “A piece in this morning’s (September 26, 2011) NYTimes reports on legions of small donors who have given up on Obama in his bid to raise $1,000,000,000 for the 2012 campaign. Why, indeed, should I or anyone who pays taxes send money to Team Obama when the hedge-funders and oligarchs who pay none are sending him all he needs? Why should any of us educators, in fact, send Obama a nickel when his education policies are designed to benefit only corporations, corporate foundations, privatization ideologues, and the education industrial complex?

    Monty Neill has done a terrific initial analysis of Duncan’s behind-the-back bounce pass to his corporate teammates who are driving in to score big, and I won’t repeat what Monty has said here.

    Monty’s opening:

    The Obama-Duncan plan for ―flexibility in the administration of the ―No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal education law offers little more than a leap from the frying pan to the fire – and even adds gasoline to the fire.

    The Administration offers no relief from NCLB’s massive over-use of testing —more testing than in any other advanced nation. In fact, it will require more ―assessments in more subjects and grades in exchange for ―flexibility. It uses test scores to holds individual educators rather than schools ―accountable. . . .

    What I want to focus on are a few of the details that remain unspoken aspects of TeamObama’s “flexibility” plan. As Monty points out, this plan elevates the role high-stakes standardized tests, even as the dreaded testing targets of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) have been dropped. We see a call for adoption of the Common Core national curriculum and testing, which Duncan attempts to disguise as “college- and career-ready standards and assessments.”

    We know that more than half of American public school children go to schools in urban areas. Now it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that, with 5 percent of schools identified for turnaround each year (with another 10 percent required to be in the queue), it will take no more than 10 years for half of American public schools to be converted into the Business Roundtable image of school.

    So goodbye AYP and hello SIG: Welcome the new corporate welfare feeding frenzy.

  • 460. Grace  |  September 27, 2011 at 9:08 am


    Views for educators on a longer, better school day.

  • 461. Anonymous  |  September 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Thank you, Grace. I am saddened and frightened by this charter/privatization trend.

  • 462. Grace  |  September 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Here’s more sad news. Follow the link for the full story, which is NEVER reported on by Chicago’s mainstream media: Tribune, Sun Times, NBC, FOX, ABC, Chicago news Coop, WTTW Ch. 11, etc.


    Monday, Sep 12, 2011 13:39 ET

    The bait and switch of school “reform”
    Behind the new corporate agenda for education lurks the old politics of profit and self-interest

    By David Sirota

    In recent weeks the debate over the future of public education in America has flared up again, this time with the publication of the new book “Class Warfare,” by Steven Brill, the founder of American Lawyer magazine. Brill’s advocacy of “reform” has sparked different strands of criticism from the New York Times, New York University’s Diane Ravitch and the Nation’s Dana Goldstein.

    But behind the high-profile back and forth over specific policies and prescriptions lies a story that has less to do with ideas than with money, less to do with facts than with an ideological subtext that has been quietly baked into the very terms of the national …

    Self-Interest No. 1: Pure Profit

    First and foremost, there’s a ton of money to be made in the education “reforms” that Big Money interests are advocating. …
    A straightforward example of how this part of the profit-making scheme works arose just a few months ago in New York City. There, Rupert Murdoch dumped $1 million into a corporate “reform” movement pushing to both implement more standardized testing and divert money for education fundamentals (hiring teachers, buying textbooks, maintaining school buildings, etc.) into testing-assessment technology. At the same time, Murdoch was buying an educational technology company called Wireless Generation, which had just signed a lucrative contract with New York City’s school system (a sweetheart deal inked by New York City school official Joel Klein, who immediately went to work for Murdoch. …

    Self-Interest No. 2: Changing the Subject From Poverty and Inequality

    Inconvenient as it is to corporate education “reformers,” the well-proven fact is that poverty — not teacher quality, union density or school structure — is the primary driver of student achievement. We can see this most easily in two sets of data. …
    Self-interest No. 3: New Front in the War on Unions
    Today, unions are one of the last — and, unfortunately, weakening — obstacles to corporations’ having complete control of the American political system. Whenever there is a fight over economics in particular — whenever a Wall Street-backed tax, deregulation, Social Security privatization or trade bill comes down the pike — it is the labor movement that comprises the bulk of the political opposition. Therefore, crushing unions in general has been an overarching goal of the corporate elite, and one way to crush unions is through education policy that undermines one of the largest subsets of the labor movement: teachers unions. …

    Self-interest No. 3: New Front in the War on Unions

    Today, unions are one of the last — and, unfortunately, weakening — obstacles to corporations’ having complete control of the American political system. Whenever there is a fight over economics in particular — whenever a Wall Street-backed tax, deregulation, Social Security privatization or trade bill comes down the pike — it is the labor movement that comprises the bulk of the political opposition.

    Therefore, crushing unions in general has been an overarching goal of the corporate elite, and one way to crush unions is through education policy that undermines one of the largest subsets of the labor movement: teachers unions. …

  • 463. Grace  |  September 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    From Rep. Barney Frank’s web site:

    Speaking Frankly

    People are rightly upset about the role of big money in politics. And it’s true that big money will win if it’s got the field to itself. But if you get the average voter involved and engage the collective weight of public opinion you will kick big money’s ass.

  • 464. Grace  |  September 27, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    From the CTU website

    A Parent Thanks CTU

    by Douglas Livingstone | 09/23/2011

    Mrs. Lewis,

    I would like to express my sincere thanks to you for your attention to the pleas from the many concerned parents of children who attend Cassell Elementary School. I would like to thank you for sending Joe McDermott to our local school council meeting. His presence was noted by the entire auditorium packed full of parents, neighbors, teachers a congressman and alderman (might I add his performance was stellar). The collected efforts of all the parents have gained the “upgrade” of one part time teacher to a full time teacher position and the splitting of the first grade class into two classes. Unfortunately, our third grade class remains at 42 students with one full time teacher crammed into one room. The additional first grade class also came at the expense of our art room. We will now have art on a cart. By the way, Cassell is a magnet school for arts. The band room had already been removed last year for additional class space. Albeit somehow, we are only considered at 74 percent maximum capacity. It is unfortunate that our school’s union delegate, the art teacher, must now service room to room on a cart…..probably just coincidental!

    I also wanted to let you know that I and many of the parents have listened to your debate with CPS CEO Brizard via the link on your union website. We would like to congratulate you on a great job and would also like to thank you for your specific reference to our plight. When you speak with members of your union please express to them that many parents understand city politics and understand the pictures being painted via the media which negatively portray teachers and your union are false and that we do stand behind you and the teachers in your efforts to afford all children in Chicago the education that they deserve by providing them with the proper conditions to learn and excel in life.

    Thanks Again,
    Douglas Livingstone

  • 465. watcher  |  September 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks, Grace, for these pieces. I saw this interesting piece below linked from the substancenews.net site. I liked the calm, clear tone and authority of Rothstein…

    Grading the Education Reformers: Steven Brill gives them much too easy a ride. By Richard Rothstein

    expanded verision at substancenews.net:

    shorter version at Slate:

    (snippet) If you saw Waiting for “Superman,” Steven Brill’s tale in Class Warfare will be familiar. The founder of Court TV offers another polemic against teacher unions and a paean to self-styled “education reformers.” But even for those who follow education policy, he offers an eye-opening read that should not be missed. Where the movie evoked valiant underdogs waging an uphill battle against an ossified behemoth, Brill’s briskly written book exposes what critics of the reformers have long suspected but could never before prove: just how insular, coordinated, well-connected, and well-financed the reformers are. Class Warfare reveals their single-minded efforts to suppress any evidence that might challenge their mission to undermine the esteem in which most Americans held their public schools and teachers. These crusaders now are the establishment, as arrogant as any that preceded them. (more at the Slate or Substance link)

  • 466. anonymous  |  September 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Guess what is going to happen to those third grade scores come ISAT time? They’ll plummet, the teacher will be blamed, no one from the board will do a thing about the large class size. This happens all the time in CPS. It is not uncommon to find class sizes over 35 in most of the city. Differentiation? Throw it out the window. Books for every kid? Probably not. Worksheets, kill and drill, test prep, a wasted year no matter the valiant efforts of the teacher? Yes. You cannot meet the needs of 42 kids, especially not in urban areas with a much more challenging student body than what suburbs have, through one teacher.

  • 467. junior  |  September 27, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Ozzie is going to Florida. I hear they have schools there. This thread is so Dunn.

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  • 469. bingo  |  August 28, 2014 at 8:06 am

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