Longer School Day

January 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm 754 comments

I attended a meeting hosted by RaiseYourHand http://ilraiseyourhand.org/ to discuss the longer school day.  They pulled together a range of people from different community groups in the city to discuss getting a larger group of parents to have a voice to CPS in regards to the upcoming proposed 7.5 hours.

RYH’s understanding is that this is likely a done deal.  As I understand it, legislation was passed in Illinois that prevents teachers from bargaining on the length of the school day, so CPS can make this change.  A teacher strike would require a vote of 75% of the union.  No idea whether this is feasible/probable or not.

The other big question is whether schools will receive any extra funding to make this hapuioppen.  At my son’s school’s meeting on the topic last week, the principal said he was going to request more positions from the board to run the school.  I don’t have any confidence that he’ll get them, but I hope I’m wrong.  CPS has said they’ll set up an incentive program for something like 30 schools who have the most innovative approaches to the longer day to get $100K each.  The other 600 schools are on their own, apparently.

A parent from Skinner North (currently on 7.5 hours) reports while they ARE making it work, it is taking a lot of extra parent volunteer time to cover everything.  They have that luxury (and hopefully can keep the momentum) — other schools may not have that luxury or option.

Teachers will be getting more prep time during the day, but it is being framed as collaboration time.  Which is great, but when are teachers supposed to grade all their homework after working a 7.5 hour day?

The good news is that many of the different representatives at the Longer Day meeting want the same thing for our kids:  Getting kids the learning they need (bring all kids up to grade level, give more richer learning to kids at/beyond the basics,) some enrichment, and physical movement time – both structured (P.E) and unstructured (recess.)

The question is how this is all going to happen?  And without extra money?  It feels like we’ve been told that we’re a do-it-yourself school system.  CPS never figured out how to make it work, but supposedly if we all put our minds to it we can use 7.5 hours a day to make it happen.

This group, SixPointFivetoThrive, along with RYH are both pushing for a 6.5 hour day, rather than 7.5 hours.


CPS has some data they say supports the longer day.  I don’t doubt it but I’m certain I could shoot holes in it easily and/or find data that doesn’t support a longer day — just because that’s how education research seems to work.

One point they make in their press announcement says “Research from Harvard economist Roland Fryer determined that instuctional time – measured as the time students were actually engaged in learning – and high-dosage tutoring were much stronger predictors of success. ”

High dosage tutoring?  Bring it on!  More learning time, I don’t even doubt that IF IT IS DONE RIGHT.  And that is the million dollar question.  If CPS hasn’t been doing it right (I speak about the system overall, not indiv teachers) how does more of the same make it better?

A middle school teacher at our meeting said that his colleages felt that expanding the time in each class would help greatly.  Perhaps that is enough.  My son’s teacher said that she didn’t feel that the kids could sit and do math any longer than they are now.  That probably is true as well.

There are a ton of good ideas that parents came up with at my son’s school for using the extra time, but most will probably require some extra staffing just as Skinner North is doing.

Obviously many parents have a general concern about their kids being in school that long and how to work in homework and activities.  I will personally make a stink if my son has to do an hour of homework a night on top of that school day…. but unless the way he learns in school and/or the work time really changes, I don’t see how that would happen.  Someone still needs to work with him on his math facts, projects, etc.

This has been a bit stream of consciousness but I feel like there are so many factors wrapped up in it (without even getting into the Union element yet.)

Someone on askchicago.org has submitted a question for Rahm’s town hall meeting about funding for the longer day.  If you’d like to vote for it, click here and register.  Again, I know what the answer is going to be “schools are doing it without extra money”… so I don’t know why I bother, but still.


Ultimately, I net out being ok with the extra time if it is used wisely and doesn’t require an army of parent volunteers who are already busting it to raise money for the schools.  I’d like to see some concrete ideas (I think CPS has these posted somewhere but require digging?) and some thought leadership from each school on how they can use the time wisely.  Although I still object to getting up an hour earlier on cold, dark, winter mornings.

Please share you thoughts, to hopefully make mine seem more cohesive.  I’m just grumpy about it, what can I say?

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754 Comments Add your own

  • 1. 5th Grade  |  January 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Teachers have been told that 45 minutes must be lunch and recess (20 minutes lunch and 25 minutes recess) and 15 minutes allowed for passing between classes (i.e. time to get from P.E. to classroom). So that leaves exactly 30 minutes from the added 90 minutes for instruction. But wait… there must be 10 to 15 minutes for breakfast as well.
    So you only add 15 minutes to the instruction time. Is that time for enrichment?

  • 2. Educate  |  January 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I am in favor of the increase of the school day as a parent of elementary aged children and high-School child. I feel this is well needed. The educational system does need to be sure they are using this extra time on core subjects. Yes, recess is needed as well. I am concerned for the lower grades like k- 2nd but I feel the educators need to be creative in teaching their kids . I also feel kids should not still 4-5 hours of h.w & after-school programs should still be considered . As for the teachers they should get paid for the time they are working and complete grading the kids homework once the kids leave for the day … Most of us work 8- 9.50 hour days and we don’t get overtime , that is not including transportation.

  • 3. Mom of boys  |  January 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I would welcome a 30-minute increase to allow for recess (my kids are at one of the schools that has a 5 3/4 hr day and no recess), and up to a 60-minute increase to allow for an additional enrichment course as well – art, music, drama. But more time than that will be a huge imposition on our children being able to be children. They need time to decompress, to socialize with their neighborhood friends and extended family, to do a community/church/temple activity once a week, to play soccer etc. A well-rounded child becomes a well-rounded adult, who knows how to care for his/her entire self and not just the academic part.

    I also would prefer that extra time not be spent on core subjects – mostly because I can add to those by helping with homework (and I can’t foresee that the homework load will drop because you still have to conjugate those verbs and memorize those multiplication tables). But I can’t help as much with art/music/drama, and some of that is best done in a group, too. But where the extra $$ will come from is completely unknown.

  • 4. HSObsessed  |  January 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    For K-8 students, I agree that the current 5.75 hours is inadequate, but I think 7.5 hours is too much, and I agree that 6.5 hours is a good compromise. My daughter’s school (Lincoln) is 6.5 hours already and they seem to fit all the core subjects in as well as PE, art, music, recess, French, etc. I agree with #3 Mom of boys about how important down time is at home, with friends, with other activities like sports or whatever.

  • 5. chitownmama  |  January 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    (Apologies for the long comment.)
    There are many, many ways that the CPS educational system could be improved. Almost any option, however, will cost money—longer day, smaller class sizes, additional enrichment/specials classes, better (or even merely adequate!) facilities, more/improved equipment and supplies, universal pre-K and K, afterschool programs available for everyone who needs them, etc. etc. As a school district, we should be evaluating all these options and debating their relative merits, including their cost effectiveness. The mayor and the CEO of the district should be addressing why it is the longer day and not any of these other options that is the solution du jour.

    It doesn’t take a whole lot of cynicism to realize that they’ve settled on the longer day because it has the lowest price tag. And the reason this is so is because they are planning on doing it for free (or virtually free—$3M).

    This is, in fact, completely insane. I urge everyone with a child in CPS to read the following policy paper, “Taking Stock of the Fiscal Costs of Expanded Learning Time,” published by the Center for American Progress
    (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/07/pdf/elt2.pdf) which outlines the issues of the costs of lengthening the school day very clearly.

    During their pro-longer day propaganda campaign, CPS has been touting the success of Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time Initiative (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/01/massachusetts.html) on the previous incarnation of its longer day website (www.cps.edu/longerday) and the current one (cps.edu/fullday). (Interesting change in terminology, no?) It is worth noting that this lengthened day in MA was accompanied by an increase of funding of $1300 per pupil. That level of funding would mean an extra $1 million for my child’s elementary school alone. (Compare this to the $150K offered to Longer Day School Day Pioneer schools, and the $100K they are now offering.) Perhaps not surprisingly they are getting good results in that program! Is there really some untapped source of $520 million to do something similar for Chicago Public Schools?

    It is absolutely ridiculous and appalling how the mayor, the CEO, and the Board of Ed are trying to ramrod this change down our, i.e. students, parents, teachers, principals, and staff, throats without providing any additional funding to have it done correctly.

    My child is already spending a ridiculous amount of time in kindergarten on reading and math, and only reading and math. Our school does not have the staff to provide recess for all children. We do not have the money to fund an art teacher. We do not have physical education for all students. The building is overcrowded and in some places crumbling. The “full day” is a cheap political ploy that will do real damage to our children.

  • 6. Need longer school day  |  January 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    My family fully supports the full 7.5 hour day, as do all of our friends and colleagues with children in CPS. Thanks CPS, for making this happen regardless of union bellyaching.

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  January 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    @6 Need longer school day: I envy your wholehearted acceptance of it. How are you envisioning that a successful 7.5 hour day would work? Stretching out the current class times? Or more enrichment stuff? More in depth work? Anything different?

    I can see both sides of the coin.

    I feel that my son needs more math time in school but I’m not sure if “more of the same” is gonna cut it, as he’ll just sit and zone out longer than he does now…..

  • 8. anon  |  January 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    In the best interest of my children I think a 7.5 hour school day is too long..I am not opposed to a 6.5-7 hr day.Children & teens begin to tire and get bored so less attention is paid, in later afternoon hours.I wish for my children to be LIFE TIME learners not for CPS to bore or burn them out.This is also not a one size fits all situation,some children need less repetition and learn things quicker.Some high school kids are taking so many AP classes already that it is hard on sleep,family time and jobs much less having a social life then to add another 36 minutes.Anyone know what happened to AMPS?

    I am amazed a couple people I have heard say keep them in school til 5.30-6 so I can pick them up straight from work.

  • 9. cps alum  |  January 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I have lived in Chicago my entire life (except for 4 years of college).
    I live in Chicago because I chose to, not because of any requirement.

    I previously had no reservations about sending my children to CPS schools since I went to CPS and had a good education that gave me the skills I needed to be successful in college and beyond.
    I love Chicago more than any other place and have always believed that I would live here forever.

    But…ever since Rahm took over, I have been praying that my husband’s business takes off so we can sell our house (eat the loss) and buy in a suburb where the school board is run by people who know something about education and have the best interest of children in mind.

    I really resent that Rahm, a suburban transplant and not a true Chicagoan, is driving me out of the city I love so much. My daughter will enter kindergarten in the fall of 2013 and I don’t think I can send her to a 7.5 hour day of torture of more reading and math (which I’m sure she won’t need) with little else and no play just so that Rahm can score political points and continue to send his kids to Chicago Lab. I’m truly sick to my stomach.

  • 10. anonymous  |  January 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    The longer day depresses me. I can’t put my small children on a bus at 6 a.m.!!! (and that would be the case next year) I can’t have us all coming home at 6:30 p.m.–the time we’d get home after I finished in my classroom, pick them up from daycare and drive home– just to eat dinner, do homework, put them to bed by 7ish. I didn’t have children so they could spend every waking hour with someone else.

  • 11. Southside mom  |  January 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I really resent the fact that CPS is trying to imply a longer school day will increase student achievement. It will only give teachers a longer break during the school day. Students will only be receiving an additional 20 minutes in core subjects. With the current staff at my child’s school currently, the plan isn’t going to work. Personally, I would rather my child be learning during this time, and not in preps.

  • 12. John  |  January 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    @9 7.5 hours of torture? Are you kidding?

    Kindergarten is not compulsory. Keep your child home when they are 5 and then send them to 1st grade – here or in the suburbs.

  • 13. day too long  |  January 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Our child is at a school that adapted a 7.5 hours day. From the time he gets on the bus and comes back home, he has been gone for 9 and half hours. He is a kindergartener. He comes home exhausted, grumpy and starving. 15 minutes of the extra time is used for the mandatory breakfast, so even if we don’t want our child to eat the crappy food, he has to go to the cafeteria, where the staff coaxes him into trying the food out. He now drinks freezing cow milk in the morning. Recess and lunch time has been expanded. Those are supervised by college students or volunteer parents. Super long school day is not working for us. Absolutely no time for after school activities. Another hour a day spent on homework. With a 7 30p.m bed time, that leaves only 2 hours a day for anything else. It is insane.

  • 14. Heather  |  January 17, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I’m really surprised by the number of negative comments regarding the longer school day. I guess my experience is a bit different. My child also goes to a school with 7.5 hr day, implemented this year. He is in 4th grade and this is the first year since he has been in CPS (he started in CPS at kindergarten) that he has had daily recess, which he absolutely loves. The homework load has been significantly reduced since the longer school day (he now gets the weekends to work on completing his homework). He also gets to work on his projects at school, so again much less time is spent at home working on them. Plus some of the weekly enrichment time is spent on technology. He is learning how to type, use PowerPoint, etc. Yes, the days are long…I’m a working parent so he does not get picked up until 4:30 to 5:30 pm and is picked up by the bus at 6:30 am. But I do think overall it has been worth it. If you look at the CPS calendar you’ll see that there is a rare month that they are in school 5 days per week for more than a week or two. The school year also starts much later that most other school districts. So I feel that time needs to be made up in some fashion.

  • 15. LSC Momma  |  January 17, 2012 at 12:06 am

    A 7.5 hour day for a child is not developmentally appropriate. In that time, the child will get 20 minutes for lunch and 25 minutes for recess. In contrast, I am lucky enough to work an 8-hour day (sometimes more, sometimes less) and I can get a lunch break, enough trust and flexibility to take it when I want it, and coffee breaks. Grown adults can’t sit in one place doing the same thing for hours on end. It reduces productivity and efficacy. We’ll have tired, burnt out kids. Schools with minimal resources will just turn to test prep and more of the same stuff that hasn’t been working in the first place.

  • 16. cps alum  |  January 17, 2012 at 12:26 am

    @12 John–

    You don’t have to tell me about state laws and ISBE rules. I’m a teacher and I know that kindergarten isn’t compulsory in Illinois. I also have taken more than a few child development classes, philosophy of education, child psychology, and brain science courses Sorry but 7.5 hours is torture for grades k-4 considering that they will only get 45 minutes of down time a day with PE once a week and little or no music and art.

    Why don’t you tell the Rahm and the CPS BOE that daily PE is compulsory in Illinois.

  • 17. Paul  |  January 17, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I agree about making physical education compulsory every day. It’s better for children to get some physical exercise during the longer days, especially for the youngest children. It’s also required by state law. CPS has a waiver from the requirement for high school only. Illinois requires PE every day for all students in elementary and middle school. It’s also considered instruction, so CPS can use some of the 90 minutes as PE and still claim that it is additional instruction time.

    For students in the elementary grades K-5, PE can be taught by the classroom teacher. For students in the middle grades 6-8, it must be taught by the gym teacher (certified in PE). A group of CPS teachers recently came up with comprehensive and specific recommendations for how to use the additional minutes from a longer day, and one of their recommendations is to provide PE every day for all students as required. Here’s a link to their report: http://vivateachers.org/2011/12/12/chicago-viva-teachers-recommend-better-ways-to-spend-time-in-school/

  • 18. WendyKatten  |  January 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Just a note about the RYH stance. We have been telling CPS that parents who took our survey wanted something under 7 hours. But more importantly, we don’t think the funding is there to staff a 7.5 hour day across the whole school district and provide necessary programs that many parent want – such as increased PE, arts, etc. The issue isn’t really the time alone. I have been meeting with community groups across the city and most people want more than core subjects for their kids. That doesn’t mean that some extra time for math or science and reading isn’t wanted, but parents want their kids to have regular PE, music, social studies, etc. There is no other large urban district that has extended the day to this length for the whole district. If it is going to be done well, it requires a lot of money.

  • 19. Rain2  |  January 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

    16 CPS — Send your kids to private school so you can stop complaining.

  • 20. Mayfair Dad  |  January 17, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I believe the longer (full) day is a win for children.

    I have concerns the extra time will be used appropriately, for the benefit of our children.

    My gut tells me this will be a political football between CPS and CTU for a very long time, compromising the effectiveness of this gift of extra instructional time. This makes me sad.

    Like Wendy, I wonder where the money will come from. I suspect the already successful schools will fund raise and grant write to pay for enrichment. The less successful schools will babysit.

    For most schools, a longer lunch period and time for recess is a blessing. Let’s focus the fight on supporting funding for the rest. Ultimately this means extra teaching positions.

  • 21. anon  |  January 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Recess is wonderful and my children have had it their entire elementary school life thanks to a wonderful staff,wonderful teachers,and volunteers.My children have also learned powerpoint in grade school,and have had art,music,a second language etc all in a “6 and half hour day”.Yes some of these extra teachers have to be funded in full by parent donations,so I am not sure how CPS is going to come up with the money for this.This has been the perfect time for us.We have been lucky and were a able to chose different public schools with varying times for preschool,kindergarten,and elementary level.High school times seem all the same except the two highest test scoring schools which have a half a day once a week.I kind of resent that now I will have no choice except between public,suburbs or private.If I had to do this all over again with a kindergartner I would definitely not have chosen to send my child to CPS at that age with 7.5 hour days.
    The one day a week my elementary school aged child does choose to be in school 7 and a half hours he comes home cranky,tired and frustrated.This day is the least productive of our homework days.He usually ends up ripping his homework up several times before he finishes it and this is a straight A student who still absolutely loves school.I do not think I can put my children through this 5 days a week.So happy for those of you who can survive the 7.5 hour day.
    This like I said in post 8 is why I do not think this is a one size fits all situation.

  • 22. anonymous  |  January 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

    This school year Philadelphia used a $55 mln federal School Improvement Grant to help 9 persistently low-performing high schools. They added more supports to a longer day and optional half-day classes every other Saturday morning.

    It is well-planned, well-funded and targeted to serve the greatest need.

  • 23. anonymous  |  January 17, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Anyone else get notice that Central Office is cutting Young Authors and Real Men Read Programs due to budget constraints?

  • 24. c.l. ball  |  January 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

    @5 Kudos for providing the links and summarizing the info.

    At Oscar Mayer, for the past two years, I have frequently heard teachers say that there is too little time in the current day for instruction, so some increase in time is good. Many current schedules do not account for movement between classes, lunch, and recess, so scheduled instruction time is more than actual instruction time at the current school day. Of course, this does not mean that 105 minutes need to be added; a lesser amount could work.

    But CPS has done nothing to plan for increased compensation for teachers or for support staff, which currently have longer hours than teachers but less than the 105 extra minutes that CPS will add next year. CPS has violated almost every recommendation that the CAP report on the Mass. program makes about planning for a longer school day. Moreover, CPS has made no provision for the targeted tutoring that Mass. used.

    As @5 points out, there a number of ways increased funding could be used aside from an extended day.

  • 25. dianeb  |  January 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

    My dd goes to Hamilton and her school day 8am-2:30pm plus an hour of after school programs per day. She comes home happy, starving and tired from the long day. She loves the daily recess and lunch time with her friends. Next year, I’m probably not going to sign her up for as many after school activities because she’ll be at school until 4:30 then.

    Personally, I see no issue with the longer school day as long as they use the time well. I would personally prefer a 6 1/2 – 7 hour day instead of the 7 1/2 hours. But arguing about 30 minutes is silly to me nor will it cause me to move out of the city.

    I do think it’s funny that the Lab School has a 5 hour and 40 minute school day which is what Rahm is saying isn’t good enough for Chicago kids but apparently it’s good enough for his kids.

  • 26. anon  |  January 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

    from the Lab school page “We are more than just test scores and college admissions statistics. We are about learning well and complementing the work of one of the world’s premier institutions of higher learning, the University of Chicago. Our academic program is rigorous, but we are as interested in the development of character as we are in scholastic achievement. Alumni from all over the world regularly attest that it was at Lab where they learned how to think deeply and thus learned how to learn.”

  • 27. anon  |  January 17, 2012 at 11:28 am

    The sentence right before that paragraph says.”The Lab schools mission is focused on students”
    didn’t copy it all the way.

  • 28. NW Parent.  |  January 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    My wife and I are both teachers and we will transfer our sons out to the local Lutheran school next year. All three of our sons score in the 95th percentile and above in reading and math. The extra 90 minutes will really give us teachers more down time. My sons are all active in sports and other activities beyond the school day and this extra time will only extend what they already do. At my school students get PE once a week for 40 minutes. Next year they will still get PE once a week for 60 minutes. We already have recess for ten minutes and next year they will get it for 20-25 minutes. Not to mention time to do homework. Unless CPS is going to do away with homework, my children will not have time to do their normal after school activities. Speaking as a parent and not a teacher…7.5 hour days are too long. Since Rahm has taken over Chicago, I do not feel the same about living in Chicago. I loved living here and working here. This is no longer the case. My wife is already started to interview for suburban positions. I am exempt from living in the city. As much as I hate to say it…Park Ridge, Morton Grove, or Niles here we come!

  • 29. anonymous  |  January 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I feel the same disappointment about the city since Rahm has taken over.

  • 30. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Good post (and as always, great writing) by Claire Wapole of RYH:


  • 31. HS Mom  |  January 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Our high school has had its extended day meeting, submitted a plan that was due 1/8 and has made a presentation to parents and students. Very positive all the way around. They voted on a block schedule which will include a block of time for academic enrichment. Currently my child has a science teacher who starts at 6:00 every day with his door open to students and 2 math teachers that alternate after school to be with students. Our new schedule will incorporate this “extra” time into the day and make attendance part of the schedule. I couldn’t be happier with the arrangement and my son is on board. The program was well thought out and positively promoted to families.

    Our old grade school had a 6 ½ hour day. Like others have mentioned, teachers felt that there was not enough time in the day to do everything and so it came home. I would have personally prefer that my child spend more learning time with the teacher. At any school the support that a child gets after hours is going to range from 0 to micro manage so I don’t see how it would be feasible to differentiate between schools for a full day.

    I’m wondering how many people moving to Chicago would opt for the city because it has a longer school day vs. the suburbs. Seems to be a win for the city.

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I have mixed feelings about Rahm. Given how CPS looks test-score wise (and what we all know about dropouts, kids not being able to read, etc) I appreciate that he wants to make some changes. Something HAS to change for the kids whom CPS is failing.
    I just feel like he latches onto an idea quickly and gets pig headed about it. If he could use some of that resolve to fight for extra funding for CPS, I think we’d all be a lot more on board.

    As for Brizard, I have to wonder…. have you ever had your boss come up with some hairbrained idea and you have to go into the client/customers/big boss/etc and act all excited about it? JCB is a smart guy. I wonder if he really supports the 7.5 hours with no extra funding? Not sure we’ll ever know the answer to that.

  • 33. anon  |  January 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    @ HS MOM
    Alot of suburban schools already go 6.5 hours to 7 hrs 10 minutes. So I don’t think that will be too much of a factor especially with the price of city stickers,city parking prices, gas prices etc.I have been told by many suburbanites (School personnel and non school personnel) that I am crazy to stay in the city.There is no testing to get into better schools in most suburbs.Every school has gifted classes etc.Plus so many other amenities.They also tell me their children aren’t under so much stress.And now it’s being rubbed in my face that suburban libraries are open on Sundays and Mondays.UGH

  • 34. Bookworm  |  January 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I wonder who the parent volunteers are that are currently staffing the longer day at the pilot schools. I am guessing stay at home parents with the ability to help out. I also wonder how many parents who don’t volunteer at school during the day think little of how large an impact this has on the parents who must give their extra time to keep this possible. While I value and enjoy the extremely large amount of time I spend during program time an my children’s school I blanch at the unfunded needs we will have next year. Many of the heavily pro extra hour and a half parents I meet at my child’s school are parents who have never taken any time to volunteer during the day. It will not have the same impact on their family comparatively if they are not getting the calls to help. If we don’t help who will?
    The longer day has been fodder for our family to plan a move to private school for all of our kids as much as we love their school.

  • 35. Mayfair Dad  |  January 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Re: Fighting for Funding the Longer Day

    How do we, as taxpayers, prevent the fight for additional funding to properly implement the full day from morphing into additional funding for the teachers union pension shortfall?

  • 36. NW Parent.  |  January 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Our school barely has a PTA. How will we find enough volunteers to make it work? CPS has an idea but never really thought it out and how to make it work.This needs to be funded, not rely on volunteers. Most schools do not have the parent support to make this happen. I know there are a lot people out of work and would volunteer but what will happen they go back to work? Hire people to do things and you will have better consistency.

  • 37. anonymous  |  January 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Today’s back pack has delivered a pleasant letter from Mr. Brizard saying that “We created these Full Day guidelines with Full Day Community Advisory Committee, which includes numerous organizations throughout Chicago representing multiple stakeholders ….”

    But nothing about funding.

  • 38. Mich  |  January 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    The way to actually do it right is not to have more sitting in the classroom for most kids. For the kids that can learn everything that way, they’re already doing fine. You can add 10 minutes a day per subject and it isn’t really going to benefit most kids more.
    What we need is to find a way to address where kids are falling through the gaps.
    In one classroom you generally have Child A who is an arithmetic wizard but can’t grasp polygons while Child B has beautiful spatial skills but cannot multiply or divide. What teachers actually need time for is to be able to properly differentiate the teaching styles. But that requires more bodies in the classroom, and that is something CPS is doing less and less of.

  • 39. local  |  January 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Will volunteers be vetted with criminal background checks and get training like the Catholic schools require of volunteers?

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks for the info, Wendy. I guess the problem is that CPS says the parents THEY talk to want a longer day. And clearly there ARE parents who do want it. I guess we have no way of knowing that the true majority is so they’re gonna use their numbers.

    **One thing I forgot to mention, at the RYH meeting I got to meet the much-mentioned Rod Estvan. The guy knows more about state budget stuff than could fit in my brain. I told him we know Grace, his biggest fan…..

  • 41. Angie  |  January 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Maybe they talked to parents who aren’t also a CTU members?

    Just a thought.

  • 42. WendyKatten  |  January 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    @cpsobsessed: What numbers are they using? I don’t remember CPS asking anyone what they wanted. In fact, we are on the Advisory Committee with them and they had the 7.5 hours decided before the first meeting. The advisory committee discussed a lot of things around quality of the day according to our RYH rep who attends the meetings, but the guidelines that recently came out were not voted on by the committee and not really the thrust of the discussions at all. I am aware there are all kinds of opinions about the length of the day. We have just said that the majority of parents we surveyed wanted between 6.5-7 hours, not that parents don’t want a longer day, The bigger issue is quality and funding, and while CPS says most parents don’t care about those issues and only want more reading and math, I am not finding many people who echo that.

  • 43. jksaf  |  January 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @33 I agree–I don’t think people will be moving to the city from the suburbs because CPS is increasing the school day as they probably already have at least a 6.5 hr school day. I work at a suburban high school which is part of a unit district and the kids attend 7.5 hours, middle school kids 7.0 hrs and the elementary kids go 6.5 hrs. I found this to be the same at my previous suburban district also. It’s only the city Catholic schools(which I also worked at) and CPS that have 5.75 hrs. So be aware if you are looking to transfer your kid to a private/parochial school it may be just as short! But in my current district which predominately middle-upper middle class (only 13% low-income), they can afford to offer PE (by a certified teacher), art, music as well as recess for the elementary kids and a dozen AP classes and multitude of electives across the disciplines. Unfortunately, CPS does not have the money to do this, but that should not stop them from lengthening the school day at least by 45 minutes if they are at 5.75hrs. That time can easily be filled as mentioned by previous posters by doing any number of things and that can be done by current staff.

    Thank you CPSObsessed for keeping this blog going and updating it with the regularity that you do. I am the parent of a toddler so I have a few years to figure out what to do and find this blog very valuable.

  • 44. anon  |  January 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Why do people assume that parents who are against such a long unfunded day are part of CTU? I am not. As Wendy stated above they say they want input but I ran into same type of experience. The school one of my children attends said they wanted input but basically they just presented us with a blueprint of the day they had already prepared to send to CPS.It was basically a waste of my time.

  • 45. anonymous  |  January 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    #44, fwiw, principals are being instructed by central office to ask for input even though they cannot really implement any input. Their hands are tied. I bet your principal is dying about all the things she cannot tell you and how stupid she feels holding input meetings that she can’t do anything about. You would be shocked about all the stuff that is going on behind closed doors of schools that staff and principals are not allowed to tell parents.

  • 46. anon  |  January 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    ugh number #45 I kind of don’t want to know.but that does make me feel a bit better as my child attends one of the top schools and has always sought out student and parent input before.It did seem a bit odd.

    Oh and before I misquote the now famous Wendy Katten I meant to say as she stated “I don’t remember CPS asking anyone what they wanted” in post 44.Thanks for all you do…

  • 47. cps alum  |  January 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    This is exactly why we need an elected school board in Chicago. As long as the mayor has control of the school board, CPS will do whatever they want without having to listen or care about what parents want. Additionally (and unfortunately) when the mayor runs for reelection, too few people will vote exclusively on the issue of schools. Thus parents do not have recourse in the one elected official who has the power over our school system and ultimately our children’s wellbeing in school.

  • 48. WendyK  |  January 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    @46. Haha. If I am famous, it is only in small circles of aggravated CPS parents.

  • 49. Angie  |  January 17, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    @47. cps alum: “As long as the mayor has control of the school board, CPS will do whatever they want without having to listen or care about what parents want.”

    How do you know that parents not affiliated with the CTU do not want a longer school day, if it means better education for their children? The current system is not working, so something needs to be changed. Good for Rahm for caring about education more than about pleasing the unions.

    Someone here mentioned that Lab School has a very short day. But they have their pick of the brightest children there. Is it so surprising that these kids can learn faster than the ones going to failing neighborhood schools?

    Also, we have the shortest school day and the shortest school year among the big cities, but do we also have the lowest-paid teachers? And if not, is there any particular reason that they should be paid more per hour than teachers in other cities, given the less than stellar results at many of the CPS schools?

  • 50. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 7:35 am

    @49, my kids’ school has, based on test scores, some of the brightest kids in the city rivaling U of C lab school any day. Our school is not failing and every year people try to bribe (unsuccessfully) their way into our public school. Why should our school day be 7.5 hours then? Why should my children be punished? If a school is “failiing” then perhaps a longer s school day is in order. But there are a good 50 schools system wide that do not need a nearly 8 hour day no matter how you look at it. Should all children have to learn the same way? Good teachers know a lot about differentiating instruction. Apparently the board of education is still backwards and thinks everyone should be doing exactly the same thing and differentiation doesn’t apply to them.

  • 51. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I agree #50. The aim of the 7.5 hour day is to get students college and career ready — which means a minimum 20 on the ACT, according to research by the U of C Consortium. So it makes sense to focus well-funded on the schools that have the greatest need.

  • 52. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

    “well funded interventions”

  • 53. Anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

    One reason I favor the longer day is to give teachers more time to instruct the students.

    My child’s teacher constantly talks about not having enough time to do what he wants to do. He’s always talking about how to find time for this and that. He’s a young and motivated man and is trying to do his best for each student. However, with such little time with the kids, he cannot.

  • 54. anon  |  January 18, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I agree @50 focus some money where it is actually needed furnish those lower scoring schools with books, libraries, reading specialists give each child some Individual attention,Maybe give each child two new novels to take home each year allow them to go on field trips etc. Why should certain schools get to waste money by using this time for study halls which can’t be called study halls.My teen volunteered to paint in two elementary schools. He says the things they don’t have compared to the schools he has attended is jaw dropping he kind of felt ashamed.Also on the two block walk there from the bus he said he never felt so scared in his life..People actually yelled at the group to go home and get out of their neighborhood from doorways.

  • 55. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Th 7.5 hour day should definitely not be yet another one-size-fits-all-CPS -program. But that looks exactly like what it is — since CPS won’t fund it..

    BTW, #53, CPS is talking about much more instructional time on reading and math. But not much else.

  • 56. Anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

    @55 – yes, that’s exactly what the students need — help with reading and math.

  • 57. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 10:13 am

    # 53 — Did you realize that CPS has mandated that teachers spend one hour in prep with colleagues and another 45 minutes in a duty-free lunch? That’s 105 minutes away from the students each day.

    Even with a longer day, your child’s teacher won’t be able to do more for his kids. He can’t be in the same room for 105 minutes.

    There is no additional time for the teacher to teach his /her students.

  • 58. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Many students need more time with reading and math, but not all students do. CPS said there are 143,000 students in low-performing seats. There are a bit more than 400,000 CPS students.

    Makes sense to focus there first with a plan that has funding.

  • 59. Anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I’m so glad to here that my child’s teacher will be relaxed after a decent lunch break! And he’ll have time to plan with colleagues which will help him tremendously since he’s a young teacher.

  • 60. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Would anyone else love to know how different the schedules are for CPS elementary schools?

    My children have always attended a small CPS school where the day was 6 hours long. Teachers took their lunch at the end of the day. The day always included 2 specials plus a 45-minute lunch and recess. Busing is available, and b/c we are on the early start — 7:45 to 1:45 — the buses can do double-duty and provide transportation for another school.

    Each week we have Gym, Spanish, and Library. Art is every other week (that’s what we can afford). Years of great principals have made sure of an excellent After-School Matters program plus music instruction for a fee.

    Which means our teachers already get 90 min. of prep time when their class goes to 2 specials each day.

    Question — what are our teachers going to do with another 105 minutes away from the kids?

    Or are they gong to take away the specials?

  • 61. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

    59 Yes, he may be more relaxed, but he won’t get to spend any more time with his students than he has this year.

    The longer day is extended for 105 min. and keeps teachers away from students for 105 min.

  • 62. Anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

    So what will the kids be doing for those 105 minutes when the teachers are busy collaborating and eating?

    Anyone know?

  • 63. Full day at last  |  January 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

    The way this conversation is going I thank God we have a mayor the protects the best interest of the kids.

    Parents @50 calling the full day “punishment” and teachers calling school “torture”. This is exactly why we need the heads of the system to just decide.

    Don’t you trust your schools with the “brightest kids” to plan a schedule appropriate for their level of learning. Could this not be a plus?

  • 64. Mayfair Dad  |  January 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Can’t please all of the people all of the time. Some posters on this thread bemoan the fact there is no ironclad blueprint in place for how to implement the full day. Other posters demand flexibility to utilize the extra time to yield the greatest benefit for their specific school population. Everyone is wondering where the money will come from. Let me break it down for you:

    The full (longer) day will require extra teachers to add such necessities as music, PE, recess, art, computer lab, etc. This will require a new, equitable funding model to bring the extra dollars to CPS to make this a reality. Unfortunately, the legislators in Springfield view Chicago as a massive sinkhole where money disappears and the schools still suck and have sucked for a long time, regardless of how much tax money is pumped into the system. Additionally – and this is a biggee – the public employee unions wield waaaay too much influence and any state tax increase for education is likely to end up in the teachers’ pension fund and not the classroom.

    Enter Rahm Emanuel, the new sheriff in town. You remember, the guy that 85% of Chicagoans voted for to clean up the mess Richie Daley made? I didn’t vote for status quo, I didn’t vote for squandering more tax money on the failed policies of the past and I sure as hell didn’t vote for a new mayor who would play pattycake with CTU.

    Until Rahm finishes cleaning up the mess (and this includes neutering CTU in the next contract scrum) CPS will remain underfunded by Sprinfield and Washington, DC. Why hasn’t the former head of CPS now in Washington, DC sent one penny of Race To The Top money to Chicago? Break the union first, the money will follow.

    Those schools who drink the Rahm-aid will continue to receive cash rewards, likely paid for by manipulating TIF accounts or an undisclosed foundation grant from one of Rahm’s powerful friends. Those schools who continue to side with CTU re: the full day will find themselves on the wrong side of the battle.

    Do you know how I can tell the full day is good for kids? Because CTU is against it.

  • 65. Mom of boys  |  January 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I also agree with #50 – I think (with the exception of no recess) that my kids are getting a really good education with their current hours, and don’t need more time with a teacher in the core subjects. In general their school’s statistics reflect a good education for the whole student body. So what is very needed in the lower performing schools might not be beneficial in the better performing schools, and the resources should be alloted differently from school to school.

    FWIW – I’m wondering if you folks who post as “anonymous” could pick a random name, so we could follow your posts over time more easily? It’s just confusing to try to piece together which comments are from the same person and make sense of the dialogue.

  • 66. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 11:26 am


    Here’s a good read — if you are interested in the opinions of 2 different groups on how to make the best use of additional time.

    Jennifer Davis says that since after school programs are voluntary, they don’t have the same impact on the poorest and neediest students, so that is why she favors a compulsory longer day.

    Seems she agrees that our main focus should be on the 143,000 who need it most, whose families and communities don’t have the resources others do.

  • 67. Angie  |  January 18, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Can you all anonymous anons add a number to your moniker, or something? It’s hard to have a conversation not knowing which one of the anonymous persons you’re talking to.

    @50. anonymous: “@49, my kids’ school has, based on test scores, some of the brightest kids in the city rivaling U of C lab school any day. Our school is not failing and every year people try to bribe (unsuccessfully) their way into our public school. Why should our school day be 7.5 hours then?”

    Is it an elementary, non-selective enrollment school? Then, if these kids are really so bright, why not teach them more material, so they will have a leg up when it’s time to compete with gifted and classical students for the precious few SE high school seat?

  • 68. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 11:56 am

    # 67 Those decisions are best left to the principal, LSC and parents who know the children. The children are testing well, and that school already has a well-rounded curriculum with enough specials to keep a child motivated and inspired.

    Every school doesn’t have to be modeled after the Korean cram schools, does it?

  • 69. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    On a lighter note — this blog writer is a very funny satirist.


    “In our country, we pride ourselves on our meager attempts to bring common core standards to the American education system. In North Korea, 10,000 school girls will cry for 48 hours in tribute to their fallen leader. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il was a despot, but the education reform movement owes a great deal of thanks to North Korea’s enigmatic little leader.

    “When Mayor Bloomberg in New York announces that he would like to fire half the city’s teachers and double class size or when Mayor Emanuel in Chicago closes down those schools that have displeased him, I can’t help, but see a little bit of beloved leader there. Like him or not, Kim was the master of doing things his own way because it was good for the people of North Korea. Some people may have thought he was crazy to kidnap a movie director to make a Godzilla ripoff for him, but he thought it was good for the people of Korea. His $700,000 annual liquor tab was just the kind of cost overrun so many great reformers have dealt with.

    “According to North Korean historical literature, “Kim Jong Il was born in a log cabin inside a secret base on Korea’s most sacred mountain, Mt. Paekdu. At the moment of his birth, a bright star lit up the sky, the seasons spontaneously changed from winter to spring, and rainbows appeared.” “

  • 70. Eric  |  January 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    @Mayfair Dad –

    CTU isn’t against a longer day, they just want to be compensated for it, (understandably so since their contractual raise was revoked and CPS exec’s were given raises last year).

    Also, they don’t trust Rahm and Brizard to know what to do with that time. They’ve made this clear when they weren’t prepared to tell schools what to do with the added time.

    The push for a longer day is an attempt to correct the after school violence of last year. This violence partially stems from school closure/turnover which sent kids from one area into rival territories (Derrion Albert).

    It’s cheaper to do this rather than actually support these under funded schools, which would actually prevent crime in the future. They have to make it a blanket policy so it doesn’t look like it’s targeting schools in under-served schools.

  • 71. TwinMom  |  January 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Mayfair Dad, Illinois is getting $43 million in Race to the Top money. I’d love to hear why you believe the unions have something to do with it. The states who won “first round” money have some of the strongest teacher unions in the country.

  • 72. HSObsessed  |  January 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Just want to repeat here that the CPS school day has always been 6.5 hours, forever. However, under union rules, a school’s teachers could vote to put the .75 hours of paid teachers’ lunch time at the end of the day, which 95% of schools did, and then left that policy in place for decades. This vote created a 5.75-hour school day for kids, and it allowed the schools’ teachers to leave campus right after classes ended, even though it was their paid “lunch time”. Then, those teachers likely spent 1+ hours at home doing prep work, grading papers, etc. Under the new rules, the lunch time can no longer be voluntarily moved to the end of the day, and there is an hour added into the school day during which they can collaborate, prepare, grade, etc. It seems to me that 1.75 hours away from the students can provide a much-needed mental and physical break.. (I remember reading of teachers complaining that bladder infections run rampant among CPS teachers because they don’t get a bathroom break for 5.75 hours each day. TMI, I know.)

  • 73. cpsobsessed  |  January 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    @72 HSO: But somewhere in there, the kids are getting more instruction time, right? Based on what you’ve laid out and what someone else said, it seems like the teachers are not actually extending their teaching time (or if so, fairly minimally.)

    So it seems like this leave a major scheduling challenge for schools to cover that time for a class while teachers are doing other things. OR, teacher will be co-erced to be with the kids longer than they’re suppose to be (and I agree… they need a solid mental break.)

    Or is that they’re with teacher X while teacher Y is having their downtime?

    In the end, it just seems like a school needs more adult bodies to cover that extra time that the kids are in the building…..

  • 74. HSObsessed  |  January 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Yes, kids will be in school longer, and there absolutely needs to be a plan (and funding) for whoever is teaching or supervising them, I agree.

    I’m just reiterating that because the argument that teachers are now being asked to work “more” for the same pay doesn’t entirely sit well with me. They were always being paid for 6.5 hours AT SCHOOL, even though most bolted after 5.75 hours. One can conceivably say that they’re now being forced to spend one of the hours at school doing what they would otherwise do at home (which I understand would cause personal scheduling problems for teachers with childcare issues, etc.). Maybe that is worth more money, I concede.

  • 75. cpsobsessed  |  January 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Sorry, this is long, but is from a recent Press Release from CPS: (I have edited out a few superfluous paragraphs. I’ve very happy about recess, but sad to think that many schools seem to have depressing, no-grass lots for their play areas…..

    CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced they are co-writing a recess guide with teachers from the Viva Project that will assist principals in developing their own recess plans for next school year as recess, as part of the Full Day initiative, is implemented across all district elementary schools. This guide will build upon the recess guide that was developed last year, and includes input from representatives from community organizations such as Healthy Schools Campaign, Raise Your Hand, and Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI).

    The VIVA Project is an independent organization that works to increase classroom teachers’ participation in education issues across the country. Last December, the VIVA Project, in partnership with National Louis University, launched the VIVA Teachers’ Chicago Ideas Exchange, a project that solicited the feedback of nearly 600 CPS teachers in developing recommendations for the Full School Day. The ideas in the recess guide will be rooted in the recommendations set forth in VIVA’s collaborative report written by the members of the Idea Exchange.

    “The Viva Project’s Teachers’ Chicago Ideas Exchange has turned out to be an incredible resource for us to ensure that teachers, who have a critical voice and perspective in this process, can help shape how to best utilize the Full School Day,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “Recess is a key part of the full day and studies show that having time for recess not only promotes lifelong habits of healthy living, but also increases the likelihood of a student’s success in the classroom.”

    The VIVA Project teachers offered many suggestions for the Full School Day, including recommending that schools be given flexibility in shaping their school day, promoting creative scheduling strategies like double blocks, and presenting recommendations for time allotments by groups of grade levels, rather than separate allotments for each grade.

    The resource guide will include recommendations that will assist principals in addressing various issues that arise in scheduling recess such as; ensuring the safety of all students and making accommodations for students with disabilities. This guide will be particularly helpful for those principals who did not previously have time to provide recess in the past.

  • 76. Mayfair Dad  |  January 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    @ 71 TwinMom: Duly noted, I just read the article dated December 23, 2011. Illinois finally got a taste of RTTT$ in the third round. I must have been Christmas shopping that day and missed the article.

    In the previous rounds, Illinois was turned away due to lack of buy-in from teachers unions re: accountability measures. States that won the money in the first two rounds were able to demonstrate union cooperation. I’m not sure CTU is even included in this latest influx of cash because the proposal is submitted by the state BOE.

    If someone has confirmation that CTU is cooperating with ISBE on securing RTTT$, please share the link.

  • 77. Mayfair Dad  |  January 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    @ 71 twinMom part II: here is a blurb I found after a quick Google search:

    “Jim Vail – October 19, 2010

    The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) hit hard at President Obama’s educational agenda by passing a resolution that rejected Race to the Top at the IFT convention in St. Louis October 15-16. Unlike last year when the IFT, under the direction of the American Federation of Teachers and Randi Weingarten, refused to oppose Obama’s education plan that calls for more charter schools and merit pay for teachers, this year marked a complete reversal, thanks to the newly elected leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union.”

    Karen Lewis and CTU are actively working against RTTT$. I’m sure there are other articles out there.

  • 78. Mayfair Dad  |  January 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    One more post on a related issue, re: NY tying education funding to teacher evaluations. This isn’t much different than Rahm’s “cash for compliance” approach.


  • 79. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Btw — 2010 — this is not a very recent blurb, MFD. A lot has changed; primarily the passage of SB7 in May 2011.

    That bill pushed through many of the most important of Duncan’s education reforms that curtail the waning power of CTU, like

    –getting rid of collective bargaining,
    –getting rid of seniority and tenure,
    –no longer having to hire only credentialed teachers,
    –teacher evaluations based in part (40%) on student test scores, and
    –a longer school day.

    How long exactly was left up to the mayor to decide. He seems to like 7.5 hours for everyone.

  • 80. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    So a lot was accomplished there.

    And Quinn just announced that Illinois got $43 mln in RTTT funds, I seem to recall. I’ll try to find the link.

  • 81. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm


    Here it is.

    Seems like much of it will be put toward STEM, which sounds like a very good idea.

  • 82. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    About the cash for compliance, or, as some have called it, Race to the Trough:

    Generally speaking, school funding should be sustainable so that programs can be successful and support children over time.

  • 83. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    This is from an education blog called PURE — a story about a PAC that helped push through the bill that made the 7.5 hour day possible. They will be calling CPS parents tonight.

    $tand for Children calling 50,000 Chicagoans tonight


  • 84. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    @57, teachers will have 105 minutes of time away from the kids, but not ON TOP of what is happening now. Instead of a 20 minute lunch, there’ll be a 45 minute duty free lunch. Instead of 4, 40 minute preps per week, there’ll be 5, 60 minute preps with one of those being designated as collaboration (which means meetings). So, yes, there will be plenty of time for more instruction.

  • 85. cpsobsessed  |  January 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm


    This is the group who (as I understand it) pushed through the legislation that made the 7.5 day possible. not sure if they advocate a longer day or not. Their site looks like they have good goals in mind, but PURE hates them for some reason (I’m guessing they support charters?)
    Never in a million years would I have guessed that there could be so many competing factions in education, when you know we all want the same goal.

    I’m reading what has happened at some of the long-day schools. While I think 7.5 is too long, this doesn’t sound so bad:

    Disney II:

    30 additional minutes for language arts
    10 additional minutes for math
    25 additional minutes for other core (social studies, history)
    25 additional minutes for enrichment
    Gym, art, music


    35 additional minutes for language arts
    20 additional minutes for math
    10 additional minutes for science
    10 additional minutes for cultural arts
    15 additional minutes for enrichment
    Current Events/Global Issue review

    More here:

  • 86. cpsobsessed  |  January 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    A co-worker of mine just asked when I get into work so we could schedule a meeting. I said usually 9:20 because of my schools drop off time, then I went into a long rant about how next year I will be one of those early-to-work people who gets here well before 9 because of the 8am start time.

    He said “ok, then next year’s meeting can happen at 8:30”.
    Hm, not sure he shared my outrage. 🙂

  • 87. anonymous  |  January 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    @72. no there is not going to be an hour added into the school day for collaboration/prep. That added hour and longer lunch are replacing current prep and lunch times.

  • 88. RL Julia  |  January 19, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I think that the longer school day works for some CPS sub-populations better than others. Little kids – not so well, middle school kids -great! Higher achieving students with lots of home support -not so well, kids with needs greater than the school system has time to deliver on currently – yay!

    When Chicago implemented the idea of “school choice” it allowed its system to fragment into a whole bunch of smaller systems. This was allowed for a lot of politcal and financial reasons but it has resulted in a there being a lot of cps-funded academic universes out there -all banded together by the (stressful) misnomer of “choice”. In theory we can all “chose” to send our kids to a gifted program etc… althought every person on this blog knows the reality of this statement to be more like you can chose to jump through multiple hoops that might result in your kid going to a gifted program…or not.

    A functional school system would offer all the specialized things that have been fragmented out into individual schools at pretty much every school – the way that it is done in the suburbs. This would mean every school would have the resources or at least a functioning geographically regionalized plan to serve every type of student. While I wouldn’t give Brizard (or Rahm for that matter) credit for having the vision to try and unify CPS’s multiple tracks of schools (divide and conquer seems to be his personal mantra), I do think that one of the reasons that people are having such a hard time with the idea of a longer school day is that at this point, any solution for everyone is perceived as a solution for no one (or at least not me).

    All that being said, since this whole debacle is at this point a highly contentious and unfunded mandate, I wonder if we should all be talking about what will happen if next school year started off with a teacher’s strike rather than how tired or not tired everyone will be if the school day is longer….

  • […] Longer School Day Has Cost CPS Nearly $10 Million CNC:  Many parents and community members said they fear that a longer school day would not be adequately financed next year, forcing schools to do more with even less. ALSO Longer School Day cpsobsessed […]

  • 90. HS Mom  |  January 19, 2012 at 9:23 am

    @64 – Mayfair dad – RTTT aside, your comments are right on. I don’t think we’ll be playing pattycake with CTU. 🙂

    @88 – I think it’s certainly a fair assumption to make that there are varying viewpoints and needs with regard to a longer day. Also consider that parents active in their children’s education would embrace more time for learning even in primary grades and that many suburban schools are underfunded.

  • 91. Wendyk  |  January 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

    @64 – there won’t be extra positions for next year. In fact, we will probably see some cuts to budgets. Keep in mind schools that are Ren10 schools, SE and magnet schools start off with more positions than average neighbhorhood schools, so it might be easier to implement a 7.5 hour schedule with no extra funding/positions. Also, some schools fundraise for extra positions, so there is that variable. But the typical neighbhorhood school is in a worse position for this. I spoke to someone on the LSC at a pioneer school on the West Side yesterday. They desperately want music, technology, language for their kids and still don’t have it despite being a “pioneer school.” It is a myth that most parents want only math and reading for their kids. They want what every parent wants,which is a full curriculum not just a longer day.

  • 92. cpsobsessed  |  January 19, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Wendy, what has that pioneer school done with the extra time? Just lengthen the current classes each a bit?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 93. Wendyk  |  January 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

    She said it was just more of the same except for the addition of recess which she said was a good change.I guess schools really couldn’t add the specials they might want because they didn’t know if the money would be sustainable. They could have added music or language but they would have had to fire the teacher next year b/c they won’t be getting the same funding. Some schools like Skinner North just split the money up between teachers and let them use it as they wished for their classrooms.

  • […] Longer School Day Has Cost CPS Nearly $10 Million CNC:  Many parents and community members said they fear that a longer school day would not be adequately financed next year, forcing schools to do more with even less. ALSO Longer School Day cpsobsessed […]

  • 95. kiki h.  |  January 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Just addressing a post very early in the discussion, my daughter goes to one of the longer day schools (a magnet) and has a homework load that is about equal to the homework at her old SE school. I doubt that the schools will ease up on homework.

  • 96. goingtogermany0693  |  January 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    One thing that is so frustrating about the way in which this is being handled is the lack of thought in how to proceed. I understand that the majority of schools in CPS are in severe need of help (I used to work in such a school). I feel like this is just another “band-aid” approach instead of thoughtfully investigating how to go about long term sustainable change with long term results.

    For example: Jeffrey Canada has made great strides with his Harlem Children’s Zone project. A lot of effort was involved: from the community, to schools, to teachers, from donors of tame and money and of parents. The last one is especially important. To have parents completely on board, you need to work with them: communicate with them, not just tell them what will be done. CPS needs to look at all kinds of research (nationally as well as internationally, inner city as well as affluent, etc) before throwing a plan out there. Statistics and test scores cannot be the only factors in making a decision. Nor can you expect that by changing the hours in a day will result in the desirable change (preparing students to be high school and college ready).

    A lot of that needs to come from the home and it needs to start before children enter school. One of the things that Jeffrey Canada discovered is that making changes to a longer day in middle school was hard, but students were better prepared for future learning and success when they began one of the infant/toddler or preschool programs and then segued into school. One of the components of the aforementioned programs is parent participation and education. Parents need to be a part of the process early on and they need to know why.

    Then there are the families who do not fall into this category. They have read to their children since before they could talk, value activities that enrich their children and know that education is not confined to time within the school. Children need time to learn things from their family, friends, neighbors,community, etc (how to cook, do laundry, clean up after themselves, sew a button, be in charge of their own fun, solve their problems, etc) They do not need intensive programs to strengthen their reading and math skills. If the city is going to be strict on adding time to the day, they need to give it more thought and make sure it is unfolded appropriately for all children. There are enough studies to support various options for various schools that meet the needs of all children in Chicago. The question is, will the mayor and board do the right thing?

  • 97. Eric  |  January 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm


    While I agree that Rahm needs to use proven methods (which I have no faith in him to do), we also have to be careful about what is considered proven. Using public money for the private sector is not sustainable.

    Geoffrey Canada did not ‘discover’ that pre-school better prepares kids for elementary school (Head Start was launched in 1965). In fact many of HCZ “innovations” (community services, pre/after-school, music, arts, health services) are what gets cut from traditional public schools first, yet HCZ gets applauded and funded for their “innovation.” In 2009 HCZ actually kicked out the entire 9th grade class for not performing well.

    Parent involvement is essential, but many times we are dealing with a population that have been the victim of generations of poor schools and poor policies.

  • 98. goingtogermany0693  |  January 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I understand what you are saying. I know Canada did not discover that. I also know that other research on early childhood education shows long term benefits as well (Perry Hi-Scope Project). I also know that parental involvement is crucial and that trying to push a 7.5 hr day as a fix for getting all students ready for High School and college is not a reasonable solution to decades of educational and socio-economic mismanagement.

    I am not suggesting we have our own Chicago Children’s Zone. It would take a tremendous amount of effort, not to mention funds over a very long term. And it would not be necessary for the entire school population of the city. The most important thing you mentioned was the parent involvement and support component . I mentioned Canada because his involvement in trying to create change is more recent and it is more comprehensive in terms of starting when children are very young, getting families on board and continuing on with this model of involvement and expectations.

    The question is, how do we change the generations of poor schools and poor policies that many students are a part of. I think that is a bigger yet more important problem to deal with that if re-managed going forward could have great impact on the future generations of children.

  • 99. anonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Canada went waaaay beyond just preK and social services. He created a cradle to college set of services and wrap around care and put them all together in one place at one time. He did something that had never been done before. He recruited families when they were still pregnant and their elementary schools are ten hour days. (crazy for some families–like mine, but helpful for others). Merely providing preK, even quality free preK for families doesn’t yield quite the miracle some people believe it does. There is research put out by Headstart itself that indicates the gains made by headstart kids disappear by 3rd grade (since nothing else is done to intensively make up for what kids don’t get at home the other years). I believe we need something far, far beyond prek. Don’t get me wrong, it would be a start and would make a difference for some kids. But I do believe that in order to truly and permanently lift most of our city out of poverty, we’d have to do something like HCZ. Maybe not the same thing, but something like it. Of course, there isn’t the money available to publicly do it. I won’t happen. But I do believe that is what most of CPS needs. At the same time, it is absolutely not what my family needs and if CPS mandated that model for my kids, we’d be moving tomorrow.

  • 100. Eric  |  January 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm


    I agree this is the crux of the problem but families are already on-board in their children’s lives, they’re just not always in-line with the prescriptive way in which our govt. hands down policies.

    Schools and the dominant society do not value their teachings which mostly are related to survival because of social disparities of race and class.

    To solve this issue we need to start with a more inclusive curriculum and viewpoint that values cultural differences, can learn from them, and treats them with respect.

  • 101. anonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    @74, wondering if this helps?
    Current elementary schedule for teachers per week:
    8:30-2:45 (with paid time from 2:45-3:30 for lunch)
    30 minutes prep time in a.m. x 5=150 minutes prep in a.m. Per week
    20 minute lunch x 5= 100 min. lunch per week
    4, 40 min preps = 160 minutes prep
    45 minutes of paid lunch at end of day =225 minutes per week
    6.5 hour day total (including lunch at end of day) = 2625 minutes time total per week
    of that, 630 minutes are for lunch, preps or before/after school paid prep time, 1095 instructional minutes per week

    Proposed elementary schedule for teachers per week:
    10 minute prep in a.m. x5= 50 minutes prep per week in a.m.
    5, 60 minute preps during day x 5= 300 minutes prep weekly
    45 minutes lunch x 5= 225 minutes lunch per week
    7 hour and 40 minute day= total of 2300 minutes total working time per week
    of that, 575 minutes for prep or lunch, 1725 minutes instructional minutes per week

    Difference? 55 minutes LESS prep or lunch time per week, and 630 additional instructional minutes per week. Please, anyone, feel free to check my math. I keep looking at this going, this isn’t possible, but I think it is.

  • 102. anonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Duh, seeing mistakes now….will be back to fix

  • 103. anonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    current minutes total=6.5 hours x 5 days =1950 minutes per week work time
    630 prep/lunch minutes
    1320 instructional minutes

    proposed 7 hours and 40 minutes (teachers) x 5=2300 min per week work time
    575 minutes prep/lunch
    1725 instructional minutes

    difference–405 additional instructional minutes, 350 total extra minutes of work.

    Apologies for the mistakes….trying to do this while helping my kids with their homework and helping one child choose a birthday cake idea to copy. Hopefully I have my numbers correct this time!

  • 104. anonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Crap! I forgot that current day for teachers is really 7 hours (8:30-3:30 when you account for the 45 minute lunch at the end of the day) which means 2100 minutes total working time now, 630 prep minutes, 1470 minutes instructional time.

    proposed 7 hours and 40 minutes (teachers) x 5=2300 min per week work time
    575 minutes prep/lunch
    1725 instructional minutes

    So, that means the difference is only 200 extra minutes work time (a little more than 3 hours) and about 5 hours of instructional time per week. Honestly, after all that, if the district would give *a little* and make the student day 8:20-3:30, with 7:50-8:20 being morning prep time, it would be a wash for me. I still think it is too long for primary kids and my own kids, but wow, thanks for the impetus to work through all this. I don’t feel so bad. 5 hours of instructional time means about 10 hours more of work total per week, which isn’t as bad as I’d imagined. And likely, I will use more class time for worksheets and rest time so I can grade papers for 10 minutes a day while they rest, or clean up while they do a worksheet. Again, apologies for the mistakes.

  • 105. AlwaysAnonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    #104 – No, current school day is 6 hr 30 mins. It’s 5 hrs 45 mins when teacher lunch is pushed to end of day.

  • 106. anonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    @105, that’s for kids, I am talking for teachers. I have to clock in by 8:30 and am paid until 3:30. That’s 7 hours, right? (kids are there from 9-2:45 and my “lunch” is taken from 2:45-3:30)

  • 107. Angie  |  January 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    @99. anonymous: “There is research put out by Headstart itself that indicates the gains made by headstart kids disappear by 3rd grade (since nothing else is done to intensively make up for what kids don’t get at home the other years). I believe we need something far, far beyond prek. ”

    Has anyone researched children from the third-world countries, who are sometimes first in their family to attend any school, and have poor and illiterate parents who are unable to read or do math problems with them? How do they do it?

  • 108. anonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @107, do you mean immigrants in the U.S. from developing countries? If so, I can’t think of any research. But if it is worth anything, my experience has shown me they don’t typically do very well at all. You might hear a few success stories here and there, but overall, there aren’t many.
    If you do come across research on current day immigrants, I’d love to read it.
    A lot of people always point to folks a generation or two ago, who came from Poland or Korea or wherever. But 50 years ago, kids didn’t have to learn the sheer amount of things kids do know. And there aren’t nearly as many jobs for hard working, but low skilled workers who may or may not speak English well. There aren’t as many higher paying factory jobs with pensions, or machinist jobs, or welding jobs. Now, college is pretty much a must to succeed and I’d say a graduate degree is needed to go beyond lower middle class in many cases. The schools I have taught in–when you combine language issues, new immigrant status, and poverty and illiterate family–it is pretty much the kiss of death for most kids. The only exception I have seen is some Asian kids (India, China, Korea, Iran, etc.) because of the absolutely intense focus, and I mean crazy intense, in some families on education.

  • 109. Angie  |  January 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    @108. anonymous: no, I mean kids who still live in those countries, and sometimes study sitting on the ground, dodge bullets on the way to school or get hate from the anti-education extremists. And yet their teachers still are able to teach, and the children still manage to learn.

    It seems to me that American school system knows how to educate the “average” child – the one with involved parents, college ambitions, and so on. But the system has no idea what to do with a child for whom the time they spend in school is the only learning time they are ever going to get. We need to find a way to educate these children instead of complaining about their parents who are most likely set in their ways and aren’t going to change.

  • 110. anonymous  |  January 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    @109, Can I ask, how many of those developing countries have you actually lived in? I am asking because I have lived in two of them. And the students who I’ve seen who have dealt with flying bullets (which happens frequently in some neighborhoods of our city too), and who walk miles to school with no shoes (not being snarky, I taught in a village in Africa where this was the case), are educated well–up to about a 3rd-5th grade level. Upwards of 90% of those kids never go beyond that. They don’t learn to use a computer, they don’t learn how to research or have libraries or PE or art or much of anything. I am talking about kids dying of Malaria, HIV, and war. These were my students. We used soda bottle caps as math manipulatives. My 8 year olds would have loved to learn to read, but there were quite literally, no books, so any reading happened from reading what the teacher wrote on the board. The very few who went onto university are usually from rich families. All the others work in factories making shirts so Americans can buy things cheaply, or work on the family farm or sometimes, kids are sold into prostitution. That is if they live long enough to do so.
    I am not sure where you have gotten the idea that developing countries are able to send anything other than tiny percentages of their population to college, let alone adulthood. As bad as the U.S. education system is, we do far better with our students than most other places once you factor in poverty, crime, and lack of support outside of school.

  • 111. Angie  |  January 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    @110. anonymous: “And the students who I’ve seen who have dealt with flying bullets (which happens frequently in some neighborhoods of our city too), and who walk miles to school with no shoes (not being snarky, I taught in a village in Africa where this was the case), are educated well–up to about a 3rd-5th grade level.”

    Isn’t that about the grade level of the kids from failing American schools, in spite of our much better quality of life and resources? What gives?
    Please explain how a child from an African village and a child from a major American city ultimately end up with the same level of knowledge.

    And I’m not sure where you’ve seen me talking about these African kids going to college. I certainly wouldn’t expect it from many of them, giving the circumstances. However, working at the factory or farm, sweeping the floors or serving burgers is still much better than making a living from theft, robbery or murder.

  • 112. SandaC  |  January 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Did anyone see that CTU is working with the gangbanger and felon Mark Carter to create trouble at Crane? Substance News has an article quoting a union organizer talking about the CPS public meeting a couple weeks ago saying, “Then it got even better, if such were possible. Mark Carter [sic] who had been a thorn in everyone’s side came up to me and said ‘We are on the same side.’”


    Since when do things get “even better” when a gang member gets involved? Parents should know this is Mark Carter the gang member who was questioned by the FBI last year for making threats against Congressman Danny Davis. I sure hope someone is trying to figure out who is paying this guy and why CTU is working with him.

  • 113. karet  |  January 20, 2012 at 10:37 am

    At Skinner North, parents seem to be very happy with how the added time is being used. We have filled out numerous surveys and the concerns of parents have been addressed. There was overwhelming support for adding more Spanish, so a day of Spanish instruction was added for all grades. K and 1 now have two recesses. And so on. As far as I can tell, most of the unhappy people have very long commutes (for us, it’s a 45 min drive in the morning, an hour bus ride after school — for some it’s even longer). If everyone lived close (as in a neighborhood school), I think there would be just about unanimous support. But this is obviously an issue that affects all selective enrollments and magnets that draw from all over the city. Leaving the house at 7 or 7:15, getting home at 4:30 or 5 is tough, especially for the younger kids (my son is in K).

  • 114. CPSsurvivor  |  January 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

    113 – Since the long commute is the price to pay for free, good education in the city, this is not too bad

  • 115. anon  |  January 20, 2012 at 11:30 am

    @ 113 than try that commute why adding 2-3 hours of homework to the mix, in later years.Than repeat over and over again.Most high school kids in SE schools get home after 5.30 with
    sports,clubs,tutoring etc Doesn’t get much easier for teens. I feel for your kindergartner.

  • 116. anon  |  January 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Oh and that is without the extra time added on yet.

  • 117. local  |  January 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    @112 SandraC

    “Since when do things get ‘even better’ when a gang member gets involved?”

    I believe “even better” is used sarcastically by the writer. You see that, right?

  • 118. NW Parent.  |  January 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Parents at Skinner North seem to be happy but the question that has yet to be answered by CPS is funding. Skinner I believed received money for being part of the Pioneer Program. How will they sustain there current program/curriculum once that money runs out? If CPS could answer that question for all 600+ schools then I believe the majority of people would not question the new hours.

  • 119. karet  |  January 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    @114, 115
    I should have made it clear that I do support the longer day. I don’t think it is ideal for K and grade 1, but I see the benefits of having the longer day for higher grades. Parents of the older kids seem even more enthusiastic because less homework has been assigned than previous years.
    The money could not be used to fund things like salaries of specials teachers (ongoing expenses).

  • 120. Anon.  |  January 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    119 There is no sustained funding for teachers of specials or social workers, or reading coaches to enhance the longer day.

  • 121. TwinMom  |  January 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    And *that* is why I’m opposed to the idea. Because we all know damn well that there is NO MONEY to fund this, system-wide, in the way that CPS claims it will be funded. They’ve set up this utopian version of what the day will look like, which of course sounds great to many parents (especially those in failing schools), and then neglect to mention how they plan to pay for it. And when I smell that, it smells a lot like empty posturing for CTU negotiations, not true reform.

    I’m generally opposed to 7.5 hours for kids under about age 10, but especially for kindergarteners and first graders. I don’t think that allows enough “creative brain-rest time/play time” for them. But even still, if I thought that all the kindergarteners and first graders, system-wide, would be in the utopian schools Brizard has described, I’d be moderately in favor. But they won’t, because there is no money to fund the utopia. Even if the new CTU contract made teachers work (literally) for peanuts, there wouldn’t be enough funds.

    I can already see the press conferences next summer, where Rahm and JC tell CTU that CPS must lower teacher compensation in order to pay for the longer day. Oh, I’m sorry, “fuller” day.

  • 122. Anon.  |  January 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    112 Followed your link and I’m just wanting to clarify … I don’t see how you conclude that CTU is working with Mr. Clark, just b/c he approached Ritter and said he wanted to make clear that CPS had rented protestors. CPS paid pastors from the far south side who then hired outside protestors to come to the Crane meeting in an effort to influence the parents at the meeting. These were “the bussed in people” — they don’t live in the area and don’t have kids who attend the school.

    Sarah Karp, reporter at Catalyst, confirmed this same information.
    From the Substance News story …

    “Then it got even better, if such were possible,” Ritter continued. “Mark Clark who had been a thorn in everyone’s side came up to me and said “We are on the same side”, and said he wanted expose the bused in people. His turn on the mike came, and he turned to the crowd and asked “What neighborhood are you from? People respond “…the hundreds, Englewood, Roseland”, etc. — all from the far South Side. Clark started saying, “The mayor paid off your pastor big bucks and what did you get?” His talking points remain true to exposing the bused in people and their leaders. They started shouting and fighting among themselves, security ask some to leave, and then many more leave on their own. The rent a protest had departed, leaving just the Crane people in the auditorium.

  • 123. Anon.  |  January 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    All the school meetings asking parents what they’d like to see is pie-in-the-sky nonsense. It is just wasting our time and confusing the issue b/c there is no budget.

    They must think that we stupid parents will be somewhat happy if we think we have a say in the 7.5 hour day.

    We don’t, of course.

    Great p.r. spin from the mayor, once again.

  • 124. anonymous  |  January 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    From district 299: This comment from a retired CPS teacher notes that a similar plan was enacted in 1993 which emphasized core classes and eliminated teachers and specials.

    “Busch said 3 hours, 1 minute ago

    Almost a year.

    In a couple of days I will reach my first year of retirement. I miss the people but Am keeping very busy doing the things that the pressure of teaching in Chicago prevented I am sure a lot of readers consider 1993 ancient history .I only write because , so far, nothing the board is trying To impose on the schools wasn’t unsuccessfully tried before .
    Going back to 1993 the board offered a 5+5 which was embraced my many veterans who retired. They were not replaced, schools had to do with a reduced staff. This was accomplished by gutting enrichment classes, in the name of the children”Time on Task” was the flavor of the year then. Students who had nine periods to fill every day now were programmed into seven. Gone were opportunities to take classes a kid wanted .Students were forbidden to take any extra classes no matter what the reason. It was about this time many bands began to disintegrate
    sacrificed on the altar of the new longer core.So what do I read in the new guidelines for the ”Full Day “ in high schools?
    The board is just going to pile on the core classes. That term must appear in every Paragraph I read. There was scant mention of a schools leeway ,it did mention enrichment classes on the bottom of the page. Nowhere did I see anything about adding more periods to the “Full day “or allowing more class selection for students. So my take is this : Time will be added to the core classes just like 93, absolutely no opportunities , during this engorged day ,can be spent on enrichment. The ‘Full day” becomes a “Bull Day” .”

  • 125. Anonymous  |  January 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    114 — You’re right. We are not paying tuition. But CPS is supported by our property taxes.

  • 126. LR  |  January 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Wow! There are a lot of comments and I have no time to read all of them. I think it is ridiculous that Brizard and Emanuel can just dictate the length of day and there are no laws, no checks, no balances now that the teachers cannot negotiate. If more time equals better students, and you don’t have to pay the teachers one cent more, why not just keep our kids 10 hours a day? I’m being sarcastic, but I really don’t understand their insistence on 7.5 hours when teachers favor a 7 hour day and 84% of parents think a 7.5 hour day is too long (as per the RYH survey). I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult for the Teachers’ Union to gain the 75% needed for a strike. They might not be able to negotiate over the length of the day, but they can still strike over inadequate compensation (right?). And I hope they do strike if Rahm and Brizard don’t budge on this. Is one-half hour of school per day really worth risking a strike? If Rahm and Brizard think so, then they are out of their minds.

    I am just fuming about this. I guess the thing that makes me most mad is that every time I see Rahm talk about this topic on the news, he indicates that parents support what CPS is doing by adding 90 instructional minutes and that is a flat out lie. Overwhelmingly, we do not. At this point, I really don’t see how questioning Rahm on this topic is helpful. As parents, if we overwhelmingly do not support a 7.5 hour day, then we should not treat this as a “done deal” and be discussing things like “how the time will be used.” We need to be emphatic about the fact that we don’t support this plan, we don’t think it is good for our kids, and we aren’t going to just accept it.

    Is there any way we can urge our legislators to make a law that limits the length of the school day (especially for kids under a certain grade level)? I mean, if it is legal to take away teachers’ power to negotiate over the length of the school day, then why can’t we have a law that protects our children (especially young ones) from a school day that, for the most part, far exceeds their developmental capabilities?

  • 127. Anonymous  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    The new mayor’s ability to lengthen the day is a direct result of the lobbying by a PAC called Stand for Children, which was invited to Illinois and funded to the tune of $3.5 mln by the Pritzkers, Crownes, Griffins and Sam Zell, among other of Chicago’s billionaires.

    They helped push through Il bill SB7 in May 2011 that gave the mayor the right to lengthen the day, among many other rights which sharply curtail the union.

    Can we change SB7?

  • 128. Mom  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Does anyone else think that the insistence on 7.5 hours is really just a tactic, and the real desire is 7.0 hours or 6.5 hours? Easy enough to “compromise” on that last half hour or so in negotiating the new contract. But likely fun for the mayor to watch CTU squirm and kvetch.

  • 129. anonymous  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    @111, I agree that American kids with all this country has to offer should be doing better. And proportionally, they are. When I lived in a small African village, upwards of 90% of the people were living in destitution. I want to say the poverty rate in Chicago is about 50%. Still way too high, but we do better. I also don’t know if I feel like there is often such a big difference from parts of Chicago to where I lived in Africa. The “extreme” factor might sometimes be higher, but the situations are not all that different. When I worked on the west side, I had kids living in homes without running water or heat. I remember visiting one home where I discovered the apartment below where my student lived was home to 20 street walkers. The girl’s home didn’t have two entrances, she and the mother had untreated mental illness and there wasn’t food to eat in the home. It was definitely as dangerous as my African village.
    While most of our public high schoolers in CPS aren’t equipped for college, that is symptomatic of typical urban issues. And you are right, we haven’t figured out how to deal with kids with no support at home very well yet. Perhaps that is indicative of family support being vitally important?
    If we know anything, we know that parental support (along with some money) works. It works amazingly well. This is why I believe we need a Geoffrey Canada style change and why we need far beyond preK. We need at least 1 reading specialist per every 70 kids in the system, too. (costing billions)
    However, it does appear that our city is about to mandate that the school becomes more and more of a “parent” with more and more hours spent in school. Hopefully that really helps. I am not sure it will due to not being supported with finances and other supports, but I still hope it does.
    For me, though, my kids don’t need a new parent(s). They just need (and have thank goodness) a good school. But the longer day for my kids means 9.5 hours away from me. And my longer day, while not quite as bad as I originally imagined, leaves me 12 hours a day away from them (with commute and not including the work time outside the building). I don’t feel like I personally can have all of us on that schedule and have a meaningful, loving, close family life. This leaves me, along with many other reasons, no other option but to move my children into a system that has a school day length I support and the funding to match. I hope it works out okay for those who stay, I just can’t.

  • 130. anonymous  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    128, I absolutely believe the Mayor is insisting on 7.5 hours knowing full well he really wants 6.5-7 in the end. Posturing. It will still be unfunded though.

  • 131. Anonymous  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    129 Btw, in Chicago, 31% of children live in poverty .About 10,000 CPS students are homeless. And CPS says 143,000 are in low-performing seats. That’s where the attention should be paid, first. And then you and others who don’t want a 7.5 hour school day, wouldn’t have to leave the system.

    130 Like with his crazy infringements on our right to free speech and assembly, his response to his constituents real distress is never more than a small gesture that his pr people can spin into a big concession — showing his reasonable side. And if it is unfunded, it is still worthless.

  • 132. Anonymous  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Does anyone think he is more than a one-term mayor?

  • 133. anonymous  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm


    On what the 7.5 hour day might cost.

  • 134. LR  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    #128 and 130: I so hope you are right! I wonder if it infuriates the teachers as much as it infuriates me that they are sending out memos about the “fuller day” next year like this is a done deal.

    #127: Good question. I think SB 7 was one of those bills that had good intentions (lengthening the school day), but unintended consequences (a school day that is too long). I don’t know if it is easier to just introduce another bill or is there a way to “amend” SB7? And can I convince my State Rep that this is a constituent issue worth taking up? It is certainly a topic that people have strong opinions about, as indicated by this discussion.

  • 135. Angie  |  January 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    @132. Anonymous: “Does anyone think he is more than a one-term mayor?”

    I sure hope Rahm will be with us for a good long time, or at least until he cleans up every union abuse out there (see firefighters’ mileage fraud, double pensions, CTA overtime, etc.)

    @129. anonymous: 12 hours away from family? Gosh. I know teachers are not used to this, but let me remind you that a typical working stiff has an 8 hour work day with 1 hour for lunch that they are not allowed to move to the end of the day. Add to it one hour or longer commute each way, which is pretty normal, and if such person stops to run an errand or pick up groceries along the way, they will be away from their family for the exact same 12 hours. That’s how the rest of the world lives.

    Oh, and dear teachers? When you figure out your slave wages, please take your salary and divide it by the amount of hours you work PER YEAR, and not per typical school day. I just looked over my CPS calendar and counted 15 weeks of school breaks on it, not to mention the additional holidays, like President’s day or Lincoln’s birthday that private sector employees do not get. Rahm can spin with the best of them, so do you think he won’t find a way to bring this up if CTU threatens to strike?

  • 136. another cps mom  |  January 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I cannot but think that Angie has never worked for at least one year in an urban public school teaching low-income students. Just my hunch.

  • 137. Angie  |  January 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    @136. another cps mom: you are right about that. And?

  • 138. karet  |  January 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    When I read over the comments, it seems that many people would fully support a 7 hour day, but are outraged by a 7.5 hour day.
    I don’t really understand the reasoning here.

  • 139. RLJulia  |  January 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Chicago needs a homegrown Jeffrey Canada – plus for all that the Harlem’s Children’s Zone has done for Harlem – let’s not forget that it provides very deep and expensive largely privately funded (which usually means more autonomy for the program) programming for impoverished families who happen to live in a 100 block area. Canada’s work has taken years to come to fruition in a way that makes it worth talking about. So its not just committing a lot of money to a community for one year and putting a lot of regulations and standards on the money – its ultimately making a 10-15 commitment understanding that there will be 5-7 years before you might see any results at all. Let’s remember that while this model is great and it appears to work – NYC still has plenty of crummy, poor neighborhoods with failing schools and etc… to go around.

    Which blocks in Chicago would you pick?

  • 140. TwinMom  |  January 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    @138: I’d support a 6.5 hour day (which is what my kindergarteners currently have), but not a 7.5 hour day. That hour-per-day makes a huge difference in our lives.

  • 141. LR  |  January 22, 2012 at 12:38 am

    @138: I agree with 140. I think the general consensus, or at least at the school we attend, is that we really like and want to keep our 6.5 hour day. I could live with up to 7, but would not be thrilled about it. 7.5 is way too long – especially when that additional time is strictly instructional minutes. Really, our school doesn’t need ANY additional instructional minutes (we do just fine without it), so adding 5 hours of instructional time per week is absurd to me, particularly when the funding is not there.

  • 142. Too damn long  |  January 22, 2012 at 12:38 am

    138 — Many support a 6.5 hour day, not a 7.5 or 7 hour day.

    As always, the devil is in the details.

    1.) CPS has no sustained funding for any new programs.

    2.) It is not clear if the school year will begin in mid-August, but it could.

    3.) One size doesn’t fit all, but CPS wants kindergartners to high school students to attend school for 7.5 hours.

    4.) 7.5 is the longest school day in the nation by far. This school day is an experiment. The average school day in the U.S. is 6.5 hours.

    5.) There is no more time with teachers.

    Elementary students will attend school for another 105 minutes.CPS has mandated that teachers must be away from the students for 105 minutes: in a duty-free 45 min. lunch and 60 min prep each day.

    6.) This means that teachers could be laid off and class sizes will grow.

    Since children must be supervised when the teachers are engage.

    7.) Mt. Greenwood School expects to lay off 4 teachers in order to hire the low-level employees needed to supervise the children.
    Class sizes are expected to increase from 27 to 37 students.

    8.) Some parents believe that decisions regarding their children’s school day should be made by those closest to them: parents, LSC, teachers and principal — not the new mayor.

    9.) Some parents resent the interference of a PAC from Oregon called Stand for Children, who pushed through the bill that allowed the 7.5 hour day.

    From Catalyst Magazine:

    “Senate Bill 7 also gave Chicago school leaders the power to unilaterally lengthen the school day, which had previously been a subject in collective bargaining.

    After the bill was passed last year, in a speech in front of the Aspen Institute, Executive Director Jonah Edelman described how his group outfoxed the CTU in getting the bill passed and bragged that the bill would effectively prevent the teachers from ever striking.


    Local activists have also been skeptical of Stand for Children because of its supporters. Though the Illinois chapter has not raised much money this year, last year it collected more than $3 million from local deep pockets including Sam Zell, formerly of the Tribune Co., and the Pritzker and Crown families.

    (Penny Pritzker was appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.)”


    P. P.S. What are other school districts doing about a much longer day?


    Philadelphia received a $55 million federal School Improvement Grant to fund a much longer school day for 9 persistently low-performing high schools, where the graduation rate was below 50%. The funds provide many supports for deserving students, including optional Saturday morning classes.

    Unlike Chicago, Philadelphia did not try to impose a longer day throughout its school system.

  • 143. Too damn long  |  January 22, 2012 at 12:40 am

    139 — RL Hasn’t CPS started a Promise Zone in Roseland?

  • 144. anonymous  |  January 22, 2012 at 1:39 am

    137 — She’s too polite, so I’ll translate. Angie, your tone is unpleasant.

  • 145. HS Mom  |  January 22, 2012 at 11:09 am

    @143 – Not at all.

    Angie, thanks for voicing what many parents feel.

    @140 we already have an approximate 6.5 hour day. Schools with recess have these approximate hours. There is also time for entrance and dismissal figured in to that.

    @138 Thank you!

  • 146. Anon.  |  January 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    @ 140 — 144

    CPS and Rahm have been beating this drum for months: the typical school day is 5.45 hours in Chicago.

    The vast majority of schools do not add 20 min. of recess to the 5.45 hours.

    A few do, but I know at least some who add 20 moin of recess into a 6 hour day. It’s a very comfortable length of day.

  • 147. cps alum  |  January 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    It sees that many people like compare the # of hours per day a teacher works with the # of hours per people work in other jobs in the private sector (many times office type jobs). These comparisons are an over simplification. You cannot compare jobs by the # of hours on the clock. Different jobs take a different toll on the mind and body. There is a reason that air traffic controllers work 8 hour shifts with 30 minute breaks every 2 hours (and many people think this is insufficient).

    Teaching can be extremely rewarding, but is a mentally and emotionally draining profession. (Even more so for teachers in urban schools compared to affluent suburbs). I have many friends who worked in both teaching and then left for second careers. All of them have found their fatigue greater in the classroom, even withoug summers off. I have one friend who was a very gifted teacher. She truly gave it her all but burned out after just 7 years. After her first year in her new office job she commented to me how she finally understood the concept of the “happy hour.” For the first time in her working life she actually had the energy to go out after work and unwind with friends.

    @Angie- I’m not going to pass judgment on how hard your job is, I would hope you could do the same for teachers. It may be a cliché but the old adage is true “ Never judge a person until you have walked a mile in his shoes.”

  • 148. Anonymous Mom  |  January 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Is it mainly stay-at-home moms and dads who are against the shorter day?

    Trying to preserve his/her reason for “staying home to take care of the kids”?

  • 149. cps alum  |  January 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    @147- I’m a working mom and I’m against the 7.5 hour day even though it would be more convenient and cheaper for me child care wise. I think a school day schedule should be planned in the best interest of the children (developmentally speaking) and not the work schedules of the parents.

  • 150. Anon.  |  January 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    147 — I find your phrase

    “trying to preserve hi/her reason for staying home to take care of the kid?”

    both interesting and, I have to say, judgmental.

    Some parents have kids with special needs, of course. But others simply enjoy being able to raise their own children.

    They have the freedom to participate in activities together and with other families in the neighborhood, becoming a strong part of a vibrant community. These parents know their child really well, b/c they are not distracted by the pressing concerns of their jobs.

    I wouldn’t judge a working mom, I was one. But to each her own, of course.

  • 151. cpsobsessed  |  January 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Wouldn’t stay at homes be against the longer day if they wanted to “justify their time at home”? Makes it harder justify when the kids are out of the house 8 hours a day.
    We’ll have to wait to see what their press person says, I guess.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 152. anon  |  January 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    @ 147 So are we to assume than that everyone who is in favor of the longer day will be in return be saving money on daycare?

  • 153. Working mom  |  January 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    How does one save more $ on day care? Please advise.

    The bulk of the extended time will be in the morning 1/2 hour more or less of after care does not change the price.

  • 154. anonymous  |  January 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    We looked closely at what our costs would be this fall. I teach for the city and our childcare costs would go up. If we stay in the system, our kids bus will arrive at 6:15 a.m., meaning the kids would have to wake up at 5ish to make it to the bus stop. We are unwilling to make them do that. So we’d have to pay a sitter from 6-8 a.m. since I will have to leave for work at 6 a.m. to be there by 7 a.m.. That’s $400 a month just for morning childcare.

    We decided since we feel the 7.5 hour day is developmentally inappropriate for children, and since we don’t want them to go through the high school process pressure to leave the system. We will move nearer to their grandparents and enroll them in a non-CPS school. For us, it is a win-win all the way around. Grandma wants to do morning and after care, which means they get to be with family and we get free childcare. They also get a guaranteed good high school and we can afford a house that way. My husband’s commute will be cut by about 70%. And their school day will be 6.5 hours in a district that funds itself well.

    I will change the area I am teaching in so I can take advantage of the residency requirement until I can find a job in a better school district.

    I would like to know, since as Angie pointed out, there does seem to be quite a large population of parents gone 12 hour days (mine will be 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., I am guessing most working parents must then be gone from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m plus bringing work home too?), is how exactly do you all do it? Currently I am gone from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. with about 10-15 additional working hours outside the building. The only way this is semi-workable is we hire a house cleaner twice a month, pay someone to cook for us once a week and we eat out a lot. It is an honest, not snarky, question. How do all you parents who are gone 9-9 and who bring work home too do it? I need pointers!

  • 155. cps alum  |  January 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Costs for childcare vary by family and work schedule. With the 5.75 hour day I would need both before and after care. With a 7.5 day, I’ll only need after care. Regardless I DO NOT want the 7.5 hour day. I would welcome a 6.5-6.75 hour day for grades k-4. A 7 hour day is palatable for grades 5-8, but I feel that 7.5 is too long. When do they

  • 156. Anonymous  |  January 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Here’s the schedule for my middle school nephew

    6.5 hour school day includes 20 min. lunch, gym every day, 2 specials which rotate betwe4n music, art, Spanish and computers.

    Optional 1 hour after school program offers track, math club, fitness club, chess club, and many more.

    It is a quality day with enough to keep their interest. It is not a day that crams reading for 120 min and math for 90 each day.

    Their per-pupil expenditures, my sister who is a teacher said, are lower than CPS’.

  • 157. Anonymous  |  January 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Length of time is a big part of parents’ concerns. But equally important is the quality of the curriculum. And the absence of any funding makes the quality a sticking point.

  • 158. kiki h.  |  January 24, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Another huge concern is that the longer day pretty much nixes all after school activities. I feel that it puts the cps kids at a huge disadvantage. Between the homework load and the long day, there really isn’t time for swimming lessons, music lessons, etc. Isn’t that kind of a narrow life for a kid?
    And if people are so worried about childhood obesity, well, giving the kids very little time for play and exercise isn’t going to help with that either.

  • 159. Anonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

    The long day. long year mandates are a government intrusion — federal, state and city — directly into neighborhood schools and family life.

    How on earth can the mayor decide to just push through a 7.5 hour day — the longest by far in the country?

    Is this America?

    When have the parents’ been invited to be part of the discussion of this major public policy initiative?

    They have not been invited, of course. As a matter of fact, Stand for Children’s Edelman bragged that he hired the best pr firm to keep parents in the dark about his PAC’s push for SB7 “ed reforms” — which got us in this long day, long year mess.

    Which pr firm do we thank for this? I’e always wanted to know since I saw the Edelman’s Aspen institute video. We were completely left out of the decision-making regarding our kids. Where was the media on this? Was it Jasculca & Termin or Resolute Consulting? How much did they make on this? How can they defend their great work on hiding the formation of public policy on behalf of public school children in Illinois?

  • 160. mom  |  January 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

    This is a very interesting conversation. When I first saw that the school day would be increased to 7.5 hours I was all in favor of it. My kids attend the British School, and starting in JK the hours are 8:30 – 3:15, increasing to 8:30 – 3:30 in K. It has been great for them, they come home tired, hungry, and so happy. Every day my 5 year old gets in the car and says ” THAT was a good day”. So I don’t think the amount of time is the issue at all. In the 7 hours my kids are at schools they have THREE recesses, PE, music, french, 25 minutes for lunch, social studies, computer time etc. There is very little homework until second grade. I don’t think the amount of time is a problem as long as the programming is there to keep the kids engaged and learning. It allows for relaxed transitions, and more flexibility in programming. But 7.5 hours as described by CPS does sound like torture as described by a PP. How disappointing that Rahm has the chance to do good, to enact real change, and instead has taken the easy ( for him) way out.

  • 161. Angie  |  January 24, 2012 at 11:02 am

    159. Anonymous: “The long day. long year mandates are a government intrusion — federal, state and city — directly into neighborhood schools and family life.”

    Except that you’re not mandated to attend a CPS school. Switch to private, move to the suburbs or to the city that has the next shortest school day to Chicago. It’s a free country.

    I consider myself a fairly informed parent, and I fully support a 7.5 hour school day and the SB7. I also see right through the CTU attempts to appeal to parents, taxpayers and whoever else they can think of in their attempt to avoid changes to the status quo.

  • 162. Anonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Yes, Angie, it’s a free country, and you think it’s appropriate to tell a tax payer about whom you know absolutely nothing, who disagrees with you to send her kids to private school.

    But I think it’s appropriate for tax payers to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions, especially when those actions have been purposely undertaken to exclude the public’s participation — all so that the public will not learn that the long day, long year means much larger class sizes.

  • 163. AnonymousAnonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I agree with Angie.

  • 164. Anonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Why not call it the , “it’s my way or the highway, just don’t forget to leave your property tax payments like usual,” line of argument. ; )

  • 165. Angie  |  January 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    @162. Anonymous: “Yes, Angie, it’s a free country, and you think it’s appropriate to tell a tax payer about whom you know absolutely nothing, who disagrees with you to send her kids to private school.”

    For years, the tax payers who disagreed with the too-short school day
    and lack of recess were essentially told the same thing – take it, or go elsewhere. How is this different?

  • 166. AnonymousAnonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    It’s different in 2 ways:

    — no funding for the long day, long year

    — much larger class sizes as teacher are laid off

  • 167. anon  |  January 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    My children had a longer school day and recess.There was choice available.Not much but still choice.Here there will be no choice.

  • 168. goingtogermany0693  |  January 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Plus, at this late time of notification, parents do not have a choice to apply somewhere else as those deadlines have passed. And, unless they are renters, most families would have to sell their home in order to move to the suburbs. And, as a previous poster mentioned, the parents have not been invited to participate in any related discussions about the matter (in a meaningful way that is).

  • 169. cpsobsessed  |  January 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Why is there the assumption that the longer day result in layoffs and bigger classes?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 170. AnonymousAnonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Angie, the person disagreeing with you took on my name, I guess to look like someone who agreed with you is now disagreeing with you. Lame.

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  January 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    You guys lost me……

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 172. Joel  |  January 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Lovely discussion here. As a neighborhood high school teacher on the southwest side, my two cents…
    The longer school day is a good thing, but the more important thing to look at might be the longer school YEAR. Currently at my high school (Farragut) we have 8 periods at 46 minutes and a 14 minute division (homeroom). Once a week we have long division which cuts classes down to 41 minutes.Students have one full period for lunch, so they are in a classroom 7 periods. At my alma mater, LTHS, we had 7 periods (academic) at 51 minutes plus a 25 minute lunch (I only put this in for comparison). I would also think that the longer school year gave us an advantage academically. As the AP Language and Composition teacher, I start with my students Labor Day, while my friends out at LT have already had 2 or more weeks with theirs. I advocate for longer day, but my thought was that the school year might do well to look something like this:
    Begin mid-August. 2 weeks break over Christmas. Year resumes until end of June. Students have approximately 6 weeks to rejuvenate. If it were up to me, I’d limit that to 4 weeks over the summer but that’s just me. Ultimately, the longer school year would allow for some intense depth of instruction and the ability to have flex-scheduling (like they do in Europe) which would add the elective courses.
    I applaud the many of you who send your children to be tuaght in CPS-you’ve given me a job for 7 years. Thankfully I won’t ever have to make this decision.

  • 173. anonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    In short, your suggestion is to cut CPS summer break down to 4 weeks!

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  • 174. anonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    169 — this information comes from the parent group at Mt. Greenwood school.

    CPS is not funding the long day but it is mandating that teachers spend 1 hour 45 min. away from the kids.

    Right now Mt. Greenwood school gets very little in Title 1 funds. It uses its discretionary funds for 4 teachers to keep class size down to 27, and for a music teacher. But the lack of funding means it will have to use the discretionary funds instead for low-level employees to supervise the kids while the teachers at away from them for 1 hour 45 min.

  • 175. goingtogermany0693  |  January 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I agree with anonymous@173 for many reasons. My kids read almost every day in the summer, get plenty of fresh air and exercise, play freely (and engage in problem solving) in the neighborhood and spend time visiting their grandparents in another state and in another country. Plus, the tv is rarely on. I think it is important for all children to spend time fostering relationships with others. Although we are becoming a tech-heavy country, communicating and problem solving with others are still important skills to have.

  • 176. anonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    175 — I’m with you. We need to preserve those sweet childhood summers. We parents know how fleeting childhood is.

  • 177. anonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    @174, not to mention that each school will have no choice but to hire additional “prep” teachers to cover the increased amount of prep times (5-60 minute preps instead of 4-40 minute preps). That means, the current budget will have to stretch to include hiring an extra teacher or two or three, depending on the size of the school. If a school doesn’t get more funds, but has to hire more prep teachers and more aides for lunch/recess supervision, something big has to give. Who knows what will happen in the end, but it is possible class sizes will rise. Come August or September we’ll all find out.

  • 178. anonymous  |  January 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    177 — Anyone who has ever organized anything — even a pancake breakfast — would not put out a mandate for 7.5 hour day and not think of the staffing required.

    Our mayor certainly has thought this through. But I fear that CPS has dropped an iron curtain on this topic to keep parents uninformed — and hoping for the best.

  • 179. HS Mom  |  January 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    @172 Joel – thanks for your thoughts, very refreshing. I love it when I see a high school teacher concerned with balancing time and curriculum to achieve the best for their students. Thankfully, we have many teachers like you at our school. We don’t need to agonize over extended time because in many ways we already have it.

  • 180. Janina  |  January 26, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I oppose a longer school day. We are enrolled at Decatur Classical School. My son is 5 yrs. old and is on the bus just before 7 am and gets home before 4 pm. He is tired in the morning, refusing to get up and tired coming home as it is. He is on the buss for the total of 2.5 hrs./day. We do not need a longer school day. Instead our family needs a great local school with classroom size being half of what it currently is at 28-35 students. DCS though needs cafeteria, a normal size gym, classrooms for grades 7 & 8 and parking space. We need smaller well equipped classrooms, great network of libraries and more parental support in order to compete with the rest of the world.

  • 181. HS Mom  |  January 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I really feel for those who have issues depending on busing. We had a long commute to school and the bus was even worse. Taking the bus meant a pick up time 1 1/2 hour prior to the start of school and there were only 4 kids on our bus! Because having our kid on a bus for 2.5+ hours a day was not an option for us, we made driving arrangements that effected the work schedule of 3 people. For us it was a sacrifice we were willing to make to attend the school. I wish we had a local option, but we did not. We felt fortunate enough to have any school option at all and felt that it was all part of the deal.

    Busing is only offered to select schools and then to select children and rarely is it ever convenient. Time spent on the bus is a fixed component that is present regardless of school hours. School hours and programming should not be impacted by a “perk” that some people choose.

    @ 180 totally agree with you that we need better local options and smaller class sizes or a dependable flow of assistants/teacher interns. Many neighborhoods are making great progress doing exactly that. Part of that progress in my opinion is a 7.5 hour day. If CPS developed a specific differentiation plan then bright kids that get into schools such as Decatur would be able to spend their time in school excelling even further instead of on a bus for 2 hours.

  • 182. practicalmama  |  January 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Has anyone paid attention to school day start times?

    On the notice we’ve received, it indicated that 7.5 hr day would start at 7:30 am. How can our kindergarten and elementary aged children wake up at 6-6:30 am, get prepared, get to school before 7:30 am and be ready to learn something? In order to get adequate sleep, they have to be in the bed by 7:30. is that even possible with all the homework, let alone family time?

    Many scientific research shows that sleep deprivation decreases the effectiveness of learning in children. This means, if any extension to school days require earlier mornings, the children will be less likely to benefit from it.

    Honestly, I prefer that my kids get a good nights sleep, wake up fresh and happy (instead of grumpy) and learn more efficiently in 6.5 hours (or less with shorter lunch breaks) than sleep-learn with longer school days.

  • 183. Lynn Geerdes  |  January 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    My big concern is that if there is a longer day, I want there to be an OUTDOOR recess. I understand the teachers union is requiring that teachers have a duty-free lunch and recess, so they may have to resort to see if there are funds for paid workers to cover recess just to ensure the kids in fact get one. They are strongly considering an ‘indoor recess” which I don’t think counts as recess at all! My son is at Skinner West and sometimes he is there until 6 because I am a single working mom and attorney. The benefits of an outdoor recess are well documented; kids need fresh air, Vitamin D and sunshine during the day or it can lead to illness and long term health concerns. I want to ensure the longer school day absolutely incorporates an OUTDOOR recess so our bright and blossoming kids don’t turn into flowers in the attic. I’d welcome thoughts in this regard.

  • 184. anonymous  |  January 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Since it is unlikely bus service will be cut (though every year they talk about it), schools will still probably start anytime between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m., like they do now in order to stagger buses. Which really will mean 6 a.m. or earlier pick up times for some and 5/5:30 p.m. drop offs for others, depending on start and end times. It isn’t just magnets and SEES schools that use bus service. Buses serve many sped kids that cannot be served in their neighborhood schools. They also serve kids who are being bussed from their neighborhoods because their school was closed, because of nclb options for underperforming schools and sometimes in cases of overcrowding. People who have the means to use different transportation or to go elsewhere will, those who don’t will have to just deal. Maybe bedtime will have to happen at 6-6:30 p.m. for little ones instead of 7:30 p.m. so they can get up at 5? Not that I think this is a good thing, but it may be the only option.

    I also agree with the pp on outdoor recess, but we have to understand that 30-50% of the year, outdoor recess won’t be possible due to rain,cold, or icy playgrounds on blacktops. Administrators will be wary of lawsuits and will keep kids inside when weather is questionable. In those cases, extra staff will either have to be on hand to supervise recess in individual classrooms or everyone will have to go to the gym (sitting quietly, since you can’t have 150 kids running around one gym at one time) and PE classes will have to be held in the classrooms. That’s just reality. Hopefully the days the kids get to run around outside will make up for all the days they have to be inside just sitting and maybe reading. (It’d be nice if kids could have recess in the classroom, playing games, but the sheer number of staff required to supervise won’t allow it. You can have 3 staff members supervising 200 kids in a gym, but you have to have nearly a 1:30 ratio in classrooms) Again, I don’t think this is a good thing, but it appears as if sacrifices will have to be made.

    I am on the fence about giving less homework or not. If we reduce homework, then we haven’t really added much learning time. We’ve just changed when it is happening and who is doing the teaching. Plus with the demands of Common Core, everything is being amped up quite a bit. My admin said that it is expected that less than 20% of CPS will meet the standards for passing once that test kicks in full gear. So, I actually think it is possible more homework could happen instead of less, once CC hits the fan.

  • 185. anonymous  |  January 30, 2012 at 8:39 am


    North Side College Prep’s online petition has 1,800+ signatures this morning of parents who don’t want a long day, long year.

    Many good comments from parents, too.

  • 186. HPMom  |  February 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    At Ray, our neighborhood school, we have always had 2 recesses (which we have renamed Brain Boost this year). In general, Brain Boost is scheduled to take place before core subjects like Math, etc. since exercise helps increase your ability to better focus and absorb classwork. If weather is bad, kids dance in the auditorium or gym (this is not happening 30-50% of the time- I can only think of a handful of times that kids stayed inside so far this year). There is no sitting around inside. We have parent volunteers who help supervise during these times but teachers supervise too. Also, Brain Boost CAN NOT be taken away from a child as a punishment- showing how much the school values it’s benefits.

    If the school day increases to 7.5 hours- our Principle, Dr. Beckwith (who is fabulous!), is proposing to have gym 5 days a week for 30 min. The remaining time would go to core subjects. We currently have gym once a week. Our school day at the moment is from 9:00-3:30pm- likely it would increase to 8:00-3:30pm.

  • 187. Anonymous  |  February 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Except for the overemphasis on reading and math — which will be a grind –daily gym sounds great for the schools that now have adequate facilities like gym, libraries and playgrounds, and air conditioning for when school starts August 17.

    CPs is in a big hurry to push this through and doesn’t have time to make upgrades to facililties.

    Lucky you.

  • 188. HS Mom  |  February 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    @186 Thanks for letting us know what is happening at your school. Many parents here tend to be focused on selective schools and are interested in hearing about the good things that are happening in the neighborhood schools. Sounds like a great “go plan”.

  • 189. Anonymous  |  February 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Who cares about the neighborhood schools that don’t have what they need?

  • 190. CPSstudent  |  February 3, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    1) Longer day is ok, but what is NOT ok is my teachers not being compensated. That MUST change. Being a teacher is a difficult and EXPENSIVE job. Not to mention demanding. If you will make them work longer, at least provide them with the resources needed to implement this new “extra instructional time” that is oh so talked about. If they strike, I will fully support my teachers…extra school days into July and all!
    2)CPS says to the media they want “extra instructional time” in core subjects but they are telling schools that they CANNOT add extra minutes to each period for extra instructional time in these core subjects. Does that make sense to you? Not to mention the idea for a study hall has ALSO been rejected.
    3)CPS says this extra time CANNOT be graded…therefore a new period will be added where I will not be given a grade…hmmm well that tells me that I don’t have to go, because it wont affect my grade in any way, and plus I’m not learning anything. And in a grade and test score driven society, I see no problem with people ditching this class if we will only be wasting it. I can assure you that no one will take it seriously. Criticize what you will, call us lazy, say that this is what is wrong with today’s students, but it is the harsh truth.
    4)CPS is taking away Division/Homeroom/Advisory. You do not know how IMPORTANT this 15 min period is. My school scheduling system is HIGHLY organized by our Divisions and it has and still is an effective system. But they felt the need to remove it. How else will these standardized tests the love be organized? How will we receive our important information? All important things overlooked by this board who is calling the shots.
    5)Every effective proposal my school has put down has been rejected without reason. They just say NO. How is this cooperating with CPS schools to help make this a smooth transition?

    As a CPS High school student (I attend Lane Tech College Prep, a high performing school), I feel the need to let my voice be heard. I’m pretty sure that they would never release ANY of this into the public media because it would make them look bad. But it is the truth. Students at my school are very well informed and are not happy with the changes taking place. I do believe that the case is different for elementary schools, but I am speaking from a High School perspective.

  • 191. @185  |  February 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Sign this petition on line so that ALL schools might have a 6.% hour day http://sixpointfivetothrive.org/
    Not just one school…

  • 192. Janina  |  February 4, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Most importantly, teachers do get a decent pay. Check out the CPS website to see what your teachers at your school are making. http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/At-a-glance/Documents/EmployeePositionRoster_08_01_11.pdf The pay info is public information under “About CPS/ stats and facts”. The pay is not little in comparison to what a lot of us are making. Our Kindergarten teacher with BS is making $60,000 for 6 hours of “instruction”. Also, as you know teachers get plenty of vacation and holidays and sick days (will accrue, not expire ever, and will be paid at future salaries when cashed in). Most of all, they can retire at 55 years of age with full benefits at their latest salary indexed for inflation. How many of us have pension these days? How many of us can retire at 55? How many of us can carry sick days until we choose to cash them in at the latest salary? How many of us enjoy so many days off/year? How many of us work 6 hours a day? So, I am really tired of hearing about teachers not being paid enough. I used to work 12 hour work days until I had children. I had 2 weeks vacation and very little holidays. My 401K goes up and down in value and my social security keeps on falling down in value. I could go on and on but you get the picture. I do not feel sorry for the teachers. The focus should be on students and they are the ones to fight for. I would like our kids to be challenged and they are not. My kiddo is an advanced learner at home and public school is mostly a review for us. We are a number xx in the class. My kid teacher tells me he is an excellent student but she does not know his personality. I cannot get my selective enrollment school to challenge my kid because they do not have the time to provide an individual attention in classrooms of 28-35 kids. So, he is to stay in the ranks and do work that is easy and a review for him. He is learning little to justify the current 6 day plus 2.5 hours total daily commute. So, we need all local schools to be successful and stop the busing. We need smaller classroom sizes, normal gym sizes, cafeterias ( no eating at the desk) and playgrounds. We need rich after-school programs. We need differentiated instruction. Every kid should have the choice to test out of work that he already knows.

  • 193. anonymous  |  February 4, 2012 at 2:23 am

    “CPS says to the media they want “extra instructional time” in core subjects but they are telling schools that they CANNOT add extra minutes to each period for extra instructional time in these core subjects. Does that make sense to you? Not to mention the idea for a study hall has ALSO been rejected. ”

    You are right to point up the glaring inconsistencies in CPS’s stories about what the long day /year will entail.

    so if you can’t add min. to core subjects, but ther is no funding for music, art, foreign language and computers, how can CPS add more instructinal min. to the day?

    Through Rocketship — the computer (or tablet, not sure) program. Google Rocketship and you’ll see they require two 50 min. session a day for elementary school kids.

    Comes to just about the 105 min. that CPS wants to add to the day, doesn’t it?

    We swap teachers for classroom monitors, have large class sizes and stick the kids in front of a screen.

    Show me the picket line.

  • 194. CPSmommy  |  February 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    To Janina: From your earlier post: “The pay info is public information under About CPS/ stats and facts”. The pay is not little in comparison to what a lot of us are making. Our Kindergarten teacher with BS is making $60,000 for 6 hours of “instruction”.

    Another blogger provided the following information regarding the HUD definition of low income in Illinois (FY 2012). They define it as $57700 for a family of 4. See page 2 using the attached link.


    I am a big believer of “you get what you pay for.” I am sorry but I cannot agree with anyone who wants CPS to pay teachers who “only” have a BA below HUD’s definition of poverty. Further, in my 7 years of being a parent in CPS, I have not encountered a single teacher that I felt was “only” working 6 hours a day. I get emails well into the evening and have had metings at all times to accomodate my work schedule. I do not believe their pay should be based solely on “face time” with students.

  • 195. CPSDepressed  |  February 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    You know what? All the debate about income is beside the point. Salaries are determined by market supply and demand. If a stable job with a pension, health insurance, summers off, and a $60,000 salary is too little for someone with a BS to make, then he or she should take a job that pays more.

    In fact, there is a surplus of teachers right now. There is not a surplus of excellent teachers, but teacher quality is off the table. Some teachers deserve more than they make, and others should not be teaching.

  • 196. HS Mom  |  February 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    @195 Thank you! I’m sorry but students asking for teachers to be paid more is not appropriate.

  • 197. Joel  |  February 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    It is quite sad that the CPS has decided we can’t lengthen the periods of core instruction. As an AP Language and Composition teacher, I would absolutely love having a 90-minute block to work with them; I’d also like that amount to work with my severely behind freshmen, many of whom are reading 3-4 grade levels below 9th. Most teachers I know would give anything to have more time with their students. Most teachers I know would also NOT prefer to have to teach another course on how to behave like a normal human being (this seems to be the aim of the 9th grade additional “class” that will be added to our school next year).
    Thanks CPS! You always know best.

  • 198. anonymous  |  February 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Joel, would you indicate where you teach? CPS denied your plan for the longer day to increase minutes in AP Language and Comp to wrok with kids who red 3 adn 4 years below grade level?

    Can you explain the 9th grade add’l class that CPS has mandated your school teach?

    Is it an online class?

  • 199. anonymous  |  February 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    190 — cps student. Thank you very much for giving us your views. Your opinions are important and should be considered in this debate because you are the ones for whom everyone should be working.
    So never mind HS Mom!

  • 200. HS Mom  |  February 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    190 – yes, apologize. I shouldn’t have said that out loud.

  • 201. anonymous  |  February 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    CPS Student, you made many excellent points. Your analysis of CPS’ mishandling of this long day / year initiative is spot on.

    HS Mom — as you imply that your only mistake was to express your opinion in public, your apology to this student lacks sincerity.

  • 202. anonymouseteacher  |  February 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Janina, I am sorry your child’s teacher isn’t differentiating for him. It is very difficult with such large class sizes. I am not aware of your work situation, but do you have time to volunteer? Maybe you already do and I know not everyone has time. I also teach Kindergarten and now that I have a few parents who generously donate a few hours a week to the classroom, I have been able to differentiate quite a bit more for all my students both inside and outside the school day. It has also helped my 12 hour work days to shrink to a more manageable 10-11 hour days. I am so grateful for those parent volunteers. Maybe your child’s teacher could reap a similar benefit?

  • 203. foureyes  |  February 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Please bear in mind that with those salaries that you look at on the CPS site (or champion.org) that ALL that money is not salary…it is money put toward pension…and to which the teacher actually does not have access or a decision how to utilize. That kindergarten teacher is probably actually making a good 10,000 less which is actually his/her pay.

    CPS teachers do not receive Social Security. They cannot not.

    With regard to sick days….teachers do not have paid for maternity leave nor sick leave and so many teachers save up sick days in order to support themselves…or they will try to delay necessary surgery or try to plan to have their baby in the summer – and do the best they can with deferred pay.

    When a teacher is ill – it costs the school more. The teacher does get paid…but CPS must also pay for a sub.
    A teacher is cursed and looked upon badly if he/she is out of the school too much. (It can be and is put on an evaluation). Schools do not want teachers out of school. It is better for the students and the teachers to have continuity in their schedules. The possibility to save up sick days is meant, in part, as in incentive to reduce absenteeism. (there are schools were the morale is so low and the problems so great that this really IS an issue) Most teachers really don’t like to take sick days. It is very difficult to come back into the classroom as the rhythm is interupted.

    with regard to the longer school day…I second what Joel is stating. I teach at a select enrollment H.S. We are not going to be permitted to add on instructional time to Core subjects nor utilize the time as a study hall/tutor time. The ‘direction’ that they have given us is very vague….and I think that that vague is intentional. I do believe it is meant to induce chaos and confusion.

    I am no stranger to the longer school day. I regularly interact/tutor/mentor students for at least an extra hour a day. My workweek…by no means is a tidy 35 hour week…During the school year…it is more like 50-80 hours (depending on what is happening). I use sick days when I am really sick..and I have to actually use them to catch up on grading. I go into school during ‘vacation’ and I work during the summer (on lesson plans/curriculm/professional education necessary to keep my teaching certificate).

  • 204. foureyes  |  February 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    they cannot receive Social Security…not they cannot not…
    sorry double negation was not intended.

  • 205. anonymous  |  February 7, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Dear 4-i’s,
    I hear you. I have to say one of my pet peeves is when the BGA, Sun Times &/or Dave Savini runs an inflammatory story about sick day pay-outs going to the political elites of the city or county — then uses a broad brush to tar teachers!!

    Duncan got $53,000. He never taught a class in his life. His salary was always six figures. Why should he get benefits intended for teachers who are paid less than their counterparts in the private sector? Who don’t get paid maternity leave? Who have to bank their sick days to cover extended illnesses like cancer?

    That is where the abuse is — with the senior managers who should not get any union benefits. They are the ones who are trying to bust the unions, yet they get to keep outrageous benefits!

    This kind of “journalism” is all heat, no light. No one wants to sit down and negotiate the solution, b/c the mayor came out with a big bang in the media. Chicagoans are tired of his combative approach to everyone — libraries, mental health clinics, schools. These are important to our neighborhoods. Our neighbors work there or use those services. We don’t want the bashing to continue.

  • 206. Goodbye to track e?  |  February 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I have been hearing rumblings that the track e schedule is no longer on the table with the new longer day?
    I am relieved if it is true that our kids will have a normal schedule with the additional days added at the end of August. Cant wait for the CTU negotiations to begin

  • 207. Chris  |  February 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    “Another blogger provided the following information regarding the HUD definition of low income in Illinois (FY 2012). They define it as $57700 for a family of 4”

    It’s actually $60,650 in Cook County. And at that income, the “low income” family would get the right to pay about $1500/month to live in some sort of subsidized housing. Don’t know many making $60,000 and with a family of 4 who would consider that a good option.

    “Please bear in mind that with those salaries that you look at on the CPS site (or champion.org) that ALL that money is not salary…it is money put toward pension”

    (not an attack, just the flipside) As is *every* private sector worker. A private sector worker with a stated salary of $60,000, pays 7.65% for ss and medicare, so it’s really $55,430. vs. 9% for the teacher, or $54,600.

    Per the (apparently pro-pension) faq here: http://www.ctpf.org/current_news/MYTHBUSTERS.pdf a “typical” (my word) CPS teacher retires with 28 years of work and gets $42,000 in (first year?) pension pay. Someone collecting social security based on a current salary of $60,000, retiring this year at 65 (and presumably with **40** years of work in) would expect about $17,000 in social security. To bridge the gap of $25,000 at a reasonable asset draw of 4%, that retiree would have to have $625,000 in an retirement account–AFTER accounting for the taxable withdrawals, so, more realistically, it’s probably $750,000 or more in that account.

    Assume that this now 65 year old had been methodically saving for that whole 40 years, the current difference of $1200/year (54,600-55,430, rounded), and had done reasonably well with his investments the whole time and averaged 9%. How much would he have? $468,000–or enough, pre-tax, to safely have $35,000 in retirement income, with only COLA and minimal interest in his now-risk-free invested principal to bump it up. So, you say, $100/month isn’t a big deal to put into a retirement account when you make $5000/month–sure, fair enough. But how much did our man make in 1971, when he started working? $60,000 is about twice the current median income for men; let’s assume he was lucky enough to make twice the median income back in ’71 (highly unlikely)–that would have been about $13,000. So, about 10% of his gross pay would have been going into a retirement account, on top of the 5.2% he’d have been paying for ss and medicare. That sounds less easy to manage, and being short in those early years is *extremely* hard to make up in the later years. And, to hit the $750,000 target, the level investment was about $225/month–or *over* 20% of the (unreasonably high) starting salary in 1971. For a private sector worker making about the same amount of salary as a teacher, without a company pension, it’s been *extraordinarily* difficult to save enough to match the teacher’s pension beneifits, and that is assuming a 40% longer working career (40 years v 28).

    So, when talking about how teachers don’t make out so well on the pension front, keep in mind that it has been much, much better than a similarly paid person in the private sector without any pension.

    however, flipping back, everyone else needs to remember that, one way or another, it is likely that *currrent*, less senior teachers are not going to see the same sort of pension benefits.

  • 208. anonymouseteacher  |  February 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Chris, you seem to be a bit of a retirement savings wonk. I typically spend about 2K on my classroom each year unreimbursed. If I saved that money from the age of 22 until the age of 62, how much would I have for retirement at a typical interest rate?

    I also wonder if the “typical” CPS teacher only works about 28 years before retirement because so many of us are women who, more often than men, take several years off to raise children? I started teaching when I was 22 and will likely teach until I am at least 70, but nearly 8 of those years was spent as a sahm. As well, like many teachers, I spent 7 years in other districts before coming to CPS and none of those years count towards my pension with CPS. Do you happen to know if the average worker who spends 40 years working before retirement that you mention, is that out of all workers (including men who usually do not take off years to raise kids) or is it comparing them to a comparable sample such as women who take time off?

    And as for this HUD definition of 56K a year being low income, that’s baloney. My family owned a condo, a car and lived quite comfortably on less than that amount of money for a long time. 20K for a family of 4 is low income, not 56K.

  • 209. Chris  |  February 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    anonymouse: “If I saved that money from the age of 22 until the age of 62, how much would I have for retirement at a typical interest rate? ”

    What do you want to use as “typical”? 100% at (I think unrepeatable) 1970-2010 annual return on a broad stock index? Or CDs? Or something in-between? At 8% (aggressive, imo, going forward), $2k/year for 40 years would be about $500,000. At 3% (very conservative), about $150,000.

    anonymouse: “I also wonder if the “typical” CPS teacher only works about 28 years before retirement because so many of us are women who, more often than men, take several years off to raise children?”

    Dunno. It was from the link, and they’re (again, apparently) pro-teacher pension, so I think it’s reasonable to think they used stats slanted to make the pension look relatively small. Not that anything is incorrect, just that they want to present a case that makes a good comparison. Maybe there is a mjor difference b/t “average” (which is pretty limited) and “typical” (which is, in my thinking, sort of a mush of average and some mode-like concept–that we should expect that there are lots of people clustered around “typical”, where average could just be two extremes, with no one actually similar to the “average”) in thios particular situation.

  • 210. Chris  |  February 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    anonymouse: “Do you happen to know if the average worker who spends 40 years working before retirement that you mention”

    No idea; I was simply working backward from a full-SS retirement age of 65, to a starting full-time employment at 25–which might actually be late, for a typical, 65 this year, earning $60k at 65, worker. From direct experience, if I continue working until 65, I will have 41 years of full time work, plus probably an aggregate of another FTE year (or slightly more) of part-time and summer work, and I took time off for grad school.

    anonymouse: “And as for this HUD definition of 56K a year being low income, that’s baloney.”

    It’s set by federal law/regulation as 80% of area median household income. And it’s a qualifying standard for subsidized housing. Then, if you get your Section 8 voucher, or otherwise get into public housing, you get to pay 30% of your gross income, after some deductions for family size, etc, as your rent. So, for the family of 4 with $60k income–qualifying as HUD-low-income in Cook County, unless they have applicable childcare and/or medical deductions, they’d pay about $1500/month in rent–and very, very few people are going to do that.

    It’s just a threshold for basic qualification for housing assistance. I agree that citing for any other purpose is pretty much baloney.

  • 211. foureyes  |  February 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    “It’s difficult for Chicago teachers to impart the knowledge and skills their students require when our children spend less time in the classroom than just about anywhere else in the nation.” – Mayor Rahm Emanuel, campaign Education Address, Dec. 10, 2010

    This is from the CPS website….
    Now…this implies that Rahm wants teachers to teach knowledge and skills. Presumably this would be in the teacher’s area of expertise and an area in which the teacher is certified.
    Being a HS teacher I teach a specific subject matter. From what news we have gotten at our school from CPS they don’t want us to add on to our class time…nor use it for tutoring in our subject matter. (Which is odd…because the information on their website states that they WILL permit us to add time to classes…HUH? That is NOT the message that we have received at our school)…
    We only understand, that the extra time is to be ‘enrichment’…and we have been give *very little direction*. What is this ‘enrichment’ that CPS wants us to ‘teach’? How can we verify that whatever the subject matter (during this ‘enrichment’) being taught has purpose and reason? Moreover, we must be sure that the teacher is truly able to teach that subject. Is there a subject matter called ‘Enrichment’? Last time I checked it is not an area that ISBE covers.
    Now…enrichment…in the classroom should happen every day – In the context of the lessons that are taught to the students. I am my students’ teacher of Subject Matter ‘X’. But I am also a role model and an adult. When they ask questions – I answer them…or I get them to answer those questions for themselves. I want students to learn about SubjectMatter’X’, but I also want them to learn about life and learn to think for themselves. We do not want robots of a TestAngstWorld. The focus on testing (which in recent revelations of both Obama/Duncan/and the Superintendent of Schools in Texas) is out of touch and is being criticized. (Thank Goodness!) I think some powers that be are starting to realize that this test driven society in schools IS a problem. (Thankfully my school has – thus far- made the AYP which eludes a vast majority of schools in the State and Nation)
    With regard to the ‘enrichment’ periods…which are supposedly NOT to be graded….CPS student (#190) brings up our biggest fear…that students won’t take it seriously. Why are we wasting our time if the students won’t take it seriously? At Lane…where CPSstudent hails from…I know that many kids will budget their time to concentrate on classes that ‘matter.’ If students do not see a reason of importance for their ‘class’…they will not take it seriously. We will risk real issues with attendance (this was an issue with a similar ‘enrichment experiment’ that CPS implemented some years ago). Veteran teachers tell me that during this ‘enrichment period’ the students did not come and that it was a huge headache. This was at a Select Admission school. What will happen at some of the neighborhood schools?
    If we are asking anybody to spend more time in school…shouldn’t it be for PURPOSE?
    Imparting knowledge…shouldn’t this be done with the idea of purpose?
    Every bit of feedback we have gotten back on this from CPS has given us nothing which points to purpose and reason….it only yields chaos and confusion. What REALLY does CPS want?
    They want confusion – smoke and mirrors – to hide the real issues going on.
    My goal, as a teacher, is to give students what they need to improve and learn. CPS student – #190 wants to learn and wants purpose and wants reason. I thank the student for his/her honesty and perspective. This student is telling it ‘like it is.’

  • 212. another cps mom  |  February 9, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Ah, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The emperor has no clothes.

  • 213. anonymous  |  February 9, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    211 — you’ll want to read this.


  • 214. mom2  |  February 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    foureyes – I keep hearing these comments that CPS is telling you that you cannot just add on 5 or 6 minutes to current classes or just add a study hall and be done. But I haven’t seen something in writing from CPS saying all the things you mention – such as it must be enrichment, but not for a grade, etc. Where is this in writing? Do principal’s have a memo that isn’t being shared with parents?

    If it must be a separate enrichment class for no grade, that doesn’t mean it can’t be pass/fail and required. If attendance is taken every day and kids don’t show up 3 times without a valid excuse (sick, etc.), then they fail. This is simple. You don’t have to allow kids to just not show up. Once they see that and they find value in this class, this particular concern goes away.

    Make the class valuable – ACT prep for juniors, learning about various careers and college majors for seniors (with guest speakers from various companies, etc.), learning about the stock market, insurance, credit cards, whatever… Things that matter and it could be great. If teachers get behind this instead of constantly complaining, maybe there could be some good to come out of this. I understand the complaining because of lack of direction from CPS, but I’m tired of hearing about it. Let’s make it work!

  • 215. RL Julia  |  February 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I am with foureyes. Why not just make the classes longer? I don’t want my kid in school for extra time for some sort of ill defined enrichment – I want the extra time to be used for a double period of science (so they can do labs) or more time in English (so they can get more feedback on their writing or learn to discuss a story). What seems to be proposed is that schools are simply supposed to be keeping kids off the streets more 90- extra minutes- not actually teaching them more – of course, teaching them more might cost more money – which of course no one has. So now school is longer so the day is sort of diluted…..

  • 216. HS Mom  |  February 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

    @215 for high schools the extra time is 22 to 35 mins per day. Schools with block schedules do have 90 blocks of time for subjects. Block scheduling is voted on by the teachers. With the small addition of time, some schools prefer block to adding 5 minutes to each class which won’t really accomplish added value.

  • 217. RL Julia  |  February 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I was really just thinking elementary school schedules but o.k. I still would take a class that was five minutes longer than have my kid sit in some ill-defined “enrichment” class for 60.
    http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/01_12_2012_PR1.aspx – these seem to be at least some of the guidelines.

    Oh and don’t forget all this needs to align with the new national common core standards that are being rolled out next year as well.

  • 218. anonymous  |  February 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    216 — Help me to understand this?
    I thought the added time was 36 min., plus the 10 min that went to advisories or homeroom, for a total of another 46 min. each day.

    Also, high schools with once-a-week seminar days, like Lindblom, WP, NSCP, will add 3 hours to that day, lus the 46 min. to four other days.

  • 219. Joel  |  February 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    @214: Teachers never see anything in writing. We are instructed by the administration, who takes their orders from the network, who takes their orders from “downtown.” But needless to say, there is NO possibility of adding extra time to classes. This was the first thing that was told to us in our meeting about what we were to develop as new class for this time. I’ll try to get the PP of what each of our classes is going to be; to be honest, now that I’m on my way out, I simply could care less. I spend my time teaching the hell out of my kids and no longer worry about any of the other nonsense. It’s been liberating to say the least.

  • 220. anonymous  |  February 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    219 — There is a good reason that Central Office will not put anything in writing. There is a good reason that C.O. won’t allow schools to and instructional time to core subjects.

    They want the additional time — 100 min in elementary school — for two 50 min. sessions of online learning. Much larger classes. Teachers replaced with non-union classroom monitors — a patronage army.

  • 221. HS Mom  |  February 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I’m talking actual time that the student is in school. Going to a 7.5 hour day means changing from say an 8 to 3 schedule to 8 to 3:30. Some schools like NSP already have a longer day. Also Whitney has a 7.5 day with a 7 class schedule (there is an optional 6 class schedule). Other schools are now going block schedule to make the most of a 7.5 hour day. With 7 classes this creates 1 block of time for tutoring/homework/school special events/test prep/college knowledge – things that already exist and are now booked as part of the school day. Yes, this does remove homeroom as mentioned in the link @ 217. I’m not sure why it can be done at some schools and not at others – maybe it’s in the packaging.

  • 222. Chris  |  February 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    “Teachers replaced with non-union classroom monitors — a patronage army.”

    If they aren’t union, as opposed to non-CTU, then they won’t be a very effective patronage army–minimum wage workers aren’t too likely to spend their non-work time campaigning.

  • 223. wh mom  |  February 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    @221~ WY does not have a 7.5 hour school day. Most students attend 6 classes with an option of a 7th if you have a gpa of 3.5. It’s not an 7 classes with an OPTION of 6. Obviously your child doesn’t go to WY.

    7.5 hour school day is waaaay 2 long. This isn’t about our kids, it’s about their pockets. Say no to 7.5!!!

  • 224. HS Mom  |  February 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    No I don’t go to WY – I have been told by friends with 7 classes that they go to school for 7.5 hours. They told me that freshman take 6 classes but that they have to add a class next year. I’m sure you know better. Most students have less than 3.5 GPA? Really?

  • 225. Chris  |  February 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

    “This isn’t about our kids, it’s about their pockets.”

    Whose pockets? Make a convincing (ok, I’ll settle for plausible) case that someone is going to make money on the longer day. Start with “where’s the money coming from?”.

  • 226. anonymous  |  February 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

    From the salaries of fired teachers.

  • 227. Chris  |  February 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    “From the salaries of fired teachers.”

    And … who “pockets” that money? Last I checked, CPS isn’t a dividend paying entity. Seems like, to the extent pockets are lined, it’s the property owners of Chicago *keeping* it in their pockets.

  • 228. anonymous  |  February 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa.

  • 229. RL Julia  |  February 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I am with Chris, last time I checked pretty, the state was pretty much bust and owed CPS quite a chunk of change (they might have paid up). This isn’t about making money – it was about not owing quite so much. If you want to talk about people lining their pockets with governmental gold, I would look at developers or construction contracts or of course, on the federal level – financial institutions. That’s where the big bucks are.

  • 230. anonymous  |  February 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Here’s Rocketship’s financial records, etc. Check it out. from $26 million to $48 million in assets from 2010 to 2011, if I am reading it right.


  • 231. anonymous  |  February 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    211 — four eyes — the Rocketship model precludes your plan for enrichment or remediation.

  • 232. anonymous  |  February 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    When Stand for Children pushed through IL SB 7, the plan to implement a Rocketship model — 7.5 hour school day, 180-day school year, online learning for 100 minutes a day, fewer teachers needed — was in the works.

    Stand for Children, Illinois, is a philanthropic front group funded by a group of billionaire business people — Crownes, Griffins, Pritzkers, Zells, among others — who think that public education tax dollars are there to serve their business interests. Emanuel is their mayor.

    PR firms like Resolute Consulting serve the mayor’s education agenda.

    They create opportunities to make a profit off the testing, the technology and the curricula.

    Wall Street calls these companies EOMs.

  • 233. Mia  |  February 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    @232. True, sad, but true.

  • 234. Chris  |  February 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    ” the plan to implement a Rocketship model — 7.5 hour school day, 180-day school year, online learning for 100 minutes a day, fewer teachers needed — was in the works.”

    So, you’re really contending that the city will turn over *every* school to a charter operator?

  • 235. Chris  |  February 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    ps: WHAT is the alternative? Status quo is broken. No change = no hope.

    And “give the schools more money” is not a real proposal.

  • 236. Another Mom  |  February 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Deal with poverty and its culture, probably.

  • 237. anonymouseteacher  |  February 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I was actually reading some very good literature today written by some of the leading reading researchers on how to help kids who are struggling. There are some terrific things out there that can be done to help kids who don’t get the help they should at home. While I think that kids with a great school and support at home will ALWAYS out achieve kids with a great school and none/little support at home, I also believe kids with a great school can and will out achieve kids with a poor one (all other things being equal).

    One of the things the author was talking about was when teachers are required to use a basal (the same big reading book for every kid in the class for most of the reading instruction–terrible, terrible pedagogy), those teachers can mitigate the damage and increase achievement through repeated readings and story maps to increase fluency and comprehension. If kids also do a lot of paired reading, and practice the stories at home, even if the book was originally too hard for the students, they made roughly 1.8 years of gains in reading just through this simple technique. All kids should have the opportunity to read books at their level, meeting with the teacher a few times a week in that small group to increase skills. But in schools where a stubborn principal won’t allow this, or leveled readers aren’t available (like many schools), this is another option.

    Don’t get me wrong. Poverty and other things that schools can’t control are HUGE issues that create very challenging obstacles. But there are some things we teachers and schools can do within what we currently have. I am actually bringing the part of the chapter I was referring to my principal tomorrow as a suggestion for one of our professional development days. She’s pretty good at trying to shield us at least a little from the nonsense we have to do during those PD days. I’d love, for once, to spend part of that time talking about students and altering instruction to meet their needs.

  • 238. Another CPS Mom  |  February 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I don’t know much about charters, but I think the intentions in creating them are good. I see it as one of many strategies to try to reach students. I don’t think it’s fair to expect charters to show amazing results overnight or to compare their results to “average” CPS results since the “good” schools are included in the average. Nor do I think it’s fair to compare charters with poor-performing neighborhood schools who can’t have application processes, hold lotteries, or require open house attendance, etc. I do think it’s fair to compare the growth of students in charters to their pre-charter progress. Maybe the charters will do the value-added analysis that we’re hearing more about.

    For those who say the Mayor wants to privatize schools and make them all charter: While I can’t pretend to know the Mayor’s wants in this regard, this conclusion does not follow from other statements made in some of the posts above or elsewhere on this blog. For example, some poster(s) say that charters can, and do, cull students who then have to go back to their neighborhood schools. But the same posts complain that neighborhood schools have to accept everyone and cannot cull. How can the entire system, therefore, be privatized? It can’t, at least not without an amendment to the Illinois Constitution. Illinois guarantees the right to a free and appropriate education. There must be a public school for children to attend.

  • 239. Anonymous  |  February 14, 2012 at 8:11 am

    UNO, the group that replaced the Hispanic Democratic Organization after the hired trucking scandal, has received $113 million from the state to build charter schools. It spent $47 million on one school — its UNO Soccer Academy, for fewer than 500 students.
    No city or state oversight on how it spends that money.

    (UNO has moved from the trucking business to the charter school business. Seems much more lucrative. Their schools’ results are mixed at best. But UNO’s predominance has foreclosed for many of its men and women the option of a CPS teaching career with union benefits.)

    However, the mayor can rely on the political support of the Hispanics in the city. That’s one result of mayoral control of our schools.

    There are many problems with charters, and we have explored them in previous posts, if you want to glance through them.

    The past December, a long-awaited research report on Chicago charters clearly showed that charters perform below the average for CPS schools.

    So CPS is shoveling millions of tax dollars to schools that cull students, get about 50% more in additional funding from private philanthropists like the Pritzkers, et al., don’t do well by children with special needs, and still most often underperform the CPS average school despite having a longer day already.

  • 240. Anonymous  |  February 14, 2012 at 8:15 am

    From a blog by Mike Klonsky, De Paul U. Professor of Education

    Diane Ravitch

    Transferring control of public dollars to private hands is not reform. It is privatization. This strikes at the very heart of public education. — Montgomery Advertiser

    Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)

    “It is not legally or morally acceptable that these so-called “schools of choice” that are concentrated in urban communities and supported with public funds, should be permitted to operate as segregated learning environments where students are more isolated by race, socioeconomic class, disability, and language than the public school district from which they were drawn.” — Schools Matter

  • 241. Chris  |  February 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    “permitted to operate as segregated learning environments where students are more isolated by race, socioeconomic class, disability, and language than the public school district from which they were drawn”

    So, you oppose neighborhood schools? How do we accomplish a reduction of isolation by race and socioeconomic class, in the Chicago we have, without also letting go of neighborhood schools?

  • 242. Teachtolearn  |  February 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I am a teacher in CPS. Please read this if you are interested in hearing what it is like to be a CPS teacher and to learn how a teacher feels. Please read the whole thing before making a comments on it.

    Teaching in Chicago Public Schools is not exactly a top notch position, we choose to teach in areas that are extremely difficult. We should be rewarded with a descent middle class pay as we currently are. The reason most intelligent people don’t become teacher is the fact that there is not enough pay and many of them end up making 6 figures as most of my friends do. It is interesting that people don’t understand this. If we put more money into teachers salary, more well educated people will want to be teachers. Smarter teachers = smarter students. Also the more money we invest into the future of our children the less we will have to invest into all these socialist reforms and bailing out of people who have made poor decisions in their life. It would also mean less money into the prison system, as people who are more educated tend to go to jail less. It is also interesting to look that our country spends 4 times as much money on the average prisoner than they do on the education of the average child.

    I, along with many teacher, agree we need a longer school day at the elementary level. That school day should be equally raised across the board. High schools are increasing 46 minutes per day where as elementary schools are increasing 90. I agree a 45 minute longer school day would be an advantage, especially since CPS HAS ADDED A MANDATORY BREAKFAST DURING THE SCHOOL DAY about 3 months before they decided to extend the school day by 90 minutes. Breakfast had previously been before school. This worked fine for many schools to have breakfast before school started. Now this breakfast takes 15 minutes to 20 minutes AWAY FROM LEARNING FOR YOU CHILDREN. So as a teacher, many of us agree with a 30 minute longer school day to 45 minutes.

    With a 90 minute addition to the school day we would expect more pay, just as you would. Would you work 90 more minutes for free or look for a new job. Not to mention if you have taken the time to actually investigate instead of listening to the news, they want to LOWER OUR PAY, make us pay 50% more into our pension, make us pay more into our health care costs, and increase our time in the school by 90 minutes. (If you ever thought about it nice part of becoming a teacher was never the salary, it was we received good pensions and great health care while teaching). 90 minutes will also increase our out of class time because we will be grading even more.

    It is interesting that CPS still has not come out with a budget for this school year, they have not given us our contract raises, but they are “finding” money to give to schools who wanted to make the move to 90 more minutes earlier in the year (Brizzard was actually quoted that he said “we found money”). And they say they have the money to increase our school days but where? Where is this money? Our schools need more funding even if teachers do not get raises before we extend the school day by 90 minutes. Did you know over 100 of the 435 (approximate) elementary schools do not have a library? Do you know that most kids will never see either an art teacher or a music teacher? Do you know specialist teachers (PE, music, art, librarians, etc) in elementary school get only a $100 budget per year. That is equivalent to 4 new basketballs, one drum, maybe 8 books. Do you know that some PTA’s actually are buying student text books in areas that the school district has neglected? We also simply want more teachers. One of our classes has 35 kids and no one of our classrooms have more than 32 desks (due to room in a class). Our contract states no more than 24 in K-3rd grades and no more than 28 in 4th through 8th grades. Of the 19 classrooms in the school I work at only 6 meet less than 24 or 28 students per class. After reading all this tell me what needs to be done here? More time, or more money put into making each minute effective. Its not about quantity, its about quality. Any good coach or teacher will tell you that.

    As for time in the school and getting paid for hours we teach, not hours we grade homework. Almost every teacher brings homework to be graded home, stays after, or arrives at school early to take care of this. Some of you say we don’t work 8-9 hours a day like the average American. I can tell you most of our teachers either show up at 7 and leave around 3:30 (8.5 hours with only a 20 minute lunch break) or show up at our start time of 8:30 and leave around 4:30 to 5. I arrive 30-60 minutes before school every day and 60-90 minutes after school every day but Friday. I run programs at our school that I don’t even get paid for, such as our environmental club. So please don’t assume that we only work the stated 6.25 hours per day. Because for the average teacher that is not true, most work 8 or more hours per day. There are exceptions of course, and those people should be weeded out by CPS executives and principals. CPS can not blame us for doing a poor job of making sure teachers do their job. That is the job of CPS. Don’t say teachers fail, a teacher that is failing should be fired! CPS is in charge of its teachers and should take fault if they are doing a poor job. Any company in this world that is failing doesn’t blame its bottom, they blame its top. It falls to CEO’s (BRIZZARD) and the managers (PRINCIPALS) to make sure that our schools teachers are succeeding. And don’t say tenure keeps us. I have watched bad teachers with tenure fired. A good principal takes the time to do it. Tenure protects us to an extent yes, but a good principal who does the necessary work can have a bad teacher out in a year or at most 2. They just need to tell rate us every with a poor satisfactory rating and then there is a long process to get rid of a bad teacher. Yes it is a long process, but a good CEO and manager would take the time to get rid of something that is affecting their business profits and a good school system should take the time to get rid of a teacher that is failing its students.

    People also pick on specialists ie Physical Education Teachers, Librarians, and Music Teachers. Especially when considering merit based pay systems such as CPS is considering now. They say that they do less work. The specialists at our school see more than 500 students a week first of all. They know each kids name in our entire school. The PE teacher at our school is responsible for the sports program as well (WITHOUT PAY), they run 120 kids in the spring and fall sports and about 80 in the winter and do not GET PAID. The PE teacher is also in charge of patrol, honor guard (the people who drum and lead the pledge/star spangled banner, and a big brother big sister program. He is not paid a dime for anything that he runs and has the same prep time as every other teacher. He is considered an athletic director but is not paid any thing for it. Our librarian is responsible for teaching classes research and computer skills yet does not have enough books in the library (yet has won 2 grants of $2,000 or more) and has 7 computers that work. On top of that he is also in charge of all the students checking books in and out and keeping track of the books we have in the school and chasing down students that do not return them. He rarely gets a break as he lets kids come in during his prep time to check out books, and checks out books before and after school. Our music teacher runs many of the assemblies and is in charge of the school play. Has any one ever attempted to run a school play? I have assisted and the amount of work put into a production such as hers is immense. She does a great job and works her tail off during it. She is here an extra 20 hours a week for 10 weeks during the rehearsals and performances. She also runs a musical every year that is almost as intensive. Unfortunately our school only has a part time art teacher that teaches 15 classes per week and our 6th though 8th grade does not get to see her.

    Also do you know the school board is hand picked and not voted on, this is against your 14th amendment right as a parent. Almost every school board in the nation is elected. Take the time to fight the that. As I stated earlier a better top will mean a better school system. A top that is elected rather than appointed will also mean you as parents have a say in who is you CEO and I highly doubt you will elect someone who had such a low confidence vote at the previous school system he was in.

    People, please put more research into your statements before you speak about someones profession that you are not in. I do not talk about how the firefighters and police officers deserved to get screwed by King Rahm. And I do not believe you have the right to say anything until you are a teacher about teachers. With those of you who work longer hours than I do, well I used to work 14 hour days before I was a teacher and go to school. I still come home every day more exhausted now that I am a teacher then I did when I worked 14 hours a day( as a reference I am not a fat out of shape teacher complaining, I am triathlete).

    Don’t forget as a teacher, I want smaller class sizes for your children, I want more of the arts for each child, I want a full time nurse, a full time social worker, breakfast to be before school so it does not interrupt the school day. I want your kids to have more resources to learn with such as books, computers, projectors, and most importantly more teachers! Parents you should not be fighting us, you should be on our side. We want almost all the same things you want. These are things we need to get from CPS board.

    Parents and community PLEASE REMEMBER: we want your children to learn and succeed. We make sacrifices every day for YOUR children. We support YOUR children, we support the future of Chicago, and America. Please support us in supporting your children.

  • 243. anonymous  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Teachtolearn — thanks very much for your post.

    It’s sad to know that many great teachers are disheartened by new initiatives that are unfunded.

  • 244. Mia  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing that post. Your experience mirrors much of what I hear from my children’s teachers and others in the education community. Adding 45 minutes, providing adequate time for lunch and recess makes great sense. An elected school board would be wonderful, too much power resides with our mayor. I’ve posted here many times that paying our teachers fairly will attract and retain the kind of people (like you clearly) that we want teaching our kids. That’s one of the things I dislike about charter schools (okay the list is getting longer all the time) but one of the main things I dislike is that they pay their teachers LESS than the union schools. That’s a move in the wrong direction (in my opinion anyway).

  • 245. Teachtolearn  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Something that i failed to mention is that at my school. We are preschool through 8th grade and we have 28 teachers including specialist teachers and special ed teachers. Of those 28 teachers, our 3 best teachers are looking to retire early so their pensions are not affected. Another 4 of us (all younger teacher with less than 10 years in CPS but more than 5) including myself are looking for new jobs in a school system that will care about its teachers and the work that we put into everyday to better their lives and the future of our country. That’s 25% of teachers at my school, think of this in 2 ways. One there will 25% new teachers at a school which can severely change the make up the school, I will admit for better or worse. Another thing is that of the 28 people on staff, 6 have their national board certificate and 4 of those 6 may be leaving. Of the 7 people who are leaving all but myself have a masters degree, and I am working on my masters degree.

    One more thing. We are the only school district in the nation that REQUIRES its teachers to live in Chicago. I am a single male. I don’t make enough money to own a home in any descent to great area of Chicago. I grew up in the city of Chicago in a bad area and do not wish to live in one just so I can afford a home. With the requirement to live in Chicago and the cost of living index to live in Chicago being one of the highest in the nation we deserve a descent pay. And we deserve a descent pension as if we are required to live in the city for 34 plus years our mortgages will probably be in the city as well. We don’t have the luxury of moving to a city with cheap housing and commuting in and out and how many people would want to move away from their home after retirement and spending so much money to live there.

    Thank you for people who have replied in a positive way in response to our struggle as teachers, and to anyone who has taken the time to realize our struggle even if they do not necessarily agree with it.

  • 246. anonymous  |  February 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I feel for you. And I want to leave the city, too, because of the Mayor’s dictatorial style of governing.

    My sister in law taught for 17 years in Englewood. She had a Master’s plus great experience, and every one of her kindergartners knew how to read, print and do math by the end of the year.

    The first grade teachers would compete for her students. But she ran out of there once Rahm came to town. I hear more and more that this is happening.

    If we lose good, experienced teachers, who will want to send their kids to CPS schools?

  • 247. CPS Parent  |  February 22, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Students at my sons high school were informed of the final schedule to be submitted to CPS for the longer day next year. The schedule will be alternating block four days from 8 until 3:47 with one three period seminar day from 8:00 until 12:30 nine times per semester. The current schedule is similar but ends at 3:00 and 11:00 respectively. The last period of the day will be used for enrichment and tutoring. Clubs, teams, service projects, etc. can meet during this time. Students who qualify and rely on CPS bus service can now participate in clubs, teams, etc. Teachers who previously donated time for extracurriculars (CPS, currently, rarely pays) will be involved during paid hours. Students are pleased, this parent is as well.

  • 248. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

    “Now this breakfast takes 15 minutes to 20 minutes AWAY FROM LEARNING FOR YOU CHILDREN.”

    Really, I had no idea [/sarcasm]. Every time I bring this up, either everyone here ignores it, or actually says “it doesn’t take away from instructional time at *our* school”.

    Seriously–does everyone not realize that, for most elem schools, the effective academic day is currently 5.5 hours?

  • 249. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:17 am

    CPS Parent: “Students are pleased, this parent is as well.”

    That’s unpossible. The majority of commenters here say that NO parents are in favor of the 7.5 hour day. NONE. You must be a Rahm plant, paid out of some slushfund, to ride a bus to an internet cafe and post pro-“full day” hooie.

  • 250. Joel  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Just to clarify one point you made:I don’t think that it is just paying teachers more money that is necessary. The standards for getting into a teacher education program have to be raised dramatically. It is appalling the number of alternative, online, and quickie teacher preparation programs that are out there.
    For example, if you can’t pass the Basic Skills test after two tries, you’re out. It’s a weed out. When I heard a fellow teacher telling me she needed 5 times to pass it, I wasn’t surprised. Her class was a shambles.
    We have been incredibly lax in who we allow to become a teacher, and it shows. I was practically laughed out of my department meeting when I said I was going to Northwestern for my master’s in literature; why, they asked, wouldn’t I just do an online program in 6 months? Look at the number of for-profit education programs that have sprung up in the past decade. You don’t see that in other countries.
    There’s a big part of your problem. Top SE high schools can pick the best candidates, but once you get below that, the pool is frighteningly shallow.
    I’ll teach again, but it will probably be when I go back to Europe.

  • 251. Alcott High School info  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Chris 249 –

    Being in favor of the 7.5 day isn’t “unpossible” – I’m in favor of it as are all of my friends with kids in CPS. Every one single one and we all have kids several different schools both selective and neighborhood.

    And no, I’m no Rahm-ite, but I do like the fact that he’s making school changes quickly so that less kids are left to suffer in the current mess of a system.

  • 252. CPSDepressed  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

    @250, thank you. We have allowed teacher education to be a joke in this country. It’s become the major for people who are afraid of math, and that’s just wrong.

  • 253. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:44 am

    @251 – at my son’s school a survey was held an although nearly all the parents were in favor of a longer school day – they were not in favor of the 7.5 day, rather the modified (and to me more realisitic) 6.5 hour day. I agree change is needed, but making changes that fly in the face of statistics (see today’s report on the lack of success of the turnaround movement) just to make change “quickly” is equally bad. My problem with the current school board/Rahm is not that they have a vision (charters, turnarounds); it’s that they are unwilling to slow down and digest and assess the data from the new studies and then proceed with their plan as is, or make moficiations. Rather, they immediatley put the “spin” teams in motion and go forward – because being “right” about their initial vision seems to be more important than doing the RIGHT thing for the children of Chicago.

  • 254. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Alcott HS info @ 251:

    Guess I needed to use my sarcasm tags in that one, too.

    Frightening, to me, that that could be taken seriously–shows the level of the discourse on the matter.

    FTR, I dunno if 7.5 hours is the right amount, but I know 5.75 is too short, and, having experience with the 6.5 hour (really 6.25, bc of breakfast) day, I think that at least 7 (with the 15 minutes of breakfast still in there) is the best answer–maybe 7.25 for elem, so 7 hours after breakfast, with younger grades getting more down time and older kids having more academic time.

  • 255. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Chris- not sure how my child’s school did it, but they still serve breakfast before school in the cafeteria – no one in his class eats in the room. they start school promptly. For my daughter (different school) – there are breakfast bags in the hall outside her room, and if they grab one they eat it while the teacher is doing homeroom duties – no time lost.

    My son’s school moved to the 6.5 hour day this year – and it’s enough for me. I’m glad they did it, he has some additional instruction time, but also a full lunch and recess period – very, very important for these elementary aged kids. Now if you want to add music and art and more time with language, maybe I’d feel differently – but if it’s test prep and more of the core subjects,well, sorry I’m not up for that.

  • 256. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 11:03 am

    “they eat it while the teacher is doing homeroom duties – no time lost”

    Have you actually witnessed this on multiple days, or is that just what the message is? Big fight about it at our school, and it *has* reduced instructional time–not that my kids care, it’s just additional free rerading time, but it cuts into the school day–AND we have a teacher here who agrees with my view of the breakfast interruption.

    “but if it’s test prep and more of the core subjects,well, sorry I’m not up for that.”

    Yeah, but–not really the test prep, but certainly core subjects–something like 80% of CPS would benefit from it. This is about a systemwide issue, not an issue at your schools or my school. Yes, the upshot may well be a ton of negative unintended consequences, but when you have knuckleheads like Jesse bleating about how closing schools is part of “educational apartheid” you can’t realistically make systemwide decisions that cater to the top 10% of the students.

  • 257. Teachtolearn  |  February 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    246: I want to leave Illinois period, the whole state is corrupt and makes corrupt laws about education

    247: We will most likely not get paid, I have been told I would be paid for multiple things and never have been. And HS is becoming 46 minutes longer and I believe this would be a good number for elementary school as well.

    248 and 253 and 256 the topic of breakfast: Breakfast at my school does take away from educational time. It used to be our reading time, where students read for homeroom (17 minutes) every day of the year. This was free independent reading as well. Breakfast needs to be moved to before the day starts again. The clean up of it takes children away from reading time and class time, as at our school I started a recycling program to stop the waste of 300 milk cartons, 300 paper bags, etc. 2 students in each class clean up recycle, 2 in each class clean up garbage, 2 in each class bring the non used food items back to the cafeteria. If you put breakfast back where it belongs (before school) you are adding 15 minutes per day. We currently have 180 school days of which 170 (I’m not positive on this) students come to. With the plan to add 10 school days (which I agree with), take away to professional development days (I also agree with), and take away two holidays (I also agree with if they are holidays before ISAT) we will have 184 attendance days. Do the math 15 minutes more per day times 184 days = 46 extra hours per year. Divide 46 by 5.75 (actual school day) and you will receive 8 extra days of instructional time. Also realize Rahm and Brizzard purposely pushed breakfast into the day so teachers would complain about the time constraints of it. Leading to what we have now.

    249 Chris, please be part of the solution. Getting crazy about someones view point is not the way to do this. There are few who do believe in the 7.5 school day for elementary school. However, there are some, so please be mindful.

    250 I went to a state college in Illinois, the process to become a teacher is a joke, and multiple retakes is a joke. This is what I call the babying of America. Everyone has to have multiple chance to succeed. I believe this is not right! Like I said before in 242 you start at the root of a problem. Right now the root in CPS is the board not the teachers. The root of the problem in the bad teachers, is a bad system of allowing them to become teachers. Make becoming a teacher much more difficult, pay them more, and call it a day. There will still be bad apples, but I believe a lot less.

    251 I agree that HS should add 46 minutes and so should Elementary school. Do realize that kids in elementary school should have the right to be children as well. Many of our students in 5th-8th do homework when they get home as well. Kids should be able to go outside and play after school, after all they are kids!!!!! They should not be locked in school from 8-3:30 then go home and do homework until 5, then have to eat dinner, then go to bed at 8 or 9 like they should. Where does that leave them time to be children? Have us start the kids start at 8 still and have a 6.5 hours day with breakfast before the day to account for another 15 minutes of learning time. That means an extra hour per day. With the addition of the possible 14 days. That equals 184 extra hours or the equivalent of an extra 24 school days on the current schedule, plus the addition of 14 days. Now equivalent to 38 days more on the 5.75 hour system! I think that is more than enough if not too much. That is approximately 22% more learning time in a year. Enough said.

    253 Rolling from my above statement. In order for time to be added we can not just add time. We need to add time in some classes like Physical Education. Currently students at my school in K-5 have PE once per week at 45 minutes, though state law mandates it 5 days per week. Also in 6-8 they have 2 times per week. I think time needs to be added to Music, Art, Library, PE, and possibly add language classes as well. If these are not added then I believe there is little point to add more time in the day.

    To all of you I would also like you to take a minute to add what you think about merit based pay. I fundamentally want to agree with it, but due to all the external factors that we as teachers can not help. I do not believe it is fair. If you look at education studies only a small portion of student success comes from school and a smaller portion from teachers. Parenting is the largest influence and we can not make good parents ( I WISH ). And social influences are also a large percentage.

    I would like to thank everyone who has added comments to what I have written. I like to hear what people have to think.

  • 258. CPS Parent  |  February 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Regarding Chris at 249 he was being sarcastic. He makes good points in other posts.

    Regarding breakfast – if the day is longer, a 10min period could be added to the start of the day which would be dedicated to breakfast or reading for those who don’t need it. The kids who need breakfast the most are the least likely to show up before school starts.

  • 259. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    CPS Parent @258: “The kids who need breakfast the most are the least likely to show up before school starts.”

    Totally agreed about that. Make it 15, make it after the tardy bell, and all of a sudden, that 7.5 hour day is only 7.25.

    @257: “Getting crazy about someones view point is not the way to do this.”

    As noted by me @254 and @258, I was getting crazy in the opposite direction because of SOOO many posters here (or just one very persistent person) claiming that NO ONE supports a 7.5 hour day. My view is that, given a binary choice of 5.75 or 7.5, 7.5 wins.

  • 260. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    @257: “what you think about merit based pay. I fundamentally want to agree with it, but due to all the external factors that we as teachers can not help. I do not believe it is fair.”

    All depends on the index for determining “merit”, right? Can’t just be raw test scores, because then teachers at the “good” schools would get paid more merely for not screwing up “good” kids, while if it were purely on the increase in the scores, then the reverse could occur. And most of the rest of the possible ratings systems I have heard/read about get into squishy stuff that’s too open to politics and personal favoritism/enmity.

  • 261. anonymous  |  February 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    There is no school district in the U.S. that mandates a 7.5 hour day.
    It is too extreme, especially for the youngest kids and for kids wiht special needs.

    Emanuel wants to push CPS to the longest day in the U.S. by far. His people on the Board and in communications and with Stand for Children just won’t admit that 7.5 hours is the longest day in the U.S.

    And who, besides gold old Chris here, says there are only 2 choices?

    Why not follow what works so well elsewhere, 6.5, the average in Illinois?

    That would add the time to the core subjects and let the parents have the time with their children that the 14th amendment protects.

    Posters here have the same right to explain their views as you do.

  • 262. Uptown Mama  |  February 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    @242 – good post. One clarification: teachers (at least elementary) are currently paid for a 6.5 hour day. Their day will be 60 minutes longer, not 90 minutes longer. If teachers are at a school that is currently 5 hrs and 45 min long, it’s because that school’s staff has voted to take (paid) lunch at the end of the day. So, while those teachers will have their school day lengthened by 90 minutes, they’re already paid for 45 minutes of that time. I think this discrepancy is patently unfair to teachers working the 6.5 hour day, as well as to the students who don’t get the 45-minute lunch and recess.

  • 263. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    6.5 hours would be ideal. As I said earlier, our school moved to that model this year (9-3:30) and it is loved by teachers, students and parents.

  • 264. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    “And who, besides gold old Chris here, says there are only 2 choices?”

    Strawman. Never said it. I said *if* there is a binary choice I’d choose 7.5, but that I personally don’t think 7.5 is the answer.

    btw, anonymous @261, are you the solitary anonymous posting all of the anti-longer day thoughts?

    Also, I am certainly not trying to shut anyone out of explaining their views, I’m merely exercising my right to mock and deride those who try to assert that NO ONE supports the 7.5 hour day without being a Rahm-plant.

    ” let [] parents have the time with their children that the 14th amendment protects”

    Huh? Cite, please! What interpretation of the 14th A. enshrines a “right” for parents to spend time with their children? Also, exactly how much “time with their children” is prescribed by the 14th A? Can we use that interpretation to force the government provide more and faster mass transit, or more highways, so that parents can get home from work faster to enjoy their “Consitutionally protected” time with their children?

  • 265. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Uptown Mama: “If teachers are at a school that is currently 5 hrs and 45 min long, it’s because that school’s staff has voted to take (paid) lunch at the end of the day.”

    That’s backward, isn’t it? The contracted schedule is the teacher lunch after dismissal and the school has to vote to opt-out and have the 6.5 hour school day. Or have I misunderstood?

    Agreed that, either way, the increase in the “teacher’s day” is 60 minutes, not 105.

  • 266. mom2  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I am not a Rahm plant and I am OK with a 7.5 hour day. However, we are at a very good school with administration and teachers I trust to make that day appropriate for the age of the child. I would trust that for the younger kids, they would finally get the recess that they usually miss due to our current crazy day where it takes the entire recess period to put on and take off coats. I would trust that lunch would finally be long enough for the younger kids to open their milk and yogurt and eat their sandwich, too. I would trust that if the younger kids need two more breaks in the day for crafts or games or whatever else is needed, they will make it happen so they can learn and not be tired and cranky.

    For the older kids, I would trust that they would find creative use of the extra time to help them learn and explore how the things they are leaning apply to real life.

    Now, maybe some other schools don’t have a group like that and parents are concerned that the work will just be piled on, that they will sit in front of a computer (although I don’t know where all these computers would come from) and the amount of homework would continue at the same level. I am hoping that this is wrong, but I do understand the concerns if some schools are run poorly or can’t find the resources to make it work. The lack of information from CPS about resources does make me crazy.

    By the way, no matter what, the current 5 hour 45 min day is horrible and I’ll be glad to see that go.

  • 267. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I have one kid in a 8-1:45 RGS (5.75 hours) and one in a 6.5 hour (9-3:30). I couldn’t agree with you more – the 5.75 hour one is awfu. I hate the no recess and the ridiculously short time alloted for lunch (oh and the principal too – I think I’ve mentioned that before ;)).

    However, the 6.5 hour day is great. Full recess,full lunch. Tired when they get home, but appropriately so, still able to do homework and get in some playtime. Why the extra hour? I’d rather see them get rid of the ridiculous number of “inservice days” – in November they had like 12 days of school total, even go a week more into June, but do I really want my kid there until 4:30?, or starting at 8?

  • 268. Uptown Mama  |  February 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    @ Chris: nope, I double checked. The contracted-for elementary school day is 6.5 hours (technically, 7 hours as teachers have a 30-minute prep period before students arrive). Teachers vote annually whether to have their 45-minute lunch period at the end of the day. If they vote to do so, both the students and they leave after 5.75 hours. http://www.ctunet.com/grievances/text/2007-2012-CPS-CTU-Collective-Bargaining-Agreement.pdf?1294199486. For HS teachers, it looks like it is also a 7-hour day (“shall not exceed 421 minutes”), but the contract language is confusing.

  • 269. teachtolearn  |  February 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    This is the best I could come up with for 14th amendment. I can see 2 things from this:

    1 the board needs to be elected

    2 how parents can say that the more time they spend with the state the less time parents have with them. Which underminds the parents responsibility to bring up and teach their child and the right they have to see their child.

    These mandates are voted on by the handpicked Board which denies the citizens of Chicago our rights to due process as stated in Constitutional Protection for Parental Rights; The Meyer-Pierce Legacy; Robert P. George and Jana V.T. Baldwin; June, 1994 – The custody, care and nurture of the child [should] reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations. The Constitution limits the use of state power to diminish parental rights and undermine the family. Although the Constitution does not deal explicitly with parental authority, the Supreme Court has specifically recognized parental rights of custody and control. In the landmark decision of Meyer v. Nebraska, closely followed by Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Court stated that parents have a substantive due process right to “bring up children.” In Meyer, the Supreme Court held that the right of parents to raise their children free from unreasonable state interferences is one of the unwritten “liberties” protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

  • 270. Mom  |  February 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Gosh, I’m annoyed by the “Constitution experts” who, obviously, are not lawyers. The 14th Amendment says absolutely nothing about whether the CSB should be elected or appointed. It does not violate the Constitution to require kids to spend more time in school to the detriment of time spent with parents.

    On another note, I agree with whoever said that requirements for entering the teaching profession need to be more strident.

  • 271. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Chris likes a one-size-fits-all approach. Remember, it is unfunded.

    If I need glasses and you don’t, why should you have to wear them?
    No reason to.

    There is no reason that schools that high performing schools must conform to the 7.5 hour long day.

    CPS has said that 123,000 students are in low-performing seats. Focus efforts where it’s needed most.

  • 272. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Golly, Mom, you must be a Constitutional lawyer and a professor of education?

    Chris couldn’t be bothered to google the 14th amendment himself.
    But the poster did a nice job.

    And you may think that requirements may need to be stricter — why not google what they are before you jump in on that?

    But requirements don’t need to be “strident.”

  • 273. Chris  |  February 23, 2012 at 6:07 am

    “Chris couldn’t be bothered to google the 14th amendment himself.
    But the poster did a nice job.”

    Oh, tehgoogle is a ConLaw expert? I dont need to google, Im pretty sound on constitutional principles, and how a court might apply precedent. Aint no way that a federal court is finding that a longer school day impinges on the rights of parents.

    And, what does “professor of education” have to do with understanding conlaw?

    Also, your strawman is getting tired. I’ve never said that I favor one size fits all, indeed I have said several times the opposite.

  • 274. Chris  |  February 23, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Uptown Mama: thanks!

    Guess I fell for propaganda, tho Im not sure whose propoganda.

    Who benefits most from that mistaken understanding being out there?

  • 275. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Glad to hear you don’t think one size fits all on the length of day.

  • 276. Chris  |  February 23, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Btw, a simple extension of the thought put forth in that George-Baldwin advocacy piece cited above (yes, I actually read it, and yes, I have in the past read thhe major cited Supreme Court decisions) would be that the schools cannot require any kids to get vaccines for school attendance (no religious or other exemptions necessary) and that requiring eye exams and physicals are also prohibited from being required. And the age cut off in CPS would be unenforceable. And a whole slippery slope parade of horribles.

    The George-Baldwin article was about condom distribution in NYC public schools and the right for parents to opt their kids out. Reading it to support a view that an extra hour of school is a due process violation is tenuous at best. Now, if a given parent said “I’m taking my kid home at 2:30 everyday, no matter what, and you best advance him with his class anyway” that parent *might* prevail in court (query if putting a kid thru that is really in the kids best interest, ever), but never going to happen that a uniform school day gets overturned on that basis, nor is the direct election of a school board–rather than appointment by an elected representative–going to be required to meet constitutional muster.

  • 277. Maggie  |  February 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Chris, I like your comments and agree.

  • 278. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 8:19 am


    Mark Brown’s view.

  • 279. Maggie  |  February 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

    CTUers are going to be especially vocal on this board today given yesterday’s vote to turnaround the schools.

    Can angry CTUers please go back to the District 299 blog? I realize you’re trying to get parents on your side and you think this is a good venue, but your scare tactics are kind of juvenile and repetitive and this board has lost a lot of value to parents.

    Sigh. Actually, maybe that’s your intent – to drive people away from a place where thoughtful discussion used to take place.

  • 280. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 9:07 am


    A lot of parents across the city are upset about the 7.5 hour day for good reasons, some of which Mark Brown write about today. CPS is not listening. And CPS keeps telling the media that the parents are a front for the union. But 19th Ward Parents, SixPointFivetoThrive and Raise Your Hand have never received money or organizing advice from the CTU.

    Unlike Stand for Children, who supports the mayor on the 7.5 hour day, and has been funded by Sam Zell, the Grffins, Pritzkers, Crownes and other Chicago elites. The best-funded PAC in Illinois.

    Those folks draw a a salary to spread the mayor’s views. The parents have to take off work.

  • 281. Gwen  |  February 23, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Anonymous – from what I’ve read of Maggie’s posts, I truly wouldn’t bother trying to explain things to her. She’s got a set of beliefs (anyone who opposes the Board or Rahm is a paid hack of the CTU, etc., etc.,) and things like facts don’t matter. She also really, really just wants to talk about which is the best school she can send her kid to, and isn’t it totally horrible that tiers exist, etc. The fact that the only “paid” protesters have been the one’s sent by the school board is irrelevant. Factual studies – irrelevant. Your time is better spent trying to educate and inform the part of the public that truly wants to be informed, who live in the city because of it’s diversity, not in spite of it, and not bother with people like Maggie, they are a lost cause.

    I personally have never had a strong opinion one way or the other on the unions. I don’t even know what the District 299 blog is. I came here, like I’m sure other parents did, to try to get some information about the Selective Enrollment schools (I have an 8th grader). I have not posted very much, but I’ve tried to share my thoughts and ideas in a civil and respectful manner. I have learned a lot from the postings here about the charters and unions, and have found the people posting counters to the very prevalent “unions are bad” posts here quite informative, I’ve enjoyed your posts quite a bit. To have them characterized as “angry scare tactics” and being asked to essentially go away is really, well, rude, and I for one just want to let you know that much of what you’ve said has informed my view and helped me shape my opinions on the current policies of CPS, and I thank you for that.

  • 282. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Very kind of you, Gwen.

  • 283. northie  |  February 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

    There was a time when this blog was filled with parents (and occasionally teachers) who would discuss, share, agree and disagree on a very local, personal and intellectual level. I miss the days of getting ideas, opinions and information without all the “anonymous” and “anon” comments. There are now people, who I believe, just like to “hear” themselves speak and offer no real constructive ideas. Unless you plan on filing a lawsuit because the 14th Amendment has been violated, can we stop posting such drivel and then using the next 20 comments on debating it? I feel like I’m reading the comments from a Yahoo article. I think it’s time for me to check out for awhile. Good luck to all who are waiting for letters, for both high school and elementary. I’m sure someone here will have some snarky thing to say about this post too. Knock yourselves out…

  • 284. Maggie  |  February 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

    @281 Gwen, how would you get that idea from the two posts I’ve ever made? You happen to be dead wrong.

  • 285. Teachtolearn  |  February 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Northie I apologize for wasting your time on something that I believe. I’m sorry other people have opinions other than your own. I know as a parent I would like to be able to elect the school board for my child. Just like they do in every other city in this state. I would also like to inform you that I am talking with the union delegate at my school and trying to figure out what, if anything can be done to change this.

    To the rest of you I realize the 14th amendment is a long shot. I posted it to see what people thought about and see if it is worth it. I would also like all of you to realize that until my first post, 242, there had not been a post for a week. So at least I sparked more conversation, which was my goal. I have tried to give insight to my school on a honest level. I am not a CTU person trying to go insane and spread propaganda, just an honest level headed person. I am giving my personal thoughts, not those of anyone else.

    My school is a good school, we are one of the top performing K to 8 schools in the city. If we are having this many problems at a good school, I can not even imagine one of the poorer performing schools.

    My main problems with CPS are this:

    1.) How are we going to fund a longer school day? We can’t even afford a music or art teacher. I principal buys those positions from a cell phone towers we have put on the old smoke stack.

    Keep in mind they still have not put out a budget for the 2011 – 2012 school year (that I know of, if you find it please do, this is my tax as well as your tax dollars. I know I can find how much money I’m making this year online, how come I can’t find the school districts budget? How come they with held our contract raises but offered every school 150,000 in September to move to a longer school day. According to the CPS website there are 474 elementary schools (474 schools X $150,000 = $71,100,00) and don’t forget the offered each teacher $1,750 now I don’t know how many teachers are in elementary school program but I can assume 60% of the 24,000 teachers are. (24,000 teachers X .6 = 14,400 elementary teacher X $1,750 = $25,200,000). That’s almost 100,000,000 dollars they would have to put out if all schools turned. I checked my work but could have made a mistake so please correct me if there is one. If they can have that much money how come our roof leaks? How come our school is overcrowded and has too many kids per class? How come we can not afford the teachers our students DESERVE?

    2.) CEO Brizzard is not listening to anyone but Mr. Emanuel. He is just doing what he is told to do. They are acting like dictators. We live in a country that has fought dictators and are still fighting dictators. Yet we are still letting them do this.

    I also wanted to say I’m sorry to parents/students/teachers at the schools that were closed.

  • 286. Teachtolearn  |  February 23, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Here is something to read


    if it doesn’t come up let me know. I will figure a new way for you to see it. It is on the appointed school boards and charter schools. It may be one sided but it is another reference for you to form an opinion on and was released last year so it is recent.

    ALSO CAN WE PLEASE STOP THE SLANDER TOWARDS EACH OTHER. This is meant to be educated. Please write words worth courtesy. Remember kindergarten rules: If you don’t have anything nice to say please (please please please) don’t say it. Why even waste your time?

  • 287. goingtogermany0693  |  February 23, 2012 at 11:23 am

    It says page not found when I click on the link.

  • 288. Teachtolearn  |  February 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Google this

    why does chicago not have an elected school board?

    first item is this
    Should Chicago Have an Elected Representative School Board?

    it is a PDF, select it.

    I’m offline for the day! Good luck and have a happy day everyone!

  • 289. Angie  |  February 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

    @281. Gwen: “I personally have never had a strong opinion one way or the other on the unions. I don’t even know what the District 299 blog is. I came here, like I’m sure other parents did, to try to get some information about the Selective Enrollment schools (I have an 8th grader).”

    And that is exactly why these CTU shills are here. CPS Obsessed is a very well known blog among the Chicago parents, so it makes sense for them to set up shop and start recruiting new followers and protesters.

  • 290. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Angie, whom do you think is a CTU shill?

  • 291. parent here  |  February 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!

  • 292. Angie  |  February 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    @290. anonymous: Anonymous posters who refuse to take a moniker thinking they will be harder to figure out, teachers who come here solely to complain about being overworked and underpaid, people proclaiming that the sky will fall if the school day is extended, and so on.

  • 293. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Well, you are wrong about me, Angie, being a front or a shill or whatever.

  • 294. mom2  |  February 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    @293 – would you please change your name from “anonymous” to something more specific? You can still be anonymous, but if you even put something next to the anonymous name, we can tell you apart from the other anonymous and the other anonymous and the other anonymous (or are you all the same? We can’t tell – which is why it looks like piling on or “a front” or “a shill” or “whatever”).

  • 295. 19th Ward Parent  |  February 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    If you still have questions and concerns about the extended day please attend a meeting on Thursday March 8th at Morgan Park HS at 7pm. CPS representatives have been invited to answer questions. Please also visit http://www.nolongerday.com for more research about the longer school day, some of which has been cited already on this page. What is most important is that we keep the conversation going and that we do not allow a mandate to be pushed on our children without input from the teachers, administrators and parents who work most closely with them and our community schools. What is good for one may not be good for all, and with 405,000 students in CPS it is irresponsible of our mayor and his appointed board to suggest that simply adding 105 minutes to a school day will cure all the problems CPS currently faces and will be to the benefit of every child.

  • 296. Maggie  |  February 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    @295 19th Ward Parent – can you please point me to where the mayor says the full day “will cure all the problems CPS currently faces?”

    Thank you.

  • 297. 19th Ward Parent  |  February 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    According to the CPS presentation on the benefit of the longer school day, “We will create a system of schools that prepares every student, in every community to succeed in college and career.” This would seem to suggest that by adding an extra 105 minutes to the current day students who are chronically truant, in some cases facing violence and poverty will overcome these challenges to graduate college and career ready; that schools who currently need to make copies of text books because they do not have enough for every student; who have no libraries at their schools, rely on aging and limited technology will still be able to offer a quality education; that schools that are faced with teacher lay-offs, that presently do not have staff or facilities to provide enrichment programs such as art, music and languages, (particularly since the budget for the World Languages Program has been cut); schools who have done nothing more than focus on core subjects because resources are not available, will be able to produce well-rounded individuals ready to contribute to their communities. A longer day does not equate to a better day, and without evaluating the needs of every school CPS and the mayor can not ensure effective education for every student.

  • 298. goingtogermany0693  |  February 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Nicely said 19th Ward Parent

  • 299. Jarek  |  February 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    If there is going to be a longer school day than charter schools schould have less discipin like if you get a detention you schould not pay 5 bucks and also that you schould be allowed to use the bathroom and not make those minuets up

  • 300. Jarek  |  February 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    And make magnet privates and charters schools have freedom

  • 301. Jarek  |  February 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Next year 2012-2013 they schould make charters magnet and privates schools not that much diciplin rules and not strict becouse these is to young for a child at 14 at this age and they schould change some rules like if you dont do your hamowork are get a bad grade that they schould have one thing either lassel or Aip and make charter magnet and private schools have special education program

  • 302. 899  |  February 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    That we schould have a longer division and lunch period to spend time with friends

  • 303. anonymouos  |  February 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Jarek — Does your charter school have any special ed services?

  • 304. anonymouos  |  February 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Jarek — Do you think your charter school is too strict? Are the fees too high when students break a rule?

  • 305. CPSDepressed  |  February 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

    My great-grandfathers worked in coal mines for 12 hours a day at age 14. I think a 14-year-old is tough enough to keep shoes tied and attend school for 7.5 hours a day.

  • 306. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I think some 14 yearolds might actually prefer the coal mine.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 307. CPSDepressed  |  February 27, 2012 at 9:36 am


  • 308. anonymous  |  February 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

    CPS-D — that is the same line that Rick Santorum is using on the campaign trail — about his grandfather working in a coal mine. ; )

    Really, CPS-D, it isn’t kind of the regulars here to reply in a mocking way to a young student who comes onto this blog to post his concerns about school.

    After all, he has insight we don’t. And he is young. I hope we can be open to hearing from students.

    So, Jarek, please continue to contribute your opinions. We are glad to hear from you.

  • 309. anonymous  |  February 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    If the longer school day means

    no funding from CPs for new learning supports,
    fewer teachers and larger class sizes

    would you still be in favor of it?

  • 310. CPS Parent  |  February 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Anonymous @309, why would there be fewer teachers?

  • 311. anonymous  |  February 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Teacher lay-offs and larger classes b/c of less funding.

    CPS has already said many times that the longer day will not get any additional funding.

    A lobbyist said that there will be no increase in education funding for any district in Illinois through 2016, and the Gov. just said there will be less next fiscal year.

    Also CPS has deferred payments into the teachers retirement fund and will owe some $600 million in a few years.

  • 312. CPS Parent  |  February 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Anonymous @311 At the start of contract negotiations, if I were CPS I would say “Sorry teachers, you’ll have to work longer for the same pay. We have no additional money” if i were the CTU I’d say “longer day means more pay. Go find the money.”

    Some sort of compromise will result in the end. It always does. CPS needs teachers; teachers need jobs. My guess is something in the order of 4% per year plus changes in step, lane, and work rules and the beginnings of some sort of performance pay implementation above the 4%. Class size will not go up since that is the big issue with parents and neither CPS nor CTU can appear to have caused larger class sizes to be the result of the negotiations. So we will have the same number of teachers teaching same number of students for more hours.

    Regarding “new learning supports”, they are probably needed regardless of the longer day implementation so not really part of the equation when talking about the longer day.

  • 313. anonymous  |  February 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Maybe it is just negotiating tactics.

    You’re right, learning supports and enrichment are needed regardless. But the longer day now provides the time and place, just need the actual support and CPs has said there is no funding for programs — distinct from teachers’ salaries.

    So, we’ll see.

  • 314. 19th Ward Parent  |  February 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    @312 CPS Parent, the problem is with mandated 60 minute teacher prep and 45 minute duty free lunch for teachers during the school day, there will not be enough teachers to teach children during these prep periods or supervise during lunch and recess. Not all schools currently have art, music, library, technology or other “enrichemnt” programming, and in order to provide these classes schools will need more teachers, which, without additional funding cannot happen.

  • 315. CPS Parent  |  February 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    19th Ward Parent @314 agreed. That’s why work rules will probably change. Teachers will supervise kids while having their lunch at least some of the time. Teachers will teach art not only “art” teachers. Libraries don’t need to be staffed by a librarian. All teachers can be (and should be) technologists. Maybe not all of this is possible or desirable but some of it is. Teachers are by default educated people who can enrich students beyond the normal concepts of a traditional teaching job description.

  • 316. anonymous  |  February 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I have to say you might be a little too diffident in regards to most classroom being able to teach in a meaningful way subjects like art, music, computers, writing and foreign language in order fill up the 7.5 hours.

    Urban school communities are complex and diverse. The kinds of wholesale, unplanned and unfunded changes Emanuel is pushing hard across the board are not going to be at all easy to implement, and it will be hardest on the youngest kids,

  • 317. Crawley  |  February 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Parent at a Pioneer school here. My child becoming exhausted and frustrated with school was simply the catalyst for “digging” into the facts surrounding the 7.5 hour day. The more I learn the more appalled I get. This is poorly thought out, poorly planned, underfunded, and understaffed.

    Parents at our school currently provide library, morning “security”, lunch and recess help, make copies, put together homework packets, and fundraise for things like smart boards and classroom libraries.

    Our teachers are all young and brilliant. Our students are selective enrollment products. Everyday more people tell me that they are struggling.

    How is this going to work at a school that has tired teachers, no parent involvement, or fundraising (most CPS schools) when it’s just barely working at ours?

    The data doesn’t support a switch to the 7.5 hour day. 7.5 hours will NOT “get us on par” with the rest of the nation as Brizard says, it will far surpass “par”.

    Our voices are being stifled at Pioneer schools and CPS and their principals are taking advantage of the goodwill of parents who don’t want to “rock the boat”. If the facts (not opinions) were made evident to all parents it would be plain to see that this is a political ploy with our families as the pawns.

  • 318. 19th Ward Parent  |  February 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Parent at Pioneer, Would you be willing to come out and speak about your expereinces with the longer day at a meeting on March 8th on the SW side of the city? Are there other parents at your school who feel the same way. We would greatly appreciate hearing this perspective! 7pm Morgan Park HS. If so, pleas send an email to 19thwardparents@gmail.com. Thank you!

  • 319. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    @317 Crawley ….. Amen to that! Our kids must be at the same school. The school has no LSC, so the principal can choose to ignore the input of the unhappy parents. He did Rahm and JC a huge favor and he will soon be getting a nice job somewhere else. It is sad, that our kid’s lives are being used for this political propaganda. And as I said before, many parents don’t speak up, because the long day works for their work schedule better. No matter how exhausted their kids are.

  • 320. anonymous  |  March 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    317 and 319 —

    You are cordially invited to a meeting March 8 at 7 pm at Morgan Park h.s. auditorium on the longer school day / year.
    It’s very easy to get here via the Ryan and exit at 111th St. Go 1 block west and you will see the school.

    There will be excellent information shared here.

  • 321. Concerned Pioneer Parent  |  March 2, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Fellow CPSObsessedians, a new community group has started for parents of Pioneer Schools to share their experiences with the extended day. Please visit our website (http://concernedpioneerparents.com/) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Concerned-Pioneer-Parents-for-a-Better-School-Day/376585345687089), and if you’re at a Pioneer School, consider sharing your experiences with us (good/bad/ugly/indifferent). The longer-school-day conversation needs to include voices from across the spectrum, and we need to share our valuable experiences with the broader CPS community. Thanks for your time.

  • 322. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 2, 2012 at 10:20 am

    new website has been established, by concerned parents of children from the pioneer schools


  • 323. Skinmom  |  March 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

    @Pioneer parents thank goodness I am not alone! My child is at a pioneer school and for the first time EVER, has been struggling due to the overwhelming amount of homework and pressure. He’s been in the gifted program since first grade. However, I see him burning out and am very concerned. I’m not alone! Numerous parents are very concerned and have voiced our concerns to the teachers (they also seem overwhelmed) and principal. No luck. I can’t imagine what schools with different demographics will do! We are lucky to have a wonderful outside area for recess but what do schools do that are in bad neighborhoods and/or don’t have an outside area? What will be done in winter?

    I volunteer in the classroom along with other mothers. I see first hand how hard these teachers work. Unfortunately, our school is not the norm. Schools with classrooms of 30 + students who are struggling and below level with zero parent involvement are being set up to fail. As a parent who is VERY involved in my child’s education, I feel that parents need to start being held accountable. Teachers are not magicians and I would hate to see the city lose amazing, brilliant teachers due to unrealistic demands.

    I come from the business world where I had my own office, could take a bathroom break at any time, was able to sit down and work, had access to copy machines and unlimited supplies and had the luxury of an amazing secretary to take care of various tasks. I admit, I could never be a teacher and admire the hours of hard work they put in. It’s time we all look at the bigger picture and not solely at the school our children attend. Otherwise our city is going to continue to go down the tubes and education will be a business run by corporations filling CEO pockets with cash.

    I would not want my child being taught by a teacher with zero experience. AUSL Plans to do just that, put in people with zero experience and let them experiment while taking classes to obtain a degree in education paid by AUSL. That is why they commit to teach for 3 years. I ask that everyone please keep an open mind about what is going on before our eyes and I’ll be sure to attend the upcoming meeting.

  • 324. Skinmom  |  March 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I feel that I should have noted that our youngest attends Latin (private school) because we were not happy with the overcrowded rooms at our neighborhood school. My husband and I went back and forth before making a final decision. We didn’t feel that she was being challenged due to the various levels of each child and again the amount of students per classroom. Kindergarten felt more like day care. Although she was recommended for the gifted program, we felt that she would do best in a smaller classroom where she would be academically challenged. Looking back, my husband and I are very pleased with our decision. Our son thrived in the gifted program up until this year when the longer day kicked in. We are in the process of looking at private schools for him due to the negative impact the longer day has had. He is far beyond his grade level in all subjects. Pushing harder could result in more damage than good. If the additional time provided students the option to take a class such as photography, computer design, pottery etc I would welcome the change. However, he doesn’t need more instructional time.

    The Latin school has the SAME amount of instructional time as CPS with a shorter school year. In fact ALL of the private schools we have looked at have the SAME amount of instructional time as CPS. Therefore, the argument that CPS has the shortest day of any school is nonsense. Other schools have an hour for lunch and recess resulting in a longer day but the instructional time is the same. Let Rahm target specific schools in need and hire additional support but don’t let him destroy schools that rank highest in the city!

  • 325. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    @Skinmom, so happy to hear other parents speak up.
    As someone pointed out few days ago, how is it that according to CPS schools can have different grading scales, but not different length of school day? Someone also asked a while ago, if we really feel like fighting for a day that is just a half hour shorter makes a difference. Yes, it does. It really adds up over the course of the week. I also prefer my child to take enrichment activities from professionals at pottery studios, Old Town School or Folk Music etc.

    CPSO, where do we start the fight for changing the law and have our BOE voted in, not named by the mayor? So we have BOE that answers to parents and listens to their concerns, experiences and suggestions.

  • 326. Skinmom  |  March 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    @324 I’ve learned a lot while researching schools. Currently schools do have different lengths of the school day, hence the pioneer program. Charter schools also are not required to follow all of the rules and regulations of CPS. What many of us have realized is that this is not about what’s best for the child but rather what’s best for Rahm and his effort to fill the deficit. He wants kids off the street in hope that it will help lower the crime rate. What better way then to keep them in school longer! If he really cared, he would provide funding for resources and smaller class sizes. Do we also believe that his proposal for putting speed cameras across the city by every school is bc he cares about the children?? This man has one agenda and it isnt our children or education.

    It is unheard of to roll out a blanket plan such as this without any data, planning, MONEY etc. in districts where they tested a longer school day, millions of dollars were spent to assist the implementation. Yet we are asking teachers to work longer days and a longer school year??? I see first hand how hard some of these teachers work. I find it insulting that people feel its okay that they are not compensated! Anyone who has ever worked in the business world knows that the better you treat your employees, the more you will get in return. It’s all about keeping your employees happy. Teachers are treated like baby sitters and in many situations spend the day doing just that, baby sitting. It’s unfortunate but until Rahm tackles the real issue of parent accountability, the system will continue to fail. I refuse to sit back and allow a moron impact my childs future. Maybe Rahm should go under cover w zero security and teach in one of these “failing” schools he plans to turn around. Let him do that for about a week with zero assistance or special exceptions. That includes not letting the school know who he is but rather walk in as a substitute teacher. Maybe then he would have a completely different view. 🙂 I don’t claim to have the strength and patience to teach but I know enough to see an alternative agenda. No one has been honest or taken the time to hear the parents’ concerns and/or take them into account. CPS is going to do whatever they want and Brizzard will continue to be Rahms’ puppet.

  • 327. Mich  |  March 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    If it is really about keeping kids in school, why not find ways to fund more afterschool programs for those that need them? Our school has an after program that even offers low-cost enrichments.
    Some parents who can afford outside enrichments prefer the ones at school because they’re not commonly offered in the area (like drumming) or are very expensive outside (like drama).
    We just had a survey asking how we want our 7.5 hours structured (start/end times) and I live in terror that people are going to choose 9-4:30, leaving no time for ANYTHING outside of school. Rahm, that is NOT what most parents want. Find ways to help fund parents who want their kids in school till 6 and let the rest of the kids out by 3:30!

  • 328. teachtolearn  |  March 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Parents: I realize what you are saying is primarily for the benefit of your children. I understand and respect that immensely. I just wanted to thank you for realizing that our job is difficult and supporting our cause.

  • 329. Skinmom  |  March 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    @Mich don’t forget that it’s about $$$. Making the school day longer w/ out paying teachers = free! Funding programs that students may or may not attend costs $$$. In addition, it would not keep students off the streets. I feel that if a child is far below grade level and/or struggling, the school should require tutoring. Hold parents accountable. Why are parents able to take money from the govt in order to provide for the family but skip out on parenting? It’s not the govts responsibility to raise children. It’s infuriating to parents (such as myself) that work very hard and put in the necessary time to raise well behaved children eager to learn. Why should my children be penalized? My children LOVE their after school programs ie. tennis, dance & piano. My son will no longer be able to attend his after school activities with this longer day. Where are our taxes going?

  • 330. Skippy  |  March 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Skinmom it’s obvious that both your children should be attending Latin. Perhaps with your youngest attending there already you will still be able to get your other child in for the coming school year.

  • 331. Alex  |  March 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Again people don’t look at the details. I’m a student in the academic center at Taft, and I understand why people want a 7.5 hour day, and I don’t oppose it because of the extra time in class, I oppose it because of the fact that it makes teachers work more with no pay increase. I recoginize that our school system is hopelessly broken with the tier system, but this is stupidity. Many teachers would stop doing their jobs as they do now, therefore simply passing along kids to send them to the next teacher. I used to be a Beaubien, and we had a terrible Latin teacher, many kids did good, but many didn’t. CPS needs to stop rating teacher efficiency on student success. There are some teachers whose classes are hard, and we might get C’s or D’s, but we are learning more from them than from the teachers who just pass along. Rahm Emanuel is also a hypocrite. He is trying to change our school system, but he sends his children to a private school that is the complete opposite of what he wants to do with CPS. Rahm looked good as a candidate, but after he got elected, he proved to be uneffective. Rahm, if longer school days are sooooo much better, why aren’t your kids in a school system like this? I would approve of a longer school day if we were actually learning more, but upon reading what would go into the longer school day, I believe that it is unnecessary. If the school day was to be extended, they should put all the time into classes. I also disagree with extending the day for kids in a selective enrollment school. Obviously, these kids are farther along, and therefore don’t need more school time, seeing how test scores at schools such as Decatur, Whitney Young, and Taft A.C. are much higher than other neighborhood schools. I support more education, but it is illogical to try and fix the broken system known as CPS, because every time a change is made, it ruins it again (Ex: tier system, extended days)

  • 332. d.taggart  |  March 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Yes, Alex, completely illogical to try to fix CPS. We should only elect public officials who promise not to try to fix CPS.

  • 333. Chris  |  March 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    “Rahm looked good as a candidate, but after he got elected, he proved to be uneffective.”

    Ineffective at what, exactly?

    “[Whitney Young doesn’t need a longer school day]”

    Many (most?) at WY would only need a ~15 minute longer day and an exemption for their colloquim day, which I’d bet you $10,000 of Romney’s money they will get.

    The issue is really with the elementary schools, not the HS’s, in any event.

  • 334. CPS Parent  |  March 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Verbatim from the Payton “Parents Pass the Word” newsletter, this is what the longer day will look like at Payton:

    Last week, the Payton Leadership Team submitted its proposed school schedule as required by new regulations. Under the new rules, CPS high schools must increase the amount of instructional time provided each week by adding new enrichment opportunities for students. Based on input from students, teachers, and parents, Principal Devine and the Leadership Team developed several alternative approaches to meeting the new requirements and assessed each against a list of priorities of the Payton community. They concluded that a full block schedule that retains a short seminar day was the most promising one for making the most effective use of student and faculty time within the constraints of the new rules.

    Under the proposed schedule, there will no longer be days on which students have eight short periods. Instead, classes will typically be 96 minutes long and meet every other day, with every ninth day a seminar day. Under this schedule, there will be three types of days: Block “A” Days, on which Periods 1, 2, 3, and 4 will meet; Block “B” days, for Periods 5, 6, 7, and 8; and Seminar Days. Dismissal on Block Days will be at 3:47 pm while Seminar Days will end at 12:28 for students. The nine day cycle of four A/B Block Days and one Seminar Day will occur for every nine school days – if, for example, Monday is a holiday and the previous Friday was a Block A Day, then Tuesday will be a Block B Day.

    Students will still take seven academic courses and will spend almost exactly the same amount of time in academic courses under the new schedule as they do currently. As a result, the Leadership Team does not anticipate any change in the amount of homework associated with academic courses. Under the A/B Block schedule, students will only have four classes to prepare for on any given school night.

    The new schedule creates 41 minute enrichment periods on Block Days that may be used for tutoring, clubs, and athletics. The details of enrichment period programming will be refined in the coming months.

  • 335. HSObsessed  |  March 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    The Pro Bono Thinking Society has weighed in on the issue. They recommend a compromise of a 7-hour school day for CPS schools, but if a school has 90% or more kids meeting/exceeding standards, then they have the option of choosing only 6.5 hours. Sounds good to me!


  • 336. Skinmom  |  March 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    @skippy your comment makes zero sense. I’m glad it’s “obvious” to you. Care to pay for my son to attend Latin?

    The Pro Bono Thinking Society is on the right track. A gifted school should be able to have the option of choosing. Unfortunately this was not an option and parents did not get to vote.

    There are VERY few CPS schools that have 90% of students meeting/exceeding standards. I would be interested in seeing the plan each school submitted. I read somewhere else that most schools are simply adding on a recess and longer lunch. I’m not sure how that will increase scores.

  • 337. cps alum  |  March 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    @336–I just went to a conference today where the keynote speaker, an expert on brain research, outlined the importance of movement in triggering the “long term memory” areas of the brain. Since the cerebellum is the part of the brain that is used when doing movement, and it is directly under the part of the brain that stores long term memory, movement will help with recall and retention of memory. He also named the molecule responsible for this, but I’d have to review my notes….

    He gave a very nice example– he said–Has this every happened to you? You sitting trying to figure something out or remember something but you can’t. You become so frustrated that you finally give up and decide to get up to get a glass or water. Then suddenly, just as you are walking away you suddenly remember. This is because your cerebellum was activated for you to walk, which also stimulates the long term memory centers.

    He also said that after 30 minutes of sitting blood will pool in the lower half of the body. You need to get up and move to bring that blood flow back to the brain. This is why attention span of students tends to be 30 minutes…. its all about blood flow. In my opinion the 45 minutes lunch recess planned in the longer day is GROSSLY INSUFFICIENT for children. in a 7.5 hour day, the kids need much more movement and down time to learn properly.

  • 338. Angie  |  March 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

    @337. cps alum: What does your keynote speaker thinks about the current 5 hour and 45 minutes school day with no recess at all?

  • 339. anonymous  |  March 3, 2012 at 11:51 am


    My kids go to a CPS school with a 6 hour day.

    They get a 45 min for lunch / recess every day.
    They get gym 2x a week.
    There is an optional after school program with various activities: chess, math club, basketball, volleyball etc.

    Great facilities and fantastic scores, btw.

    Go figure.

  • 340. anonymous  |  March 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm


    One issue:

    How is it that the Mayor thinks a 5 -year-old should go to school for the same length of time — 7.5 hours — as an 18-year-old ?

    Of course, he is famously protective of his children, and that 7.5 hour day is not an option his youngest children face.

  • 341. Interested parents  |  March 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Just a voice here commenting that I’m for the longer day. My CPS school’s administration is excited for the longer day. My child’s teacher is excited for more time to teach. My friends with kids at other schools support the longer day.

    Just because we don’t post all the time doesn’t mean we’re not out here. I think a lot of these posters are teachers who don’t want to work more hours.

  • 342. Skinner North Mom  |  March 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    @341, I was interested in your opinion until you threw in that last line. Then you lost me.

  • 343. cpsobsessed  |  March 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    #341, thanks for sharing. That’s great about the excitement. Can you let us know how the school plans to fill that time and whether extra adult bodies (hourly people, parent volunteers, etc) are needed?

    Also, can you prove that you are not actually someone from the mayor’s office? I sometimes think that when people say they support the longer day. 🙂

  • 344. anonymous  |  March 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Friday Mar 2nd


    The CPS Longer Day: Take Action!

    We presented nearly 1,000 signatures from our petition to the Chicago Board of Education at its monthly meeting in January. The petition was covered in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as on local TV and radio news programs.

    The opposition is gaining steam as more people learn about the realities behind the proposed longer day—including no additional funding. At the Chicago BOE meeting in February, Raise Your Hand presented a letter from 11 parent groups, including 6.5 to Thrive, which voiced our concerns and outlined the real issues that need to be addressed by the BOE in order to improve the achievement gap in CPS schools.

    The Mayor and CPS CEO Brizard have called the opposition to the longer day a “vocal minority.” Let’s show them that it’s more than that—and that they are out of touch politicians. Here’s what you can do.

    The next meeting of the Chicago BOE meeting is Weds., March 28. At the last few meetings, many spoke against the longer day, including parents from Skinner North, Mt. Greenwood, Drummond, Coonley and Bell. If you are able to come and speak it truly makes a difference. For the March meeting, it would be especially powerful for the Board to hear from:

    More parents from “Pioneer” schools
    Parents from the current 6.5 hour schools
    Parents (or students) from other schools and neighborhoods the Board hasn’t heard from yet

    Please consider coming to the meeting and telling the Board in person that you oppose the 7.5 hour day. If you want to speak, you need to arrive between 6 and 7 a.m. to ensure you get a speaker slot. We would be happy to assist in any way we can—just send us a message through our website.

    Show the Mayor and Mr. Brizard what a vocal minority sounds like. Take a few minutes to voice your concerns about the proposed longer day to:
    *CPS – 773-553-1000 or email fullday@cps.k12.il.us
    *The Mayor’s Office— 311 or email
    *Your state representative (Find your state representative and senator here)
    *Your alderman (Find your alderman here)
    *The Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun-Times by sending a letter to the editor

    *Post our petition on your social networks: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/sixpointfivetothrive
    *Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter
    *Check out like-minded groups online such as Raise Your Hand, Parents Against the CPS Longer School Day or Concerned Pioneer Parents for a Better School Day.
    *Attend a Longer Day Forum with CPS on March 8, at 7 p.m. at Morgan Park H.S., sponsored by Parents Against the CPS Longer School Day; you can also purchase a lawn sign or T-shirt from the same group

    Thank you for believing in quality over quantity. And thank you for helping prove that a grassroots movement, with no funding from special interests or billionaires, can make a difference for our children.

    Thank you for your support.

    Tracy Baldwin and Kate Brandt
    Co-founders, Six Point Five to Thrive

  • 345. anonymouseteacher  |  March 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I just sent an email stating my lack of support for a 7.5 hour day and support for a 6.5 hour day. Thanks for the reminder.

  • 346. Interested parents  |  March 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I just sent a note thanking CPS for finally giving our kids a full day, thanks for the contact info! Facebook friends all thanking CPS, too!

  • 347. anonymous  |  March 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    346 —

    Do you know how many teachers your school will have to replace with para-professonals?

  • 348. Angie  |  March 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    @342. Skinner North Mom: Imagine being paid a certain amount for working a certain number of hours. Then someone finds out that you actually work less for the same amount of money than people in your position in other cities, and wants to fix that. Wouldn’t you be just as upset, stage protests, collect signatures and otherwise fight to save your higher salary as these teachers? Wouldn’t you make up all sorts of reasons why this is going to be bad for the children? Wouldn’t you try to take over a popular school blog to recruit more supporters for the status quo? It’s understandable.

    @340. anonymous: “How is it that the Mayor thinks a 5 -year-old should go to school for the same length of time — 7.5 hours — as an 18-year-old ?”

    How is it that 3 and 4 year olds in tuition-based and private preschools are able to go to school for more than 7.5 hours? Perhaps the Mayor’s children went to one of such preschools, and he personally knows that it did not hurt them in any way?

  • 349. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    @328… Because they take a mandatory nap. At least our private, state certified preschool was mandated to have a two hour nap. My six year old came from her pioneer school other day very very grumpy. When I asked why she was acting so crabby, she began crying that the teachers don’t allow naps. Don’t u think that a kid should be a kid and not have to have a longer “work” day then an adult?

  • 350. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    @328 and mind you, I’m a sleep nazi parent. Rested kid=happy kid. No need to advice me to put her to bed earlier.

  • 351. Angie  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    @349. Also a pioneer parent: Is it typical for 6 year olds to require naps? It’s a honest question, because my kids refused to nap since they were 4, and never looked back. They go to bed at 7 or 7:30, and seem quite happy.

  • 352. anonymouseteacher  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    #348, I am curious, what benefits do you feel your own children will receive during the 7.5 day? How is your school saying it will staff recess time? Have they started posting job openings for all the enrichment classes that are supposed to happen? Snack time? Are they discussing built in break times with physical activity? I’d be interested to know all the nitty gritty details you are aware of that will make the 7.5 hour day a really good one. It is March. Those details need to be completely ironed out in the next 3 months. They are crucial to this thing working. I am sure as a supporter of the long day, you would be the first one to want to know those details.

  • 353. anonymouseteacher  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Also, @351, can you tell me, do your kids go to a neighborhood school where they can sleep until at least 7 a.m. or is someone in your family able to adjust their work schedule (assuming you work) to drive them to school? My kids go to a magnet and next year their bus will arrive at 6 a.m. to pick them up. This means even though they go to bed at 7 p.m., they’ll be fighting me tooth and nail when I wake them up at 5 a.m. to get ready for school. I am in a 2 teacher household with zero flexibility in terms of when we need to arrive at work and both of us will be leaving our house at 6 a.m. next year. We don’t have the luxury of driving them to school. And we can’t afford more in childcare costs.
    What is right for one kid might not be right for another. I am glad the 7.5 hour day works for your family, though.

  • 354. Angie  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    @352. anonymouseteacher: The schools my children attend already have longer lunch and recess and enrichment classes, so they must have figured it out how to do it. Also, because of that they will only be adding 1 hour to the day.

    One of the schools is thinking of adding more time to core subjects, the other is still discussing the options. I’ll let you know when their plans are finalized.

  • 355. Gery J. Chico: Longer public school day — done right — is essential  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    From the Sun Times –


    Updated: March 3, 2012 11:11AM

    This time last year, in the race for mayor, Rahm Emanuel and I were engaged in a spirited campaign and debate. There was one area where we were in lockstep then and where we remain in lockstep today: Our city must do more for our children.

    Chicago Public Schools have one of the shortest school days and years of any big city in America. Classes are too large. Graduation rates are too low. Too many who do graduate are not prepared for college or careers.

    This must concern all of us who love Chicago. Providing opportunity should be in our blood. Our families arrived in Chicago at different times and from different places, but they were united in their search for opportunity and a better life for their children. Our public schools helped make that possible.

    Mayor Emanuel’s decision to extend the school day aligns with many national and state education reforms that promise to make each school day more meaningful.

    During the past couple of years, the Illinois State Board of Education has raised standards for both educators and students, adopting the more rigorous internationally benchmarked Common Core Learning Standards in English language arts and math. Those standards, being implemented across the state, emphasize more active and engaged learning in the classroom. Students will be required to do more than they have in the past as these new standards emphasize not only mastering knowledge but applying and demonstrating that knowledge.

    A longer school day will allow teachers to get into greater depth as they bring the Common Core to life in math and language arts, but it will also allow school teams to develop meaningful instruction in other subjects, from science to art, foreign language, technology, physical education and more.

    The move to a full school day in Chicago comes at a time of dramatic change statewide in terms of supporting and challenging our educators. Illinois is overhauling teacher and principal preparation programs to attract and keep the best and the brightest candidates with tougher entry standards and more clearly defined benchmarks for each grade.

    Through landmark legislation, Illinois will begin making student growth a factor in teacher and principal evaluations in select schools next year until it becomes a statewide practice by 2016. Illinois’ collaborative work to make evaluations a part of employment decisions; our new longitudinal approach to tracking each student from preschool through college, and emerging science, technology, engineering and math programs are among reforms transforming our educational system. It is long overdue.

    Emanuel knows that it’s time to raise the bar — not only for students in Chicago, but for all students across the country. We have to ensure that students in Chicago and Illinois are not only ready to compete and collaborate with their peers in Massachusetts and California, but also their counterparts in Beijing, Helsinki, Sao Paulo and other locations across the globe.

    Whether we’re talking about Chicago, Peoria or Decatur, we see the demand for a new work force. Look at the companies that have said in the past few months they’re bringing new jobs to Chicago: Motorola, GE, Walgreens, United, Chase Bank and Allscripts, among others. They need people skilled in finance, e-commerce and information technology. They demand new skills for the new economy.

    To compete in that economy, our students need to be more than proficient in reading, writing and math. They need to excel in those subjects and all the other subjects that make for a well-rounded education. Ninety additional minutes is not the only answer, but it’s an important part of a larger effort to give our students what they need to succeed. I support the mayor’s and the Chicago Board of Education’s push for a longer school day and hope you will, too.

    Gery J. Chico is chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education.

  • 356. anonymouseteacher  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    #354, did you know final plans for the 7.5 hour day were due to central office already so your school has already finalized their plan? That’s why I asked.

  • 357. Angie  |  March 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    @353. anonymouseteacher: One is in a neighborhood school, the other gets on the bus at 7:05 AM. They usually get up before 6:AM on their own, and when they don’t, I wake them up without much fight. They eat breakfast at school, which saves some time in the morning, too.

  • 358. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    @341, 346 and 356. Plans had to be submitted, but they are not finalized as there has still been no vote on the longer day, and, of course, teacher contracts still need to be negotiated. Most on here that are against the longer day are not teachers looking out for their paychecks, but rather parents who have taken the time to really research the ramifications of this longer day. Currently theres is NO additional funding for this mandate and if implemented it will mean larger class sizes, fewer certified teachers in the classrooms and reliance on parent volunteers to ensure the safety and supervision of our children, not to mention recess and PE in the hallways and the loss of before and after school tutoring, clubs and athletics. To be on par with the national average of instructional minutes CPS needs to add 45 minutes to its current 5 hour and 45 minute day. If your children do not currently get recess it is not because there is not enough time in the day, but because the schools they attend are choosing not to use that time for a break. With a 6.5 hour day children could have 120 minutes of LA, 80 minutes of math, 40-60 minutes of science and social studies, 60 minutes of art, music, gym, and other enrichment programming as well as 45 minutes of lunch and recess, as directed in ths CPS guidelines. There is absolutely no research that shows that 7.5 is the magic number to improve test scores. And really, as parents, are we most concerend that our childrens standardized test scores improve each year that they have time to be children; to play, to learn and to grow into well rounded contributing members of society?

  • 359. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    @Angie, it is not typical for my 6 year old to require a nap. It was a one time situation since her school started the longer day in September. She was simply exhausted from being up at 6a.m and not getting home till 4 40pm. At all that time with the exception of a 25 minute recess, she is required to sit on a bus on her bottom, sit in the cafeteria on her bottom, sit in her class on her bottom, and sit on her way home on the bus some more. PE at her school is twice a week.
    Also, back to a preschool discussion, our preschool did not “mandate” our child to spend a certain amount of our there. It could be any amount of hours between 730a.m till 6pm. We were encouraged to have the kids there by 9a.m, so the instructional time could begin on time and would not be disturbed by late arrivals. I could pick her up any time after the nap, that was 3p.m.

  • 360. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I invite all the parents from the pioneer schools that are happy with the experience of the 7.5 hour day to share their success stories. We, the parents that have been sharing the not-so-successful stories have shared often and plenty. Please tell us if your child’s grades went up, and other benefits that are remarkable. So far all I have heard from those parents or parents that have no experience with the longer school day is how the longer day is GOOD and THEY like it. Why do you and your child like a 7.5 hour day?
    I will be off line for two days, and will be looking forward to powering my computer on Monday and reading.

  • 361. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Angie, are you the parent who mentioned that you have smaller children one in preschool & whose children have no out of school activities, and go to bed at 7-7.30.
    if so I wonder if your views will change once your children get a bit older or want to become involved with outside activities not offered by CPS.

  • 362. Angie  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    @361. justanotherchicagoparent: Yes, that’s me, and we do our out of school activities on weekends. We’ll see what happens when the kids are older.

  • 363. anonymouseteacher  |  March 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    @358 I see where you are coming from and just want to (respectfully) make sure you understand that upcoming contract negotiations will not change the length or structure of the school day. I believe those plans are a done deal for the most part. Unless CPS unilaterally decides to change it all, which they could, but I don’t believe that will have anything to do with a board vote or contracts.

    According to SB7, along with past forbidden topics of negotiations (class size), other topics that the union cannot bargain for are length of school day or year. The CTU may not negotiate this under any circumstance.

    The board may not have voted on this yet, but as we observed with the school closing issue, the board votes how Emmanuel wants them to vote. It does’t appear to matter how many people protest. I do think we should continue to protest, but in the end, I don’t think it will affect anything.

  • 364. anonymous  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:05 am

    355 — Gery Chico
    “During the past couple of years, the Illinois State Board of Education has raised standards for both educators and students, adopting the more rigorous internationally benchmarked Common Core Learning Standards in English language arts and math. Those standards, being implemented across the state, emphasize more active and engaged learning in the classroom.

    In developing the Common Core standards, researchers reviewed the standards of high-performing countries in order to develop a benchmark. They found that, by comparison, U.S standards tended to be “a mile wide and an inch deep;” in other words, American standards, curricula and textbooks emphasized breadth at the expense of depth in both Reading and Math.

    Consequently, the new CC standards have been designed to present *fewer* topics but in greater depth.

    Therefore new CC standards really shouldn’t require any more time for instruction. Teachers have been asked to go deeper but to cover less.

    As a matter of fact, 45 states have signed on to the CC standards. Yet ONLY Chicago is pushing the 7.5 hour day.

  • 365. anonymous  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:07 am

    “Currently there is NO additional funding for this mandate and if implemented it will mean larger class sizes, fewer certified teachers in the classrooms and reliance on parent volunteers to ensure the safety and supervision of our children, not to mention recess and PE in the hallways and the loss of before and after school tutoring, clubs and athletics. To be on par with the national average of instructional minutes CPS needs to add 45 minutes to its current 5 hour and 45 minute day. ”

    The lack of funding makes this a terrible decision for all our children.

  • 366. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 4, 2012 at 10:38 am

    @363, unfortuantely you are correct that SB7 negates the union’s ability to negotiate on length of day and year, however, Jennifer Cheatham, CPS chief iunstructioanl officer, said at a recent meeting that now the board would not be voting on the longer day and that it would be detrmined in negotiations with CTU. I don’t necessarily believe her information is accurate, however CTU can argue salaries for teachers and they should and can move to strike should their demands not be met. In any other field of work if you were given more responsibilities or asked to work more hours you would expect more pay. It is insane that teachers have been demonized for that same request. CPS teachers are well compensated and may even make more than their suburban counterparts, but to suggest that they are only concerned about their pay checks and not about the children they teach is ridiculous. They do not want a 7.5 hour school day because it will impact the time they have before and after school with their students. Time that has been critical to helping those students that need it most. Although recent history has shown us that the board will do whatever Rham tells them to do we need to move forward with the mentality that we can make an impact and not that this is already a done deal. I am not willing to be dictated to when it comes to my children, and I would hope that other parents would agree. An unfunded longer day is wrong and it will not work.

  • 367. Skinmom  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Wow! This convo has taken a huge turn! I thought (or hoped) we were mature adults discussing a topic with the ultimate goal of deciding what is best for our children.

    @Angie with all due respect, you seem to have “perfect” children who are able to wake up before 6am on their own, thrive in school, look forward to more hours in school and prefer doing after school activities on the weekends. When do you have “family” time?

    The bottom line is that there is NO data showing/proving this “longer day” is in the best interest of our children. The ONLY data they have are the voices from students, parents and teachers who are currently in a pioneer program. Unfortunately, they don’t care to hear our voices.
    The ONLY thing that would make sense to me would be to take a school that Rahm respects such as the LAB school, and use it as a model. Then, working with people from the LAB school, parents and teachers, develop a similar model/s that would be voted on by the parents, teachers etc. This would require time, money and collaboration. Next, try the model out using a handfull of schools. Continue to gather data, input from parents, students, teachers and administration.Then, come together to discuss the pros and cons, suggested tweaks etc. Lastly, go find a couple million dollars that will enable this model to be implemented. This would require additional teachers in order to create smaller class sizes, additional teachers to provide enrichment classes, money for resources and most likely money to build additional rooms. Yes, this could work and has been done in other cities. Rahm can figure out where to get the money, he seems to be good at finding money when he needs it. Maybe his brother will make a donation?

  • 368. Skinmom  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:49 am

    One last comment……I would like to take a poll of what school/s the CPS board members’ children currently attend and/or have attended. We know Rahm sends his children to the LAB school. What about other CPS officials? Didn’t Rahm promise to be completely transparent?

    As for data, looking at trends, there is one constant trend that has improved schools…..parent involvement. Blaine for example, went from your average CPS school to one that now excels. Why? Parent involvement. It has nothing to do with better teachers. The demographics in the area started to change and parents stepped up to the plate. This also goes for Burley, Prescott, Alcot, Oscar Meyer, Nettlehorst, South Loop School and others. If we demand change, we need to step up.

    I admit that I am fortunate to no longer have to work. This allows me to volunteer at school. However, my children’s education comes first. If I had to work at night or work two jobs, I would in order to ensure my child receives an excellent education. Our children are our future, not guinea pigs.

    As for the “new” common core strategies, CPS didn’t have enough money to provide training for all teachers in order to implement the CC. Yet, they want to hit a switch creating 1) a longer day along with 2) implementing these CC strategies?

  • 369. CPS Parent  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Skinmom if CPS follows all you good suggestions (except for using Lab as a model – its population is not representative of 99% of CPS schools) it will take years to to do anything. I elected Rahm to get stuff done NOW full well knowing the man has no patience and I will allow some hick-ups in execution in exchange for reforming CPS NOW. Who would have thought that we would be discussing whether or 6.5 or 7.5 hour day is better a day and a half ago? If 7.5 turns out to be too much reduce it later – that will be easy – no complaints from teachers, tier 4 parents etc. I would think.

  • 370. Gery J. Chico: Longer public school day — done right — is essential  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Skinmom, you did not have to say you are a sahm, people know that the main proponents of the non-full day are:
    1. Teachers
    2. Stay at home moms

    Thanks for confirming.

  • 371. Skinmom  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    @369 what does the LAB schools’ population have to do with the structure of a school day? Do our children not deserve enrichment classes throughout the day? Up to date technology? Small class sizes?

    “if 7.5 turns out to be too much reduce it later”- Really? Will competitive HS’s understand that Rahm made a mistake with making a longer day and in return ignore test scores and grades that were impacted that year?

    “easy”- I am not even going to address this comment.

    Haven’t you learned that there is no such thing as a “quick fix”? That only results in failure. I would rather take the necessary time to do things correctly vs a quick fix that will continue to need future quick fixes.

    BTW Rahms quick fix for reducing crime/murder has only led to a higher crime/murder rate compared to this time last year. Can we go back along with getting back the lives that were lost bc his quick fix failed?

  • 372. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    @ 370 Than the opposite end of that spectrum Is politicians who don’t have kids in CPS or parents needing daycare. Is this what we are to believe is the main proponents of the longest day?

    Tidbit: Rahm Emanuel was only voted into office with 325,000 votes smallest total vote for mayor.less than 25% of Chicago’s electoral vote.

  • 373. New-ish  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    “Tidbit: Rahm Emanuel was only voted into office with 325,000 votes smallest total vote for mayor.less than 25% of Chicago’s electoral vote.”

    I keep this in mind, always.

  • 374. New-ish  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I’m a supporter of an intelligently designed (and that does not mean designed by “god”) longer (but not too long) day that includes daily gym or other movement (like recess), the arts, and other non-core subjects.

  • 375. New-ish  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    BOE member Rod Sierra reports that his kids do or did attend CPS. I met him when we lived in the Southport & Addison neighborhood, so if he didn’t send them to that neighborhood school, then they probably attended one of the higher-scoring grade school (just guessing from what I know of him and his wife).

  • 376. PortageParent  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    New website with testimonials from those that have already implemented the longer day. Interesting reading.


  • 377. Angie  |  March 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    @367. Skinmom: I consider playing with my children and taking them to parks, museums and other activities together with my husband a “family” time. What is your definition? And also, being an early riser does not make a perfect child. They more than make up for it in other areas. 🙂

    “As for data, looking at trends, there is one constant trend that has improved schools…..parent involvement. Blaine for example, went from your average CPS school to one that now excels. Why? Parent involvement. It has nothing to do with better teachers. The demographics in the area started to change and parents stepped up to the plate.”

    So the teachers are completely off the hook when it comes to the academic performance, and improving the schools is actually the parents’ job? That is a very convenient position to take, because we know very well that parents at the worst schools are not going to miraculously change their ways and get involved in their kids’ education. That is nothing but an excuse for failing on the job.

    I’ve said this before, that our school system knows how to teach an “average” kid who is interested in learning and does not get into much trouble. But these traditional methods are obviously not working for the most disadvantaged kids, so someone needs to figure out, and soon, the different way of teaching that works for them.

  • 378. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    @ 370 – your comment would suggest that teachers and stay at home moms should not have opinions in the eduction of the children of our city or that those opinions do not matter based on the choices they have made. Further, you are absolutely way off base in this assumption, for those of us who oppose a 7.5 hour day have taken the time to research the subject and it is quite apparent that the improvement of education in CPS is the furthest thing from the minds of the politicians that are demanding it. 372 is absolutely correct in saying that we do not want or need daycare for our children. We had children so that we could raise them and by speaking out against a 7.5 hour day we are saying we have a right to make choices about how our children are educated. 377 also makes a very important point, that without parent involvement and without truly looking at why so many CPS schools are failing – ie high rates of truancy, violence, lack of basic supplies at schools and limited community resources – schools will continue to fail. Think of it this way. If you were baking a cake but didn’t add flour, eggs or sugar you couldn’t make the cake any better just by cooking it longer. Either way it would still taste like crap!

  • 379. Skinmom  |  March 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    @angie I asked when you had “family” time because you stated that your children used the weekends for enrichment vs during the week after school.

    I don’t feel it is the governments responsibility to raise our children. That being said, I don’t feel that parents should be let off the hook regardless of their economic status. Teaching manners is free.

    As for teachers, they are not magicians, miracle workers or robots. It is not their responsibility to raise other peoples children. If you take a teacher from the suburbs with an excellent track record and put him/her in a CPS classroom with 30 + students from disadvantaged homes, I am willing to bet that teacher lasts no more than an hour. Why do you think there is such a high teacher turnover rate in those schools?

    Do I feel it is asking too much for a parent to be held accountable for his/her child showing up to school? NO
    Do I feel it’s asking too much for a parent to have to pick up his/her child from school due to breaking a rule listed in the CPS code of conduct? NO , if the infraction calls for being suspended etc by all means request that a parent come to pick up his/her child.

    Schools are not intended to be free day care. No teacher should have to tolerate children cussing, fighting, or any other behavior that is disrespectful and disruptive to the learning process. I have heard horror stories from some of my sons’ teachers that have worked at schools where the students cuss, fight, threaten and act completely beligerant without a slap on the wrist.

    Smaller class sizes would provide a more manageable group of children. In addition to more resource teachers. I don’t know how we expect to fill a room up with 30 plus kids consisting of special needs, bilingual, gen ed, behavior problems on all different levels and ask a person to teach. Yet, CPS feels a longer day of this is the answer?

    I don’t mind my tax dollars going to those schools w the greatest need. But don’t punish schools that have succeeded. We can only push so hard before the bubble breaks. I want my children to have the chance to be children while they still can. They have the rest of their lives to be adults.

  • 380. Angie  |  March 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    379. Skinmom: Do you know of a way to force a parent to do all the things you just mentioned? And if you don’t, then we’re back to square one – figuring out how to teach the disadvantaged kids without the parent involvement.

  • 381. goingtogermany0693  |  March 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Score for the 19th ward parent. Nice analogy.

  • 382. cps alum  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    @Angie— you have a very condecending and sarcastic tone. It is not helpful to this discussion, doesn’t win anyone over to your side and only emphasizes your ignorance to the issue. Your child is not currently in a 7.5 hour day of school, but you belittle the experience of the pioneer parents who are living that reality now. What hubris!

  • 383. Hubris  |  March 5, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Yes Angie, how haughty of you to support policy that will most benefit your children since they will just be entering school. What arrogance to promote a full day to the benefit of others. How out of touch with reality could @382 be to think that you would want to win over the hysterics here who are creating websites, facebook pages and holding their meetings in an attempt to stir up the community. How arrogant that you speak up Angie when the rest of us content with the new full day really don’t need to.

    What hubris!

  • 384. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

    @ hubris, given that your comment just came in at 7:50am here in Chicago and yet your time stamp says 8:47am, it would seem you are not in this city and really have no basis to comment on the actions of those arguing for or against a longer school day. I hate to repeat myself, but continually feel compelled to, that without funding, of which there is none, the “full day” will not be to the beneift of anyone. Angie is also absolutely right to say that without parent and community involvement academic achievement will not miraculously improve! To have a better day, which is all anyone should be fighting for, schools need quality teachers, they need basic supplies, they need engaging curriculum and they need resources – books, computers, libraries, tutors, psychologists, mentors, clubs and athletics – all of which require money. CPS has NO MONEY! Ultimately, there is no need label someone as arrogant or hysteric when it comes to this debate. ALL parents should be fighting on behalf our children for a school day and year that does not compromise quality for quantity.

  • 385. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:02 am

    and it would seem, hubris, I need to take back the initial comment I made as the the time stamp appears to be off, but the rest of my comment stands.

  • 386. anonymous  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Without funding for the 7.5 hour day, there will be teacher lay-offs. Larger classes and split classes can’t possiblly improve the quality of education for any of our children.

    Many feel that CPS’ one-size-fits-all approach to the 7.5 hour day is too little for school communities with great needs, and too much for other school communities.

    Many want a voice in how the problem is analyzed, and how the solutions are formulated and funded.

    CPS should be listening to parents because top-down mandates always fail. Just look at D.C., Feinty, Rhee and the testing scandal that erupted.

  • 387. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I think I’ve asked this before but can’t remember the answer. Why would a longer day lead to teacher layoffs?

    Please guys, stick to debating the issue if you can. There is plenty there to debate for eternity without attacking each other.

    I’m still traumatized from last week.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 388. anonymous  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:48 am

    CPS is mandating that teachers have a 45 min duty-free lunch and a 60 min duty-free teacher prep during the day . In the prep, the teachers must all meet together at the same time.

    There is no way to do that and have the students properly supervised at the same time. So principals that have used discretionary funds to bring down class sizes will have to fire teachers, create split classes, and hire aides to supervise the kids.

    this si true at Mt. Greenwood school, where they would lose 4 teachers, one of whom is the music teacher, the one enrichment class the school has.

    It is true at Clissold school, where they will lose a much-loved Montessori program and an I.B. middle school program.

    When you read over what some Pioneer School parents have said here — they talk about how they make the 7.5 hour schedule work now without teacher lay-offs — it is by using parent volunteers for recess, library and other activities.

    And they talk about how tired everyone is, and how that is not likely to be sustainable over the long term, and how lay-offs of teachers are likely.

  • 389. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

    @cpsobsessed, without additional funding, many schools will be faced with the need to provide supervision for children during non-classroom time such as lunch and recess as well as adding additional prep teachers to cover 60 minute teacher prep periods during the school day (currently prep tme is taken beofre and after school). In order to pay for this staff monies that are currently spent on additional classroom teachers that help reduce class sizes will need to be diverted.

  • 390. Skinmom  |  March 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I feel it is crucial to come up with alternative plans/ideas. Parents with children at pioneer schools can scream, kick and yell all they want but no one cares. There are changes that can be made before jumping to a 7.5 hour day. For example, not all children arrive at first grade with the same amount of schooling. Some children attend two years of pre school, some attend one year and others attend zero. Thus, come Kindergarten, there is a room full of 30+ children all on different levels. Not all schools offer full day kindergarten due to the over abundance of students, lack of funding for teachers and lack of space. Again, creating additional gaps so that the time these children reach first grade, they are on all different levels.

    Another problem is schools allowing and enrolling students who don’t live in the boundaries. Parents use a friend or relatives address in order to attend a more preferable school. This results in overcrowded classrooms. Then add in teachers who have children attending the school that they work at due to the convenience and opportunity to attend a better school.

    Principals are obviously to blame for many of these issues, ALL of which cost $$$. If someone higher up took the time to weed out some of these issues, putting pressure on principals, I feel it would be a good starting point. Ensuring that students are on grade level before moving them forward is also important. Not using a blanket reading program would help. Every school is unique with different needs. Schools with the lowest scores should adopt a phonemic awareness program vs utilize a reading series that the publisher claims has phonemic awareness built into the program. My son doesn’t currently use a reading series. Last year he did have one but the teacher chose not to use it because it was too easy for the children. POINT: look at how much money is wasted on materials that are not utilized. If schools were able to make decisions based on the population, I feel scores and grades would go up and money would not be tossed out the window. Why aren’t we trying the above methods BEFORE jumping to another blanket decision of making the day longer? Personally I feel CPS is too large and should be broken down into districts that would be easier to manage. This would put an end to a lot of corruption and blanket policies.

    Lastly, it was brought to my attention that the lady who use to be head of area 2 (schools on the North Side) embezzled money from CPS. She made deals with publishing companies, purchased a place in Hawaii, filled her walls with art….all with CPS $$$. She allegedly got caught this past summer when a colleague turned her in but she quit before CPS could fire her. Now, when I heard this from a “reliable” source, my stomach turned. Why are these stories tucked under the rug by CPS? If she was able to get away with that until a colleague eventually turned on her, imagine how many others are doing the same. This is money that should have gone to schools!! POINT: CPS plays a role in WHY there is zero money! The end result, kids and schools suffer.

    Getting back on track, there are many steps that should be considered before placing a blanket policy on over 300 schools. We have no data and most importantly, no money. Thank goodness for parent volunteers but that is not the norm. The end result will be further failure and CharterSchools bc that is Rahms goal. Teachers will be forced to do recess duty vs getting a prep or longer lunch bc schools won’t have a choice w zero funding. Parents please wake up. I really want to hear from parents at pioneer schools where they don’t have parent volunteers. There won’t be that $100,000 incentive next year.

  • 391. anonymouseteacher  |  March 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

    @388, I think it is possible you may be mistaken about how the 60 minute per day prep time will be used. ONE prep time per week will be used at the principal’s discretion for team meetings, RTI meetings, etc. All of the other four, as well as the 45 minute lunch, must be (or are in process of being negotiated as a “must”) duty free and for the teacher’s own personal prep time.
    But I do agree that the problem of not having enough staff comes in and could mean schools have to do more with less which could mean class sizes will rise. It is a big concern.

    I am not very worried about too many layoffs. Such large numbers are retiring, going to other districts or leaving teaching. So, I think much of the reduction in staff will be due to attrition and CPS simply not hiring for those positions. They’ll just close them. If feel really sorry for all the young grads I know who were hoping that there’d be a ton of openings this fall so they could get jobs. It doesn’t look like CPS will be filling those vacancies. I have no inside knowledge that this is how they will balance the budget, but based on what I have seen other districts do and based on my understanding of CPS the past decade or so, I think this is the plan. Assuming they even have a plan yet at all.

  • 392. Jen Biggs  |  March 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Hi all! The majority of our parents at Mark Sheridan Math and Science Academy believe our school day should be longer. HOWEVER, in a recent survey, 73.4% of our parents believe 6.5 hours is a much better option than 7.5 hours.

    Some of our concerns are the same ones you have: lack of funding; potential loss of a teacher to fund this; potential loss of a critical Kindergarten aide so she can supervise lunch or recess instead; loss of tutoring and computer lab time in the morning; exhaustion of our kids; more homework on top of more time at school; and loss of after school programs. I could go on and on…

  • 393. Skinmom  |  March 5, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Interesting! CPS is broke but Rahm manages to find 1.2 million dollars in private funding to hire teachers out of state w a sign on bonus. SO he fires teachers & admin while creating these turn around schools to then look out of state for replacements and adds a nice $25,000 sign on bonus??? This is outrageous! Who is to say these “new” candidates are “high performing”? What data is he using? Blizzard had a great track record according to the mayor and look how he turned out. These schools won’t have LSCs to vote on whether or not they feel the principal is a good fit. Again, Rahm managed to find money when he needed it. More proof that our voices will not be heard. Time to move!

    “Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hoping $25,000 signing bonuses will lure new top-shelf principals to Chicago to run as many as 50 low-scoring schools.

    A news release from the Mayor’s Office later added that CPS is doing a “nationwide search’’ for principals and will even pay a $5,000 finder’s fee to current CPS leaders who recruit high-performing principals to low-performing schools.

    The effort, which could total $1.25 million in signing bonuses alone, will be privately funded, the news release added.”

  • 394. Skinmom  |  March 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    @Jen your school is a magnet school with a ton of parent support. There is fabulous committee (MSPC/SMSA) to raise funding in order to enhance and increase the  technology at MSA. These are all amazing efforts but not the typical CPS school. I’m in the same boat and thus would love to hear from parents who have children at more “typical” CPS schools. The group of pioneer schools seem to all have descent scores, parent involvement, be a magnet school or specialty school except Nash School. Nash was slated to be closed down until low and behold they became a pioneer school. The school was in a documentary on PBS as one of the worst schools in CPS. SO I would love to see their ISAT scores this year since there really isn’t any data to utilize. I do know that teachers there were threatened to vote for a longer day by the principal bc they were new teachers and risked being let go. Yes, this came from a teacher who left there due to the horrific working conditions, constant threats from the principal and daily abuse from students.

  • 395. Crawley  |  March 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Interesting perspective on Nash, Skinmom. My wife contacted the office at Nash trying to get contact info on fellow pioneer parents. After being passed around a few times she was connected with the principal who berated her for 10 minutes…telling her “100% of her families loved the longer day and to stop causing trouble”.

  • 396. Skinmom  |  March 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    @395 if you look in the Elementary School Directory, students exceeding state standards at Nash went from 1% to 2% to 0%. Students “meeting” state standards is 40%. Schools slated to be turned around have higher percentages in these categories than Nash. Thus, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the principal because she obviously has friends in higher places. I was told that there is zero parent involvement there. The principal runs the school like a dictator, keeps the press away, focuses on damage control, scares and threatens teachers to maintain silence. Your wifes experience is par for the course. I don’t think you will find a parent from Nash unless you physically seek one out. Sad because they should be heard.

    With scores that low, a 7.5 hour day won’t even bring them on an even playing field with the schools slated for turn around. This is the school we should be focusing on. What are the results of the 7.5 hour day? How much did students improve? Test scores?

  • 397. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    So here I’m back and not finding A SINGLE pioneer parent that shared a positive experience with the 7.5 hour day. Thank you. There much to share, except that you possibly have reduced costs of after or before school care and that it works better for your work schedule?

  • 398. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    That was supposed to be…. Is there not much to share?

  • 399. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    @370 I’m a part time working parent. I made that decision when I had the first one of my kids. I had kids to raise them and to be with them lots at home when they are young. Not to deposite them in a childcare at 3 months old and see them for few hours each day. I took a paycut. I work crazy and irregular hours. But investing time, care and love into my kids in price less to me.

  • 400. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    @hubris… Please do speak up about the possitive impact on your children. It is a very valuable side of the story we want to hear. again… Happy pioneer parents…any success stories to share? I am one big ear!!!! It is about the kids right? Not about convenience to our adult schedules?

  • 401. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    How many of the pioneer schools would have elected the 7.5 hour day without the 150 or 75K incentive?

  • 402. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    @hubris… have you seen any name calling from the unhappy pioneer parents? I for one don’t see that caring for my kids physical well being is hysteria. My kid is already in a school that academically beats any other CPS school, at least according to the CPS website.

    Is is beneficial and necessary for my kids to be away from the home for 9.5 hours and being stress about fitting meals and homework load in before an early bed time? No. Because my kids are safe and happy at home with caring parents or an occasional sitter, or at after school activities.
    Will kids from very dysfunctional families benefit from being away from their very bad home situation for longer hours? According to studies yes. Will they magically soar up academically and improve their behavior? Not sure.
    But it is wrong to expect teachers to also be social workers. When I went to school, teachers were responsible for presenting the material and I was responsible for paying attention and remembering it. Teachers were not responsible for my test results. It did not reflect upon their work. It reflected upon my studying habits and upon my support system at home. If I did not do well on a subject, my parents had to get someone good at that subject to help me. They could not do it themselves, as my mom was from a foreign country and my dad had only elementary education.
    As someone on this board once pointed out, the sad condition of the CPS system is not a result of poor teaching, it is a POVERTY problem. Thousands of parents in this city are not able or do not want to take responsibility for their children. Let alone their studying habits.

  • 403. Gery J. Chico: Longer public school day — done right — is essential  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    @Also a Pioneer Parent – are you also a teacher with so much free time to post today on a day off?

  • 404. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Stop commenting on each other!! I don’t have time to police it today. Please!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 405. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    @403 nope, as I responded to you before, I’m a part time working parent with crazy and irregular hours. Mainly afternoons, evenings and weekends. Can’t be a teacher, right?

    As much as I wish the best for the teachers, my fight here is purely for my kids well being. I am my kids advocate, since they can’t fight for themselves yet. Teachers are gown ups and their own advocates with the support of their professional organization/s.

    I just noted how the teacher profession was respected back then, when I was a kid. But I also grew up in a 99.99% homogenous society with everyone on a somewhat similar economical level. People back then were more respectful and did not shift their responsibilities to others.

    And yes, I’m all for a longer day done right. I responded to numerous surveys that I’m all for a 6.5 hour day.
    Sorry CPSO, that was my last comment today. Forgive me.

  • 406. Crawley  |  March 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Mr. Chico,

    How disappointing that a member of the Illinois State Board of Ed would talk so condescendingly to parents who are involuntarily going through CPS’s “pioneer program”. I assure you our voices are being stifled unless we support the 7.5 hour unfunded day.

  • 407. Hubris (agree with longer day)  |  March 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    @400 – finding the quote would be too tough right now but to paraphrase another parent – “I’m surprised by the negative comments here. You would think that people would not look a gift horse in the mouth. Too bad the vocal few try to ruin it for everybody”.

    Your opinion is greatly appreciated. Most of those in favor of the long day, positively supporting the future educational plans made for our kids have already left this thread to escape the repetitious negativity from discontent teachers and parents that want “more family time” instead of schooling. I suggest you do the same and let them discuss amongst themselves.

  • 408. Skinner North Mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m not trying to mischaracterize anyone in this simplification, but it seems to me that the opposing arguments can be summed up thusly:

    Those who oppose the longer day: We oppose the longer day for many reasons, including reduced family time, data that disagrees with the CPS rationale, and testimonials from families who have been doing this all school year. We would like to have a real discussion about this, instead of being continually ignored by CPS et al.

    Those who support the longer day: The longer day is better. Longer = better. If you don’t want a longer day, you are clearly a selfish SAHM or lazy teacher.

    Oppose: But look here at our data. Please have a real conversation with us.

    Support: Longer = better. Obviously. It is self-evident. What more is there to discuss?

    Supports of the longer day, bring your data. Bring your testimonials. Stop dismissing us and engage in a real discussion of the facts. Like @400, I would LOVE to see testimonials from pioneer school parents who support the longer day, and I’d like to hear their reasoning for why it’s good, not only for their only family, but as a one-size-fits-all solution for EVERY Chicago family. But supporters from the pioneers schools seem to be scarce. Maybe there’s a reason for that.

  • 409. cps alum  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    You summed it up exactly Skinner North Mom….

  • 410. PortageParent  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Amen, 408 Skinner North Mom!

  • 411. cps alum  |  March 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    And just to be clear… I think that most CPS parents want a longer day than 5.75 hours… they just don’t want 7.5 hours.

    I wish that the pro-7.5s would stop their sarcastic remarks about how the anti-7.5s want 5.75 hours with no recess and 20 minutes for lunch. WE DON’T.

    Also, there is also a difference between school and daycare. Just because a children can thrive in full day daycare doesn’t mean that a 7.5 school day is appropriate. Daycare has rest time, play time, exercise time, meals, snacks, free play, group play. In other words there is a lot of movement and transitions between tasks. Plus there is no homework.

    I’m a working mom, and although the longer day would be more convenient for me, I just do not think it is appropriate for young children in the way it has been outlined by CPS. 45 minutes of lunch/recess is just not enough in a day that long.

  • 412. cps alum  |  March 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Oh.. and I also wish our Mayor and his appointees would learn a little math…. 7.5hrs – 5.75hrs = 1.75 hrs That is 105 minutes. I think it is very disingenuous of them to continuously say they are extending the day 90 minutes when that is not the reality for the majority of schools.

  • 413. k mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    I have a child in K in a school with a long day. Since it is K I can not compare this year to previous years to say whether his grades went up or down or if he is more cranky than before.
    However my observations are: he is happy at school, they don’t seem rushed during classes, they get many breaks, they move around the classroom a lot, and since our commute is not bad there is enough family time and he gets enough sleep at home. Basically, I am happy with the 7.5 hour day.
    But I understand parents who would rather swap an hour from that schedule for something they value more: violin lessons, game nights, or simply more rest time for their children.
    Why can’t each school implement a policy which allows students who excel in certain subjects leave earlier?

    This can work even with accounting for Bussing, which has to be at a certain time.

    Here is simple schedule: 30 kids in class, on Monday and Wed the last hour of the day is Math, a bit remedial, for the bottom 50% of the class. Families of the top 15 kids are given an option of:
    1.Pick up their kids early.
    2. Have kids go the Library where they can start on homework.
    3. Sign up for a enrichment class, fee based, from the local afterschool scheduling.
    4. Stay in class

    The benefit of the teacher working with a small group is huge, especially for the kids who can use some help in that very subject.

    ‘Strong’ kids who take the bus will have the benefit of some homework done plus
    Since you have a correlation between the strength of the afterschool program with the overall student body performance

  • 414. k mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Fat fingers, pressed post too early.


    The optional hour could be used so much to the school advantage, with stronger schools using it in a different way than average or weaker schools.

    And for weaker schools the hour will definitely be a great idea.

  • 415. anonymouseteacher  |  March 6, 2012 at 7:49 am

    @413, some of your ideas about dismissing would not work, but, I have to say, that is the most creative and interesting thing I have heard yet. A school could not send 400/800 kids to the library to work on homework or even 100. Plus, the librarian is likely to be teaching a class in the library at that time. And the above would not work with K-2 kids since they need so much attention.
    However, I think it would be interesting to brainstorm creative ways like what you suggested above. Personally, I would like to see flex time for auxillary teachers where some come in early (and leave early) and some come in late (and stay late). That would allow for personnel to work with kids who need more time without taking a toll on everyone.
    I really appreciate your post and I am glad the extended day is working for you and your children.

  • 416. Future Lane Parent  |  March 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I apologize in advance, because I think this has been previously mentioned. “Obssessors”, do you know what Lane is planning to do with their schedule for the longer school day?

  • 417. Skinmom  |  March 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

    It would be greatly appreciated if parents from Pioneer schools would mention the school their children attend. There are some parents who are gathering other parents at pioneer schools to discuss everyone’s experiences. The only schools that we don’t have parents from (as far as I know) is Nash and one other that I can’t recall without my notes but will post it later.

    Thank you Skinner Mom for making things clear. It’s difficult to to put aside the emotion:)

  • 418. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 6, 2012 at 9:31 am

    @416 If I remember the comment correctly and if approved by CPS they are adding an extra period. One day this period would be ACT test prep/college other 4 days would be clubs.

    Ahh @413 creativity I like it..Unfortunately the longer you are around public schools in general the more you begin to realize that creativity is the last item on their list.It baffles me to, as America is a land of innovators well at least we were.I do think smaller tutoring sessions will be hurt with the 105 minute longer day and after volunteering for several years in elementary classrooms it would be a shame.Some students just shut down when in front of their peers and do not seek assistance in front of large groups.CPS has said that the students who seek it most do not take up the tutoring, but most of the better schools make this mandatory if they see students either struggling,are receiving a D or sometimes just if they don’t turn in their homework.There is a difference between 35 students in a remedial class during the day and 10 students with one teacher after school.

  • 419. mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 9:56 am

    416 – I don’t believe Lane has officially announced their plans for the longer day, but things have leaked out in terms of some ideas. I heard they were considering adding one extra period that would be in 5 week segments. Each 5 weeks could be used for clubs, sports practice, other enrichment type class options and for Juniors, at least one 5 week session would be for an ACT prep class. I believe they are waiting for approval before announcing their specific plans.

    By the way, in case anyone is lurking and still wondering about Lane, we love it! It has great class options, some really great teachers and the nicest kids we have ever met. Your child will love it no matter what type of person they are. There really is a place for everyone at Lane. Congratulations!

  • 420. Dave4118  |  March 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Hi all,
    I am a parent at Skinner North and we have started a website as a sort of forum(at least that’s what we are hoping it becomes). Here is the link http://www.concernedpioneerparents.com/ it has come into existence because the CPS administration is clearly steamrolling this despite any and all doubts, concerns and objections. Thanks.

  • 421. Chris  |  March 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    “•340. anonymous | March 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm


    One issue:”

    Seems he’s been pretty effective at that.

    Care to try again to:

    ““Rahm looked good as a candidate, but after he got elected, he proved to be uneffective.”

    Ineffective at what, exactly? ”


  • 422. Chris  |  March 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    “Also, can you prove that you are not actually someone from the mayor’s office? I sometimes think that when people say they support the longer day. ”

    CPSO: That goes both ways–Shouldn’t the anti-longer dayers have to “prove” they aren’t CTU members, or hired guns? Why do you (apparently) automatically believe them, but not pre-longer dayers?

  • 423. Chris  |  March 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    “Don’t u think that a kid should be a kid and not have to have a longer “work” day then an adult?”

    Who has a sub-7.5 hour work day? That’s called “part time” isn’t it? Commute time doesn’t count, unless it also counts for the adults’ work day.

  • 424. cpsobsessed  |  March 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Chris, it was a joke. Because the anti-long dayers ARE always being accused of being Karen Lewis’ henchmen trolling around online.
    I must need some new material…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 425. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    @Chris and @Hubris, noone on this thread should have to prove who they are or are not, nor should they need to defend themselves from personal attacks based on their opinions. Posters who are against a 7.5 hour day have made some very valid arguements for their opposition. Posters who are in favor of the 7.5 hour day have resorted to name calling and have pledged their unwavering support for this mandate with absolutely no basis. I’ve seen only one parent in support of the longer day even mention she has a child in CPS schools. Many have asked for parents at pioneer schools who favor the longer day to tell us why, but there have been few responses and even those replies have suggested they can see both sides of the argument.

    In response to your questions, I would ask you to define Emanuel’s effectiveness. Has he accomplished things? Yes. Have they been to the benefit of the majority of the general population of Chicago, or have they primarily added to the hefty purses of his political supporters?

    Should a child as young as 6 be forced to be away from home for more than 8 hours each day (and yes, that includes commuting time)? Is it developmentally appropriate to expect our youngest children to sit in a classroom for more than 6 hours each day and actually benefit without a complete evaluation of current teaching methods and curricula and without funding to implement engaging and appropriate enrichment programs?

    Instead of mocking those of us that have expressed concerns, please share any information you have that would help us understand what we are missing about the benefits of an unfunded longer day. Most parents have stated that additional classroom instruction would be welcomed, but to keep our children in school beyond another 45 minutes at the expense of art classes, music lessons, athletics, and academic clubs and tutoring does not seem logical. So, again, I implore you to enlighten the hysterics on this blog so that we might be better informed.

  • 426. k mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    To anonymouseteacher and justanotherchicagoparent:

    I agree that as a K parent I may possess certain unjustified optimism that has not been squashed by the cps system yet. Touche.

    However, I would like to note that most of the parents legitimately disappointed with the longer day seem to come from those schools where creative solutions seem more possible due to high parental involvement and receptive administration, like Coonley, Bell, Skinner North.

    There is also a high correlation between the academic success of the school and the availability of its afterschool programs and the ability and desire of the parents to pay for extra-curriculum activities.

    For the low-performing schools, the longer-day concerns will probably not be an issue (I have no data on this, this is just my assumption) as parents are not, statistically speaking, very involved in planning afterschool activities. So (with my grand plan) you won’t have hundreds of children sitting in the library as they will be in their classroom anyway. Basically the ‘remedial cutoff’ will be at almost 100%.

    For the high-performing schools, students will also not going to be sent to the library in hundreds, as their parents, statistically speaking, will send them to afterschool activities or pick them up earlier.

    My child is in Skinner North, btw.

  • 427. mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I know those of you against a longer day state it as a given that we will have this longer day “at the expense of art classes, music lessons, athletics and academic clubs and tutoring.” I have never seen this stated as a fact by CPS or principals of schools. You also speak of “unfunded longer day” and I totally see why you word it this way, but again, we don’t have all the facts in front of us yet.
    If school is from 8am to 3:30 pm, there is still time for after school clubs, classes and tutoring. For some schools, they plan to include some of those options DURING the longer school day so some kids that currently have to go home on the bus and can’t participate in those things can now participate. Isn’t that a good thing?

  • 428. mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Oh, and I have 2 kids in CPS. I don’t work for Rahm (or anyone at CPS). I don’t even know him.

  • 429. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    @ mom. CPS has in fact stated there is no additional funding for the longer school day, and without additional funds the programs you listed above can not be implemented DURING the longer school day or after school. It all sounds great on paper, and if CPS had money to offer a wide variety of elective classes at every elementary, middle and high school, that would be fantastic, but they have reapeatedly stated there is no money and they will be looking within their current budget to drive more dollars to the classroom to increase instructional time. In fact when principals have requested budget information they have been denied details and are being told to make plans for a longer day regardless of budget. That’s like being told to plan your dream vacation and then after all plans are set in place you’re told you only have enough money to pay your current bills at home! So yes, more enrichemnt programming would be a good thing, but if it is so importatnt to CPS why do they continually evade questions of funding such programs? Wouldn’t it be a good thing to have the money before making promises to more than 400,000 students in over 600 schools?

  • 430. CPS Parent  |  March 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    @429 The reason CPS can’t discuss budget yet is because negotiations with the CTU are not done. Teacher’s salaries are approximately one third of the total CPS budget – 2 billion dollars a year is for teachers alone, all salaries total is about 3.4 billion. A one percent savings or increase if spread across all schools would be about $70,000 per school. One percent equals approximately one teacher/staffer.

    Without a contract in place school budgets cannot be set. I hope both sides are negotiating in good faith and will come to terms SOON so that principals can start planning for their schools.

  • 431. Skinmom  |  March 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    19th ward parent is correct. Every school was required to submit a plan on how they plan to implement the longer day using ZERO additional funding. Schools that once did have after school programs are not sure what that will look like because most of the CPS free after school programs are provided by outside groups.

    Using specialty teachers ie. art, library etc to supervise won’t work because they have classes. Thus, schools are faced with LOSING enrichment in order to fund the longer lunch and recess. I assume what will ultimately happen, is that schools will vote whether they want to lose an enrichment class or have teachers watch their students during lunch/recess. The above was mentioned to another parent by a teacher who works at a school in Rogers Park.

  • 432. anonymouseteacher  |  March 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    @426 and others,
    I am concerned that after school programming is pretty much over. I know that all but 2 of the teachers at my school that currently work after school, when surveyed, said they will not be available to work that program anymore since the day will be longer. I suppose we could be an anomaly, but I can’t imagine most staff will be willing to be “on” for 7.5 hours, bring work home too, and also teach an extra 1-2 hours after school. This is not a complaint about number of hours of work, it is just a practical thing. I believe my school is working on getting a kind of a “daycare/aftercare” program with additional tuition based classes, all staffed by outside vendors. Which, could be just fine. It’ll just be different and will be at market rates instead of free. And reality is, most of those after school programs lost their grant money this year (the funding got cut by about 70%) so they may not have made it next year anyway.

  • 433. anonymouseteacher  |  March 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    @431, that’s interesting. I am going to ask someone I know higher up in the CTU about the whole voting to lose an enrichment teacher. Working at Starbucks is starting to look good.

  • 434. Skinner North Mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Here’s a hypothetical question for supporters and opponents alike (if you’ll indulge me, CPSO):

    If funding were available for either a fully funded 7.5-hour school day OR smaller classroom sizes of no more than 20 students, but not both, which would you choose?

  • 435. cpsobsessed  |  March 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Smaller classes for sure.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 436. anonymouseteacher  |  March 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Smaller class sizes. I’d even have no issue with doing recess duty if I only had 20 kids (as long as there was prep time daily). 20 kids is immensely easier than nearly 30 (which I have now). I could differentiate better, it’d be quieter, less stressful. If I only have to buy supplies for 20 kids, that’d save me a considerable amount of $$ too. But, If by unfunded you mean no prep time or less prep time, then I’d say neither was acceptable.

  • 437. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Smaller class size

  • 438. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Also a smaller class size. Some schools in our area have more than 40 kids in a classroom right now….

  • 439. Common Sense  |  March 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Smaller class room sizes. If real education reform is what our leaders want they would be pushing for this too.

  • 440. Common Sense  |  March 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Quality will get you so much more than quanitity!

  • 441. anonymous  |  March 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    433 —

    Could you post here what you find out?
    Could you tell us about the 70% funding cuts for the after school programs? Were those Title 1 funds or something else?

  • 442. mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I am a full day supporter, but given those two choices, I’d pick smaller class size, too.

  • 443. Sue  |  March 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    If the School day is extended to 7.5 hours, my 6 year old, who now gets on a bus at 6:30 am and returns at 3pm….will have to get on a bus between 6-6:30am and return between 4:30-5pm. Seriously?!?That is torture! It is like giving a 6 year old a full- time job. Looks like there will be NO time to be a 6 year old. School, sleep, school,sleep. Nice life! Thank you Rahm!

  • 444. anonymouseteacher  |  March 7, 2012 at 12:07 am

    @441, the big grant that funded most of CPS’s after school programs was, I believe, a private grant, definitely not title 1. There used to be a few hundred schools that got that grant and now there are only around a hundred. Our school was shocked we were one of the small number of schools getting the grant, especially because our low income numbers aren’t extreme.
    I will let you know what I find out from my union friend. It’ll take a few days though.

  • 445. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:17 am

    “Posters who are against a 7.5 hour day have made some very valid arguements for their opposition. Posters who are in favor of the 7.5 hour day have resorted to name calling and have pledged their unwavering support for this mandate with absolutely no basis. I’ve seen only one parent in support of the longer day even mention she has a child in CPS schools.”

    Big time confirmation bias. Virtually everyone saying positive things about longer day has asserted that they have kids in CPS. And I dont think even one of them has posted as “anonymous” unlike somewhere between one and one hundred anti-longer day folks.

    In direct opposition to your assertion, I don’t think that the arguments mde here against the longer day are “very valid” on a system wide basis. They are “very valid” to the personal situation of those making them. And they frequently include baseless attacks on longer day supporters for being puppets of Rahm or central office or corporate interests or, or, or. Just as you did is that post claiming that anti-longer day people are the ones being personally attacked.

  • 446. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:19 am

    CPSO: “Chris, it was a joke.”

    Oops. Good thing today wasn’t ISAT (IL Sarcasm Aptitude Test) day for me. I’d be stuck going to a very earnest school.

  • 447. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 6:05 am

    445 —

    (sarcasm) What part of “no funding” don’t you understand?

  • 448. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 7, 2012 at 7:28 am

    @Chris, you still made no argument for the longer day. People who are against a 7.5 hour day have cited funding, the possibility of larger class sizes, safety concerns for young children getting off buses after dark, the loss of free, quality after school programs, and a lack of research that shows actual benefits to having our children in school for 7.5 hours every day, particulalrly when they attend schools that are already high performing. The fear is kids will become stagnant and bored, or tired and overwhelmed, and test scores may actually go down and not up. To respond to your claim that the arguments don’t apply system wide, how is a school that is currently failing expected to perform better with the same limited resources simply by keeping kids in that school longer? Further, I think most who are against a 7.5 hour day have stated htey would support an additonal 45 minutes of instructioanl time added to the day and that a top-down, one-size fits all mandate can not work for such a large, diverse school district. We don’t think there is something that will work system-wide. We want an evaluation of the needs of each individual school in CPS to be able to implement the best plan for each community.

  • 449. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:05 am

    k mom don’t get me wrong I like your idea.:) Please keep your enthusiasm and fresh ideas don’t let us squash .

    Definitely smaller class sizes:)..25 kids in a class, 6.5 hours and recess I highly recommend it for everyone my one child has that now.

    Interesting teen perspective on budget cuts from beginning of this school year and how it has already increased class sizes.This is a state wide issue.Notice how the suburban school is worried about there class growing to 28 kids.Child in the audio mentions 40 kids in a cps class

  • 450. Jana  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Thank you to all of the parents voicing their concern for the little kids, our kindergartners. My son attends a selective enrollment school. He is 5.5 years old. We gets on the bus before 7 am and comes home before 4 pm. He is TIRED!!! Our curriculum, although 1 year ahead is a review for most kids. There is no differentiation nor willingness to differentiate, because the classes are too large and because the materials have been predetermined to teach at a certain level. I asked for my son to be tested to determine his grade level in math first. I was refused, because they just don’t do such a thing, I was told. I oppose the increase in school hours, because it will be a torture. It will drive us out of the CPS.

    We value our afterschool programs, because this is where our creativity grows in theatre and arts. I do not want my child to be a cookie cutter. Each child is different and his program needs to be customized, if not within the school’s framework than outside. If the time is in fact increased for next year, I would like to see the added time to be an elective time, where we can choose from a limited programs we currently do afterschool, like Spanish/Mandarin, violin lessons, etc. These afterschool programs are paid by parents, so they do not require additional budget. We could just shift their time slot. We need to maintain a well rounded education.

  • 451. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:57 am

    449 — Class size matters. Glad we got that solved!

    450 — May I suggest that you run for LSC at your school? Any changes will take time, and since your child is young, it will be worth it for your family.

  • 452. Skinmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:30 am

    @Chris I ignore posters that come here without concern but rather to challenge others and steer away from our ultimate goal, our children’ future. However, enough is enough. I dont feel these parents should waste their time defending themselves to a bully. Could you possibly look for a debate club??? If you took the time to read all of the posts you would see both sides making valid arguments. Are their arguments “not valid” because they may not have the same impact on every other family? I have yet to see you post something re: your own thoughts, including details backed up by research and/or data. There is plenty of data (including parents of children currently in pioneer schools) showing that a longer day with zero funding is suicidal. If you do in fact have data showing the positive effects of a longer day I would love for you to share. But please don’t be a bully.

  • 453. Skinmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:40 am

    What questions are parents looking for that have not been answered? I am happy to try and ask around to get answers bc I have many friends who have children at several different CPS schools.

    As for the CTU, in my opinion, they have zero power regardless of what their soon to end contract states. Rahm has done what he wants stomping all over the contract. I feel parents have more power if we bond together. If teachers were able to stick together they may have had a better leg to stand on. Unfortunately, principals and teachers caved agreeing to the longer day forming a break in solidarity. That is an entirely different subject.

  • 454. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Skinmom and others

    I agree that parents need to get together on this topic. Please come to a meeting this Thursday, March 8 at 7 pm at Morgan Park h.s.

    We can share insights and get support there.

    It is an easy ride on the Ryan and I-55 (briefly) to the 111th St. exit. The school is right at the exit.

  • 455. Joel  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

    One of the things that I’ve always ruminated on is what would happen if CPS were to disband, and localized districts were created in its stead. Not areas, networks, or regions. True localized districts. The parental desire for input to the school is great, but it ends up being devoured by the bureaucracy of the CPS. If localized (and not LSC, but true local elected school boards) neighborhoods had skin in the game, you’d see a big change very quickly. You would probably not see many adopting the 7.5 day.
    If my former (and current) principal tried to pull some of the BS that they did at any school with people who are eagle-eyed and wanting the best for their children, they would not have lasted in this system, let alone thrived. Yet in the large and convoluted world of CPS, they remain. Many parents that have kids at my school have become complacent and let the powers that be take the responsibility. I’m not a parent, so you can take the following statement with a grain of salt: I believe that it is one of the most, if not THE most important tenant of a parent to educate their child. I’m sadly heavily influenced by Emerson in this respect, so forgive me.
    Most people tend to think that cities and urbanization is a positive and progressive thing. It may be for some economies of scale. But for the economy of scale applied to schools, it doesn’t work. Schools were created on the foundation of local community involvement. Many posters on here have that in spades, are dying to be active in their school (if they aren’t already). As a teacher, I’d love to see the CTU and CPS be completely decimated and to allow neighborhood schools to grow. Some would be great; others would suffer. Parents would realize that they too have a role in the development of their child and their school. The reason that any school works is because parents are committed both inside and outside the school.
    I look forward to seeing, from afar, the outcomes of this summer. It is going to be a very dynamic time for CPS and the possibilities to affect some real change are available. And if it all fails, you can always go agrarian and pastoral and create a one-room schoolhouse (the ultimate localized education experience)!

  • 456. Another broke and barely making it Tier 4 mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:24 am

    I second everything Chris has said.

    To me, the anti-full-dayers have a personal agenda. They are not thinking of the school system at large.

  • 457. Skinner North Mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

    @456, see, that’s exactly how I feel about the pro-7.5-hour camp. They’re not thinking about what’s good for individual schools. Instead, they just want a one-size-fits-all mandate.

    And I hate to say it, but here’s yet another pro-7.5 comment without a scrap of data or evidence to support their position.

  • 458. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I don’t know your situation, other than what you say in your nickname. Many parents need childcare, and a great after-school programs would fit that need without lengthening the day for everyone else, right?

    My agenda is a democratic one.

    1.) I’m against a 7.5 hour day that is unfunded.

    2.) I’m against principals having to fire teachers and hire aides to supervise kids b/c of the mandated duty-free lunch and preps.

    3.) I’m against teacher lay-offs and larger class sizes — a budget fix for Emanuel but a hardship for kids and teachers.

    4.) I’m against replacing teachers with online learning where kids drill themselves in reading and math in two 50 min sessions every day.

    5.) I am against CPS’ top-down, we-know-what’s-best-for-your-kids approach.

    6.) I am against back-room “done deals.”

    7.) I want parents’ voices heard. I want a seat at the table when the problems are analyzed and the solutions are proposed.

    8.) I am against privatization of our public schools to enrich our elites — Martin Koldyke, Pritzkers, Griffins, Crownes and assorted hedge fund managers — some of the same billionaires who donated to a PAC called Stand for Children, who pushed through a bill that gave Emanuel the chance to lengthen the school day a crazy amount. And they promised to help Emanuel avoid taking a lot of political heat on the longer day.

    9.) I am for parents’ who need childcare having the option of a great after-school program. And allowing those who don’t, to opt out.

  • 459. mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I would love it if CPS broke apart into smaller school districts. It makes so much sense when the needs of the students in one area of the city are so vastly different than the needs in other areas.

  • 460. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

    459 — I understand your thinking, but believe strongly that middle class parents benefit the entire school district.

    Also I believe that the School Board must be elected, not appointed,in order for parent voices to be heard.

    Maybe we can sponsor legislation on that issue? I’d like it if the billionaires in this city didn’t control the Board of Ed, wouldn’t you? they don’t send their kids to CPS schools anyway.

  • 461. Common Sense  |  March 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

    The first step in education reform for CPS is to move to an elected school board. Politics has no place in education. We need leaders that can think for themselves and make decisions for themselves. Almost everytime our board votes it is 7-0…what does that tell you?

  • 462. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 11:38 am

    r-u-b-b-e-r s-t-a-m-p

  • 463. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 11:43 am

    It is so ridiculous!
    1.) Billionaires fund the Mayor’s election. cost: about $12 million.

    2.) For that they — Penny Pritzker — and those who work for them — Cawley and Vitale — get seats on the Board of Ed.

    3.) Access to make budget decisions for one of the largest school systems in the U.S.

    4. If they suddenly decide that online learning is the best fad ever, despite a lack of research, then that is where the money will go.

    How do we put up with this?

  • 464. CPS Parent  |  March 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

    @461 It means the Board is doing its job. Issues are revised and amended until members agree (from their own perspectives) on the issue. The concerns of the individual members are brought into the issues not left out. It implies a properly functioning Board.

    An elected school board would be a 100% political enterprise with all of the Chicago style shenanigans in play. No thank you.

  • 465. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Data Highlights of the Keller RGC Parent Survey on the 7.5 Hour Day and 180 Day Year

    49% of the 100 respondents want a longer day.

    76% of the 100 respondents want a 6.6 hour day (or less)

    He used surveymonkey.com to conduct the survey. If you would like to see the survey, in case you are contemplating doing one for your school, please comment.

  • 466. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Skinmom: “If you took the time to read all of the posts you would see both sides making valid arguments.”

    *I* know that both sides make valid arguments, but 19th Ward Parent said (which is why that response was made):

    “Posters who are in favor of the 7.5 hour day have resorted to name calling and have pledged their unwavering support for this mandate with absolutely no basis. ”

    and you’re calling *ME* a bully? Guess that means you must be one of those no-valid-argument pro-7.5 hour day numbskulls resorting to ad hominem instead of making valid points.

    Seriously, confirmation bias is *rampant* here.

  • 467. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    “An elected school board would be a 100% political enterprise with all of the Chicago style shenanigans in play. No thank you.”

    Agreed COMPLETELY. If anyone thinks that an elected school board would NOT be stuffed with people sponsored by (1) Mayor, (2) Corporations, (3) CTU, (4) other outside interests, and not be directly responsive to average-parent-types is, imo, folling themsleves severely. An elected school board in Chicago ain’t going to be like one in a district (eg New Trier) where a little over 5,000 votes wins a seat, and 1,000 voes is the gap from first to last–in Chicago, any ward committeeman can still turn out 1,000 votes, and the CTU should be able to turn out 25,000 easily–it would take *massive* organization for unaffiliated parents to slate and get elected even one board member all on their own. And the (possible, as yet unspoken) suggestion that the “parents” get a designated seat on a citywide board is not gonna happen for a bunch of reasons.

  • 468. Another broke and barely making it Tier 4 mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Honestly, not many people have the time to post all the facts and figures as do the anti-full-dayers. As shown in the post, these people usually are sahms and have time to research and post.

    Suffice it to say I and ALL of my CPS parent friends support the longer day. My neighbors support the real/full-day. My close friends supportive of the full-day include parents at two pioneer schools.

    They don’t post here because the full-day is going to happen and so there is nothing over which to protest or rally.

  • 469. Skinner North Mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    @468, and yet you and Chris and others have time to post multiple dismissive comments without a shred of evidence to support your position. We’re asking you, begging you, to try to convince us with real data and evidence. We’d love to see what you have. Maybe we’re wrong. Show us. Clear away our confirmation bias. Please.

    If something that you considered to be a terrible, harmful, detrimental change were coming to your child, and you knew you had very little chance of stopping it, would you sit quietly on your hands? Quiet as a mouse, just like the mayor wants you to be? Or would you speak up with a loud voice to do everything in your power to fight it? Feel free to disagree with us, but we have strong convictions, and we’re not likely to sit down and shut up just because that would make the mayor happy.

  • 470. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    “Feel free to disagree with us, but we have strong convictions, and we’re not likely to sit down and shut up just because that would make the mayor happy.”

    I haven’t seen anyone suggest that you should. I certainly think that you should speak up all you want. I also think that your concerns are relatively minor in the scheme of the 400,000+ student district–not that I think that’s right, just that it is fact.

    “We’re asking you, begging you, to try to convince us with real data and evidence.”

    You go on to say that you’re basically unconvinceable. Give your view, and the general tenor of the anti-longer-dayers here, I have a hard time imagining *any* data that would convince you.

    The two most repeated anti-longer day points are: “no funding” and “too much interference with family/extracurricular time”. NO research will dispel those objections. NONE. Doesn’t and can’t exist.

  • 471. Skinner North Mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    @470: “You go on to say that you’re basically unconvinceable.” I said no such thing. Do you find it impossible to have both strong convictions and an open mind? I’m eager to see your evidence that supports a 7.5-hour school day.

    You seem to dismiss our two most repeated concerns, no funding and interference with after-school time. The free-time concern is highly individual, of course, but is the no-funding concern so easily dismissed? Doesn’t it concern supporters of the 7.5-hour day as much as it concerns opponents?

  • 472. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I’m still waiting for the 7.5 hour day supporters to share with us their first hand experience. How has it benefited their children that have been in the pioneer schools since the end of September. Anyone? I’m amazed, that even the originally strong supporters at our kids schools are QUIETLY confessing their kids are getting exhausted, cranky, grades are not soaring up (on the contrary) there is not enough time for afterschool activities and for the extensive homework and monthly projects.

    Please all you 7.5 hour day supporters, share your success story! I’m really tired of people that claim on this board how much they support it, while they do not mention how it has benefited their children. It’s about the kids, so lets discuss whether it is doing for them, what it was supposed to do.
    Not everyone that posts here at “non office” hours is SAHM. There are millions of jobs in the world that allow for more creative hours than 8-4/9-5.

  • 473. Joel  |  March 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I love how the most important job in the world has now become a four letter word.
    Stay at home moms of the world unite!

  • 474. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    “You seem to dismiss our two most repeated concerns”

    In what way is recognizing the *fact* that there isn’t research to overcome those concerns dismissing them? That just soesn’t make any sense.

    I’m saying that, given that those are the most oft-repeated concerns, demands for “evidence” to overcome the objections are self-reinforcing–no way to satisfy the request, but the failure to satisfy the request is used as evidence to support the original objection.

  • 475. Skinner North Mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Chris, are you admitting that there’s no evidence to dispute the assertion that CPS can’t fund a 7.5-hour day? Are you at all concerned about that?

  • 476. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Joel: “One of the things that I’ve always ruminated on is what would happen if CPS were to disband, and localized districts were created in its stead.”

    I agree its a great thought piece concept, but unless Chicago, too, were broken down into smaller component pieces, I see potential problems on a Constitutional basis. Think it would violate Brown and caselaw/statutes flowing out of Brown. Even if Chicago gave substantially unequal funding (like 50%+ more per student) *favoring* the predominately black mini-districts.

    However, a plausible start toward that could be had in re-orgainzing HS LSC’s to draw a rep from each of the attendance area Elems within the HS’s attendance area–creating a sort of mega-LSC/mini-board for each “unified” CPS sub-district. Would get earlier buy-in from potential future HS parents, might encourage more neghborhood HS attendance, and put a little less weight on selective options.

  • 477. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    ” are you admitting that there’s no evidence to dispute the assertion that CPS can’t fund a 7.5-hour day?”

    Define “can’t fund”.

    Can’t fund what CTU has asked for “in exchange” for the longer day? True.

    Something else? I dunno til you tell me what it means.

  • 478. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    @Joel, thanks for recognizing the most important job in the world!;-)

  • 479. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I think one problem is how to define as a “fact” that CPS can or can’t fund a longer day. That is largely a subjective measure.
    Best case, it is funded with teachers, materials, helpers, etc so the kids get a rich, diverse, engaging longer day and teachers and parents are not burnt out. I think anyone would agree that takes more money as it is barely happening now in many schools.
    Worst case, the teachers extend all their current teaching time and school gets more volunteers and/or a few hourly people and used creative scheduling to make it work. This still seems somewhat feasible IF everyone at the school puts their heads together, works together, puts in some extra time, etc. That seems feasible but obviously way more challenging.
    I spoke with CPS about this last month after and their take was basically that we need to do SOMETHING to improve the Chicago schools. (Assumption being that an infusion of money is not going to be an option.)
    I mentioned that it doesn’t seem to make sense that the state with almost the lowest funding in the nation would also be the longer day i n the nation. They told me (in an uplifting and optimistic way) that the most successful schools in CPS have always had parents putting in time/efforts and admin working creatively to create good schools.
    I then pointed out that many parents are burnt out from trying to make this happen in the current timeframe. Frankly, we don’t have a lot left to squeeze out.
    So in the end, I get the point of going longer than the current short day. And I have yet to find anyone who wants the current short day. The question is how to determine whether say 6.5, 7.0, or 7.5 is “best.” I don’t see how anyone can prove that. It comes down to figuring out how these schedule will work and if it seems feasible on an ongoing basis. Other than that, it’s gut instinct. I don’t think anyone has the expectation that 6 months into the longer day, kids will be suddenly having higher grades or even test scores this spring. I think the goal is (and should be) a steady rise across the system as kids have time for more learning.
    I think the problem many of us have is that going to 7.5, a time that is longer than any other district viscerally feels too long to implement without some $ to help it happen in a positive way. I will never find a way to “prove” this, just as I don’t think Rahm can prove it’s going to be better. Common sense says our current day is too short. Many parents feel that common sense says it’s too long. When it’s that subjective, I get nervous about jumping into the 7.5 rather than trying 7.0 and seeing how it goes. You KNOW once it’s 7.5 it’s never going to be trimmed again. So it ends up feeling like Rahm is trying to prove a point more than anything. I feel like if he’d just gone for a normal average day length, he’d have a lot of supporters right now.

  • 480. TwinMom  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Wow, Chris, that’s some interesting logic. If there is no evidence of something, that “absence of evidence” can’t be used to prove that the “something” doesn’t exist? So the absence of evidence that unicorns are real is NOT evidence that unicorns are imaginary? Interesting.

    There is no funding to do any of the “extra” things CPS touts as being part of the 7.5 hour day. That is not an “absence of evidence.” That is evidence. If CPS has X dollars in its budget for the current (shorter) day and is running a deficit, and if there are no plans to increase revenue, there is no money to fund anything else.

    That, by the way, has nothing to do with CTU or teachers. Even if the CTU agreed to no additional compensation, there STILL wouldn’t be any money to ADD anything to the school day.

  • 481. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    ” I feel like if he’d just gone for a normal average day length, he’d have a lot of supporters right now.”

    Pushing “merely” to 6.5 doesn’t do anything poltically, doesn’t leave any negotiating (not that I’m thinking/buying that 7.5 is only a negotiating ploy) room, doesn’t lengthen the HS day, and would *still* have teh CTU asking for a large raise for the “longer day”. There was no chance that that was going to be the first marker Rahm threw out.

    I agree that 7-ish (depending on how *equired* breakfast is handled) is probably better than 7.5.

    And, even tho I, again, don’t beliee that 7.5 is used to stake out negotiating space, don’t let the fact that we’ve not heard anything suggesting that serve as evidence. The Mayor’s office runs a *very* tight ship w/r/t leaks–they only leak what they want to leak, and that would *definitely* be on the “don’t leak” list.

  • 482. Chris  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    “There is no funding to do any of the “extra” things CPS touts as being part of the 7.5 hour day.”

    That still doens’t define “can’t fund”.

    As to my “logic fail”, I was definitely NOT address funds v. no funds, I was addressing “advantage of longer school day in light of ‘can’t fund’ (whatever it means)”. There is no evidence, so a request for evidence to overcome an objection to a longer school day in a “can’t fund” (whatever that means) scenario will *oviously* be met with nothing, and now, me acknowledging reality is being used as support that “a longer school day in a “can’t fund” (whatever that means) scenario” will NOT be better than what we have, or 6.5 in a “can’t fund” (whatever that means) scenario, or locking them all in the deep tunnel for 20 days at a time.

  • 483. CPS Parent  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    To all of those who insist that CPS is not funding the longer day. My understanding is that principals have been asked to submit plans without the need for budget increases. I think this is where the “unfunded” comes from. Given that CPS still has to negotiate with its largest single vendor – the CTU (one third of the 6 billion dollar budget) – of course they will request this. As a taxpayer I expect them to say this. It does not mean that actual school budget will be without allocations for the extended day.

  • 484. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    No Funding means no funding.

    In November 2011 CIO Cheathem said more than once that there is no funding for the 7.5 hour day.
    In January 2012 Brizard’s then-Chief of Staff Connor said the same thing. So did Brizard’s Deputy Chief of Staff Fralin.

    Title 1 Funds

    There is some talk that the NCLB waivers will permit states to re-direct Title 1 funds, which are intended to help kids who lijve in poverty. CPS is sharing no information on that now. We don’t know what programs will be cut if the Title 1 funds are spent some where else.

  • 485. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I totally agree about the elected school board. The CTU could easily fill ever slot.
    Another option is that community organizers for “tier 1-type parents” could fill the board. Do you think they would protect those 30 percent rank seats in the SE high schools? I’m guessing not.
    The appointed board seems too rubber stampy, obviously, but putting it up for grabs? Hm.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 486. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Let’s take a step back, cps-o.

    Do you realize that no other school board in Illinois is appointed? About 600 districts, and no other is appointed.

    The election would be more democratic than appointments, b/c you would have a a number of people representing different areas of the city.

    You wouldn’t have an over-representation of billionaires or charter school advocates, for example, which we have now.

    You would have a mix. What is wrong with a mix, including tier 1 parents?

  • 487. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I’m unclear – what cold hard facts does either “side” have in this debate?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 488. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    CPS-O —

    It would be time well spent if you came to the Morgan Park H.S. meeting tomorrow, 7 pm, to hear the presentation with research and sources.

    Hope you can make it, ; )

  • 489. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Too much packing to get out of the house but I’m open to posting links to any research.
    You are saying there is “proof” that a 6.5 day is good but 7.5 is bad?
    I may agree with that, but I’m skeptical about “proof” that I can’t shoot holes in. That’s a hobby of mine. Lol.
    But I hope I’m wrong.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 490. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Here is what CPS envisions in the longer day per the Press Release.

    Spend more time on core academic subjects including math, science and social studies.
    Provide opportunities for students to work on literacy skills in all subject areas.
    Broaden enrichment opportunities including physical education, art, music, and library time.
    Give students an adequate mid-day lunch and recess period so that they can recharge.
    Provide students with interventions and supports to help improve skills in math, science and core subjects.

  • 491. CPS Parent  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I voted for the mayor knowing he would appoint the board. Super pleased with all the board members. These are not people who will maneuver for for personal gain, they are not concerned with access to power. They are knowledgeable in a mix of areas. They are the type to get things done now. And guess what? It’s is getting done.

  • 492. Skinner North Mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t know about “facts”–I’m interested in the data available to us on this topic. CPS likes to link to this. Give the abstract a gander. I wouldn’t call it definitive, but it’s interesting.


  • 493. mom  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    @491 – I agree. I might not like everything they are or are not doing, but I do like that they are taking action and appear to be very intelligent people and as you said, knowledgeable in a mix or areas.

    All these CTU posters here will now come after us for saying this and telling us that we don’t know what we are talking about and that Rahm is pushing charters, etc. That’s fine. I prefer this action to letting CTU run things with their focus on money and pensions clouding everything else. I love teachers but I really don’t like the CTU leadership and approach.

  • 494. Skinmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I’m officially burnt out and dizzy from reading the latest comments. If I had the energy, I would scroll back up to the links, containing reports and data showing that a longer day without funding is INSANE! One report cited a district in Mass. where a longer day was implemented in a couple schools similar to our pioneer schools, and the cost to implement it “correctly” (adding enrichment, resources etc) cost millions. Not a SINGLE report exists showing positive results from a longer day. In addition, there is ZERO data re: implementing a longer day with no additional funding because beside from it being ludachris, it hasn’t successfully been done with positive results.

  • 495. Skinmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    @491 I have tears rolling down bc I am laughing so hard at your comment. Not maneuver for personal gain? Hahahaha please cite members names and provide details bc I could write a book about the personal agendas of the CPS board of education.

    How many of the current board members have children in CPS? Had children in CPS? Who was the last president of the board? Enough said.

  • 496. Skinmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    @493 NEWSFLASH in case you have missed it….Rahm has made it clear he wants Charter Schools!! He isn’t trying to make that a secret. Why do you think he hired AUSL to handle the turn around schools? They won’t be able to have an LSC. A close friend of ours runs in the same circle as Rahm. Trust me when I tell you that Rahm wants Charter Schools. He is continuing on what Daley started.

    Why would the top 1% want to fund CPS when they don’t send their children there? This is simple math.

  • 497. CPS Parent  |  March 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Skinmom i’m talking about the current Board not what happened in the past. Three of the current members are CPS parents including the President. All stake holders are represented and the combined slkillsets are valuable and pertinent and reach deep into the Chicago community.

    David Vitale: A CPS parent and Harvard University graduate, Mr. Vitale is the executive chairman of Urban Partnership Bank, which was created in the aftermath of Shore Bank, a South Side community lender that failed last year. Vitale also chairs the Academy of Urban School Leadership board. He served as chief administrative officer for the city school system under CEO Arne Duncan. Vitale serves as board president.

    Jesse Ruiz: The Illinois State Board of Education chairman plans to step down from his state post in May as he takes on his new position as vice president of the Chicago Board of Education. A Chicago attorney, Ruiz also serves on the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.

    Henry Bienen: A political scientist and author, Bienen served as Northwestern University president from 1995 until 2009, one of the Evanston institution’s longest-serving stewards.

    Mahalia Hines: The veteran educator worked as a CPS principal and teacher for more than three decades. She now works with her son, Common — a hip-hop artist from the South Side — in the Common Ground Foundation.

    Penny Pritzker: A businesswoman and philanthropist, Pritzker supports public schools as board chair of the Chicago Public Education Fund and co-director of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, which invests in education and health for city children.

    Rod Sierra: A parent of three CPS students, Sierra is the chief marketing officer of Johnson Publishing Co. and a former deputy press secretary to Mayor Richard Daley.

    Andrea Zopp: The president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League also is a CPS parent and a former local school council member of Clissold Elementary School on the Far South Side. She previously served as general counsel for companies including Exelon Corp. and Sears Holdings Corp.

  • 498. local  |  March 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Yikes. You don’t want to pop those bios into your mouth and swollow whole. They represent an amazingly tangled web of interconnected self-interests. It is a game to connect dotss.

  • 499. mom2  |  March 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    @498 – please untangle the web for us.

  • 500. The Taft story....  |  March 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Our local paper printed a story on Taft:

    Exact quote from the paper:

    Assistant principal said that the number of classes take by students this fall could increase from seven to eight due to the school system’s “full school day” mandate which will add about 50 minutes to the school day. Taft had planned to use the extra time for tutoring and enrichment activities, but the North-Northwest Network for High Schools has informed school officials that the time should be used for formal instruction in a class with a syllabus and grades for students. “Is this the best plan? No, but this is what we have been told to do now. We have near 3.000 students with diverse needs. I don’t think all of our students need or can handle an eighth class”

    My personal comment:

    Schools are asked to come up with the full day proposal and then told they can’t do what their students really need, but need to have an extra class?
    Supposedly schools can’t be trusted to know what their student population really needs?
    Brizzard has publicly said many times, that individual schools will be allowed to tailor the full day to their specific needs, but does not sound like that.

  • 501. The Taft story....  |  March 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I forgot to include the rest of the longer day story:

    AP said the school was given the option of block scheduling, which calls for double-period classes, but that change would result in many students either eating lunch before 9:24am or after 2pm.

    The Taft Parent Association has collected more than 1,000 signatures on petition opposing the mandate for a longer school day.

  • 502. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    @492: CPS likes to show people that?
    I like it, but it concludes that it is likely how the extra time is used and the instruction quality that matter. Ok, but how will that suddenly change just because the day is longer?
    (I know CPS says that we will all rise to the challenge….)

    I think the CPS POV is “we got nothin’ else so let’s at least give this a try.”

  • 503. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    @ 492 — thanks for the research. I’m going to quote relevant bits, now, for everyone to tired to read it all.

    Title: Extended School Day / Year Programs
    A Research Synthesis
    by William Evans and David Bechtel

    Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Lab for Student Success
    Office of Educational Research and Improvement
    DOE, Washington, D.C.

    “Although the news media focus on extended school time as a remedy for low educational achievement, little evidence exists to support this claim.” … For example, in a comprehensive review of 20 years of research literature prepared by Worthen and Zstray (1994) little evidence was found to support the link between time in school and student achievement.”

    “Joint programs between schools and community services present an opportunity to deal with the risks that exist for disadvantaged cildren without radically changing school hours or calendar.” …

    “The crucial issue is how time is used, with quality of instruction being the key.”

    Diane Ravitch has said this, and Karen Lewis has said this.
    Why is it that the Board of Ed hasn’t said this?

    Twenty years of research shows that there an extended day has no effective on student achievement. Then what is the purpose? To warehouse kids?

  • 504. Crawley  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    At our school we are certainly “rising to the challenge” but unlike any other year students, teachers, parents, and staff are facing burnout in March. I feel like I myself am back in school just counting down the days until Spring Break.

    We were told in the past that homework was meant to “extend the school day”. Now that we have extended the day 1.75 hours we still have an hour of homework nightly and two projects every quarter. Even people who say they like the 7.5 hour day at our school preface it with saying they’ve had to cancel all weekly extras and move bedtime up an hour.

    The teachers have done an admirable job of implementation but it is the parents who are making this work for their kids.

    This is just further evidence that this will fail wholescale at disadvantage schools.

    At our school the staff is wondering whether to buy Ipads, computer labs, or climbing walls with what’s leftover from CPS’s $150k while at other schools they are trying to figure out how to copy pages of text books (because they don’t have enough) with paper they don’t have.

    How is giving a school that doesn’t have books to read more minutes to learn reading going to work? Imagine what one of those schools could’ve done with our 150k.

  • 505. Skinmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    @497 Vitale is a very close friend of my father in law. Don’t be so naive. What CPS schools did/do the children of these members attend? What high schools? I think that answers my question.

    Don’t get me started on the political agendas. Do you “really” think these board members have the best interest of the children in mind? Or is this another thing to add to their political/corporate resume? You do realize that they all answer to Rahm correct? It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to notice the transparency. I wonder who each one of them voted for? Rahm? This is what one refers to as the 1%.

  • 506. anonymouseteacher  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Regarding the rumor that teachers will be asked to vote between supervising recess duty or losing enrichment teachers (meaning art, PE, for kids and prep time for teachers):
    I spoke with a CTU rep friend today. This is being floated as an idea. Just an idea. Anything like this would have to be voted on by the membership.
    I don’t want to say emphatically that this idea will never happen, because this is CPS and ANYTHING can happen. But my feeling is this would be voted down immediately.

  • 507. Skinmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    FYI each school was required to submit plans on how they plan to implement the longer day IN ADDITION to what they would need….Many schools are asking for mobile units to house classes due to lack of space inside and out, along with additional teachers. They were told to ask for everything they would need so they are. This seems like a complete waste of time when there isn’t any funding. Budgets don’t come out until the end of the year. I demand answers along with the rest of the parents. I would NEVER want my child in a mobile unit. Shame on each and every board member!

  • 508. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Crawley, I had a similar conversation tonight with my friend. And CPS announced another contest — $50,000 is supposed to go to the first 30 schools that come with the most innovative longer day plan!

    My friend paged through the CPS application and asked, “How many of our 675 schools have the lawyer-parents who could take the time to go through this and fill it out for the administration?”

    And the need is greatest at schools with the fewest parental resources!

    I am tired of all these contests. Our tax dollars should be used in a fair manner, not to make schools jump through CPS hoops.

    Skinmom — I am with you on the Board and their crony capitalism.

  • 509. Skinmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    @506 I originally stated that it was an idea. Individual schools would vote, not everyone. Or at least that was the way it was explained to me. I’m happy to hear that this was in fact validated by the CTU. I would never mention something on here unless it came from a reliable source.

  • 510. local  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Here’s dot! John W. Rogers, Jr.

    Connect it now.

  • 511. local  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    499. mom2 | March 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Oh, honey, that would take so long. Just read more deeply about each of these folks. It will come into focus, although it might take a year or two. Sorry.

  • 512. anonymouseteacher  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    @509, I apologize if my post came across as if I was accusing you of falsely representing something. I was just worried this was the newest reality school staff was being told to prepare for. Every week, at least at my school, we are told something different. It is a pretty difficult environment to deal with day in and day out. Morale is awful. I wish more than anything I could find a suburban job. There is no sense of integrity, no sense of reason, nor research based methodology. I feel like I am having to give up all I know about best practices just to work in CPS.

  • 513. southie  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    454. anonymous, who wrote: “I agree that parents need to get together on this topic. Please come to a meeting this Thursday, March 8 at 7 pm at Morgan Park h.s.

    “We can share insights and get support there.

    “It is an easy ride on the Ryan and I-55 (briefly) to the 111th St. exit. The school is right at the exit.”

    15 minutes from downtown. Easy breezy.

  • 514. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I feel for you, 512. My friends and I are just hoping that Emanuel won’t ruin CPS before our kids graduate.

  • 515. southie  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Maybe CPS doesn’t need funding for a longer school day. Here’s a Brizard legacy: http://www.13wham.com/news/local/story/RCSD-Budget-Deeply-Cuts-Art-Music-Foreign-Language/ZEVUWGFl2Ea8JTdgiSLyIg.cspx.

  • 516. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Wow, 515! We have been hearing that music and art teachers are being fired, and that outside arts groups, like Lookingglass Theatre are being hired.

  • 517. southie  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    For clarity: That story at 515 is about Brizard & his old gig, in NY.

  • 518. southie  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I really wish we had education reporters like this one in Chicago!


  • 519. anonymous  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    517 – understood. no real change in m.o., is my guess.

  • 520. Common Sense  |  March 7, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Where is tomorrow’s meeting about the longer day? Can you provide an address?

    I think there are a lot of people around the city that would be interested in going. We need to all come together. I think everyone wants answers.

  • 521. Skinmom  |  March 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

    @497 if you need help connecting the dots, I’ll start the first one for you.

    Vitale-> chairs AUSL (oh what a coincidence!). AUSL is being paid to handle the turn around schools. Now why would Vitale vote against turning around these schools when AUSL stands to make a huge profit?

    Now it’s your turn….

  • 522. CPS Parent  |  March 8, 2012 at 9:33 am

    @521 AUSL is a not-for-profit. Vitale is not on its Board of Directors. See http://www.ausl-chicago.org/about-board.html

    I hope AUSL and similar entities have the opportunity to operate many more schools in partnership with CPS.

  • 523. Mich  |  March 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    @507 – I grew up in a crowded elementary school. I had a year in a mobile unit – it was one of the two best because the TEACHER was dynamite. Given the choice of mobile buildings and excellent teaching or everyday teaching and beautiful buildings I will take option #1.

    @516 – it is already happening. We lost our wonderful music teacher last year and now have an outside group doing it. It breaks my heart because the quality of the music program is NOT the same.

    @515 – I remember people talking about things like this when Brizard was first hired – the real fact is Rahm WANTS a hatchet man in there.

    @514 – And if you don’t continue to fight at all once your kids are out of the system you remain part of the problem. Just saying “well my kids got theirs too bad for the rest of you” is shortsighted to the very, very least.

  • 524. anonymous  |  March 8, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Mich — great insights.

    Of course he wants a hatchet man — Cheathem, Donoso, Fralin, Lee and others are as well.

    Emanuel has hired former TFA-ers and Broad Foundation-trained people to dismantle CPS.

    You mention you lost a wonderful music teacher — can you name the school?

    I heard that CPS fired the choir director at Jones last fall, killing the entire program at a top h.s.

  • 525. cpsobsessed  |  March 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Gotta say, at my son’s school the loss of an unispired music teacher, replaced with awesome instructors from outside the system has been favorable.
    She was one of those teachers that made me question tenure. Nice lady, but seemed to hold the bar pretty low.
    I’d prefer that cps funded a great fulltime music teacher. There have got to be so many out there who can’t find jobs.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 526. anonymous  |  March 8, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I’d also prefer that CPS fund a full time music or art teacher.

    Have you looked at the school budget?
    Do you know where the funding for that teacher went?
    Or how much the outside group costs?

  • 527. cpsobsessed  |  March 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

    We lost overall funding due to the percent of low income kids decreasing pretty rapidly.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 528. anonymous  |  March 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Discretionary funds are lower in schools with a smaller percentage of poor students, and that is exactly where the problem with an unfunded 7.5 hour day comes in.

    Limited discretionary funds at Mt. Greenwood school go to hire teachers now so that class size in Kindergarten can be 25. (They have 4 classes at 25 kids.) In the upper grades, they have 36 students — so don’t think they have some special treatment.

    When you figure in that the students still must be supervised during a long day that includes duty-free lunch and prep, then you have to fire teachers and hire aides.

  • 529. cpsobsessed  |  March 8, 2012 at 10:50 am

    It’s hard to debate that logic, unfortunately.

    Parent volunteers can work, but scheduling that is a big undertaking and you need a plan for someone not showing up.
    And that assume parents are available.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 530. cps alum  |  March 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve been reading comments of parents on the Concerned Pioneer website. Several people have mentioned that they have moved all extra curricular activities to the weekend since their young children are too tired during the week. Next year, when the plan goes system wide, many more parents will move their extra curricular activities to the weekends rather than during the week.

    I wonder about the economic effects this may cause. Capacity at many facilities is limited on the weekends, and consequently many private vendors (dance/music schools, sports complexes, etc.) may loose teachers or worse. That wouldn’t be good at all.

  • 531. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    @CPSO , in regards to your post:

    “The question is how to determine whether say 6.5, 7.0, or 7.5 is “best.” I don’t see how anyone can prove that. It comes down to figuring out how these schedule will work and if it seems feasible on an ongoing basis. Other than that, it’s gut instinct. I don’t think anyone has the expectation that 6 months into the longer day, kids will be suddenly having higher grades or even test scores this spring. I think the goal is (and should be) a steady rise across the system as kids have time for more learning”

    The parents of the kids, that are currently in the pioneer schools HAVE the first hand experience with the 7.5 hour day. Not only our gut instinct, but our kids and our family experiences have been telling us, that it is too long.

    The purpose of the pioneer schools should have been to implement, observe, analyze and learn if that particular length of the day was the best for the kids. That would have made sense, right? So Rahm and Brizzard would not have to go with their gut instinct, but with actual experience of these schools.

    The 7.5 hour day was only in place for about 2 months, when the then-happy-parents were interviewed for a video that was being distributed to all school principals, to have as a promotion for the long day.
    Now, few months later, even those parents are not happy with length. I don’t know of anyone of those then-happy-parents, that has walked up to the principal and said, that based upon their experience they think 30 minutes less would really be way better. But many of them are saying it to each other.
    To those of you who ask, if it is really worth fighting for 30 minutes, yes it is. 30 minutes of more sleep makes a huge difference for a kid.

    Our first survey was too close to the time the long day was implemented, for the parents to really notice much difference.
    The second survey was biased towards being pro 7.5 hours or being against it. Nothing in between. No choice of other lengths.

    The truth is, school like Skinner North, that already academically tops all CPS schools (according to the last year’s ISATs) does not need to have kids spend more time at school. They already do well above their grade level and they are not kids that need to be kept off streets. They should have reasonable amount of time to be creative and to learn other desired skills from qualified professionals. Kid has to have a time to be a kid and do developmentally appropriate things. Play, run, have time with friends and family members.
    The principal at that school should have said, no thank you, we already have pretty smart kids. We also want to keep them healthy, happy and creative in other areas of their interests. 6.5 hours would have been sufficient.

    I do not enjoy getting my kid back after 9.5 hours being away, all grumpy and exhausted with time to do nothing but eat and sit down again for homework and a project. Quick bath and bed.
    If parents like that and some can’t afford to spend more time with their kids, I do respect that. But make that voluntary, that is called afterschool. Do not make it mandatory for everyone.

  • 532. cpsobsessed  |  March 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Skinner north is a little unusal in that so many kids seem to have long bus rides. Are parents at other pioneer schools saying the same thing?
    I also wish we could hear from some teachers at these schools. Have you talked with any to see what they think? Wonder if any will speak at the meeting tonight?

    I can appreciate the principal who saw the writing on the wall – if the change is coming, might as well get the 150k.

    Is anyone going tonight? I wish I could make it. Thank you to everyone getting out there. Report back if you go.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 533. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    @520 The meeting tonight is at Morgan Park High School on 111th St and Pryor Ave, just off I-57. The meeting will be held in the school’s auditorium at 7pm.

  • 534. Skinmom  |  March 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    @522 “Vitale, who is currently Chicago Public Schools’ board president, has been the chairman of AUSL’s board since 2009. AUSL officials said Vitale announced his resignation from AUSL shortly after being tapped by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in May to preside over CPS’ board, but he stayed on until the non profit could find a replacement.”

    Listen, the city and board are enacting mass school closings and privatizing them by bringing in well-connected charter school operators. Vitale is currently not the chair bc AUSL recently found a replacement.

    The fact that you (#522) want to see your tax dollars go into the pockets of wealthy CEOs and corporations is a red flag!

    @522 “Hoping that AUSL and similar corporate entities get the opportunity to operate more schools in partnership with CPS”
    You may as well admit you are affiliated with the AUSL bc with zero data and zero results, AUSL is fueled by one thing…..money and political connections.

    And if I may ask @522, what exactly in your mind does not for profit mean when referring to AUSL? Nevermind, It’s obvious that you are not a parent and would assume you have much better things to do vs posting inaccurate non-sense. This is an argument both sides of the longer day actually agree on.

    FACT: AUSL is a national charter school operator started by Chicago venture capitalist Martin Koldyke. The mayor, too, has a close relationship to AUSL including the fact that the principal of AUSL’s Bethune School of Excellence was a co-chair of Emanuel’s mayoral campaign.

    I no longer have the patience for ignorance. It seems to be the trend lately. If you are going to post, at least do your homework.

  • 535. mom  |  March 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Is this a meeting where both sides will express their views – positive and negative or is this a rally to get people concerned about the longer school day?

  • 536. southie  |  March 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    @ 534 “the principal of AUSL’s Bethune School of Excellence was a co-chair of Emanuel’s mayoral campaign” – Oh, don’t get me started on Zipporah Hightower. That’s one evil woman.

  • 537. 19th Ward Parent  |  March 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    CPS representatives will be presenting as will several opponants of the longer day followed by a Q&A session. All questions must be submitted prior to the start of the meeting. Note cards will be provided and questions will be asked by presenters with an opportunity for 1 or 2 follow-up questions from the audience after each response.

  • 538. Skinmom  |  March 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I think parents should strike:) what could Rahm do? Maybe that would get his attention. If teachers AND parents strike we have a better chance of being heard. I don’t mind my child having to make up a couple days at the end of the year. Especially if it would result in a better educational experience.

    As for discretionary funds, they are exactly that, discretionary. The principal can decide how and where to spend them. A principal who is invested and cares would most likely create smaller class sizes, another principal may choose to hire an additional clerk to make his/her job easier. There are so many ways to utilize these funds and principals know how to maneuver money. Therefore, you have a lot of corrupt principals out there abusing their power. Again going back to the principal at Nash. According to someone who taught there, the principal bribed parents with vouchers to enroll their children ASAP in order for the principal to receive additional funding from CPS to be used towards a teacher. Enrollment was down and the principal did not want to lose money. The principal also hired a sub to teach first grade the entire year. Subs are not allowed to be assigned to the same room for over x amount of days to prevent practices such as this. This again, created additional funding because a teacher was not hired. This is what I meant when I said principals know how to maneuver funding.

  • 539. CPS Parent  |  March 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    @534 AUSL is a not-for-profit here is their IRS 990 filing:


    I’m a parent who likes charter schools. There are many of us in Chicago and there will be many more.

  • 540. Skinner North Mom  |  March 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    “Not-for-profit” doesn’t mean nobody’s profiting. What are their executive salaries like?

  • 541. sosidemom  |  March 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Many charter schools are supposedly non-profit too. Their teachers are extremely poorly paid, but their administrators make big bucks. They also pad the books with kids who don’t actually attend, kids they can’t properly service, and get paid for positions they don’t actually fill. Sounds very altruistic to me.

  • 542. Skinmom  |  March 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    @539 You clearly are missing the boat and avoiding the questions asked. BTW Where do your children attend school?

    @ Skinner North Mom Didn’t you know that the board members of AUSL do it out of the kindness of their heart?

    Here is a list of the board of directors. Need I say more? I can connect so many dots that it would make a persons head spin. haha

    Martin J. Koldyke*
    Founder and Chair Emeritus AUSL

    John Cook*
    Chairman AUSL
    McKinsey & Company

    Mike Zafirovski*
    Vice Chairman AUSL
    Former CEO, Nortel

    Dr. Donald Feinstein*
    Executive Director AUSL

    Merrick Axel
    Principal, Thoma Cressy Bravo

    Dominic Belmonte
    President & CEO, Golden Apple Foundation

    Susan M. Benton
    Partner, Winston & Strawn

    Marshall M. Bouton
    President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

    Mary Ellen Caron
    President and CEO, The Hope Institute for Children and Families

    William Hobert
    Managing Member, WH Trading

    Craig K. Huffman
    Managing Director, Ascendance Partners, LLC

    Michael Keiser
    President, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

    Robert E. King
    Chairman, Salt Creek Ventures

    Willian J. Lutz
    Vice President, Private Wealth Management, Goldman, Sachs & Co.

    Rev. Dr. W. W. Matthews, Sr., BS, THD
    Pastor, Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church

    Dr. Nivine Megahed
    President National Louis University

    Cordelia C. “Dea” Meyer
    VP, Civic Committee of The Commercial Club

    Kenneth W. Miller*
    Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman

    Julian Posada
    President, Chicago Fire Soccer Club

    Nneka Rimmer
    Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group

    Ralph Rydholm
    President, R2 Consulting

    Ben Shapiro*
    Manager of Mason Avenue Investments

    Greg Simoncini
    Owner Simoncini Strategies

    Professor Louis W. Stern*
    Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University

    Eric Strobel
    Business Management Consultant

    Kay Torshen
    Torshen Capital Management

    Carmita Vaughn
    Gail Ward
    Founder/Principal, Walter Payton College Prep High School, Retired 2008

    Todd Warnock
    Founding Partner & Senior Advisor, Roundtable Healthcare Partners

  • 543. anontmous  |  March 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    cps-o — Skinner really is not unusual in regards to busing.

    All rgc’s, academic centers, therapeutic schools, and others require busing kids.

    It would be good to know how many students are bused each day. This is something that CPS must be taking into account with the 7.5hour day and year, right?

  • 544. Skinmom  |  March 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Lets not forget the most important FACT, AUSL has ZERO evidence that the turn around process works. In fact, there is evidence and data that it doesn’t work. The only people it works for are those whose pockets are being lined with green. There aren’t LSCs , blocking parents from having a say. Therefore, anyone who supports AUSL and/or Charter Schools would not be found on this forum unless they were “claiming” to be a parent. The parents on this forum are fighting to be heard and participate in the decisions made re:their children’s’ education.

    Goodbye #539

  • 545. anontmous  |  March 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    CPS Parent — do your kids go to an elementary school charter?
    New school building?
    Do you work at one?
    What is the length of day?
    Is there an after school program?

  • 546. anonymous  |  March 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    New from the Raise our Hand Illinois web site — a true grass roots parents organization.

    The Longer School Day: Fact and Fiction
    We are starting a new series – The Longer School Day: Fact and Fiction. Please check in with us daily to get a new bit of information on what we are being told and what we know to be true about the longer day proposal, the deficits in our schools that aren’t being addressed in this proposal and more.

    Fact or Fiction?

    Q: Our kids need a 7.5 hour day to be on par with the rest of the nation?

    A: Fiction! No large urban district in the country has a 7.5 hour day for all of its schools. Raise Your Hand has called numerous school districts across the country and none have a 7.5 hour day across the board. Some have a very small percentage of their schools on an extended day, such as Boston which has about 10% of their schools on extended day and attached $1300 per student when they did this, something CPS is not proposing. New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Charlotte, Seattle, most of Boston, Las Vegas, all have 6.5 hours or less of school.

    The average school day is 6.6 hours nationwide and 6.5 hours in Illinois. Average number of days in school is 180. CPS is below average currently on length of day (by 45 minutes) and year (by about ten school days) but extending the day to the longest in the nation on no budget is not feasible.

    Raise Your Hand began lobbying for recess and a longer school day in 2010-2011, when we promoted a “Fit for Learning” campaign to extend the school day to 6.5 hours within the current contract at minimal cost to schools. We created a toolkit and trained parents, teachers and schools. Thirteen schools voluntarily shifted to a 6.5 hour day, bringing recess to thousands of public school children for the first time in decades.

    Now, our members are telling us that too much of a good thing, especially when unfunded, is not wonderful.

  • 547. CPS Parent  |  March 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    @542 Thanks for posting. Pleased to see Gail Ward on the Board. She’s an excellent educator and administrator. Good choice.

  • 548. Skinmom  |  March 8, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    @546 CPS is below average on length ONLY because other schools have an hour for lunch/recess.

    CPS is NOT below average re: school days per year.
    Thirty states have 180-day school years, two have school years longer than 180 days, and 11 have school years shorter than 180 days. Minnesota is the only state that doesn’t require a set number of days or instructional hours for schools. Each district can dictate its own school year.

    This was yet another blanket plan not taking into account that some children take the bus, some have after school programs and others have after school enrichment classes not located at school. Again, who did you expect to fund this extended day? Did teachers get paid or were you, like Rahm, expecting them to work longer for free?

    Out of curiosity, what CPS schools voluntarily shifted? How did they get the necessary funding?

    FYI some schools never got rid of recess. Your comment about “bringing recess to thousands of public school children for the first time in decades” is absurd and false. Or are you claiming that the 13 schools that shifted never had recess?

  • 549. Crawley  |  March 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    At Skinner North we had recess/lunch for K-2nd (only went through 3rd last year) for 40 minutes last year. This year, with adding 1.75 hours to the school day we’ve added….wait for it…5 MINUTES OF RECESS!!

    Here’s something that just crossed my mind as well:

    CPS keeps saying the 7.5 hour day will provide 6.5 hours of instructional time.

    My public school math skills make me work like this:

    15 minutes passing time
    +15 minutes breakfast in the classroom (thanks CPS)
    +45 minutes lunch/recess
    +390 minutes instruction time
    = 465 total minutes which is the same as 7.75 hours

    More CPS math skills doing there thing.

  • 550. Crawley  |  March 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Please excuse my public school grammar skills as well:

    *their thing.

  • 551. Interesting  |  March 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Interesting that just a couple Skinner parents post over and over. No Disney 2 pioneers posting. Interesting.

  • 552. Crawley  |  March 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    What are you implying? If someone doesn’t come onto an internet comment board to voice their complaint they don’t exist?

  • 553. Crawley  |  March 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    “Interesting”, do you care to comment on any of the actual content of my posts?

  • 554. Skinmom  |  March 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Disney II is an entirely different school, unlike 99.9% of CPS. It acts more like a suburban school with a PTA, fundraising team, teacher aids for each grade, art, music, technology, gym and a TON of parent involvement. Because one chooses to go there, the school is able to require a book fee to cover the cost of math books, guided reading books etc. During one fundraiser, they raised $45,000 to use towards the longer day on top of the $150k they received from CPS. That doesn’t include the additional fundraisers and parent donations.
    Nonetheless, it would be nice to hear from some parents.

  • 555. anonymous  |  March 9, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Nonprofit does mean, unfortunately for transparency, that the Freedom of Information Act doesn’t apply, the Purchasing Act doesn’t apply and the Open Meetings Act doesn’t apply.

    What a wonderful mayor.

  • 556. Skinmom  |  March 9, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Any comments re: the meeting last night?

  • 557. anonymous  |  March 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

    The Longest School Day: The Facts and the Fiction

    Q: Raise Your Hand opposed to a longer school day?

    A: Fiction!

    Raise Your Hand advocated for a 6.5 hour school day last year and helped bring recess and lunch to 12 schools with almost no cost and no fanfare.

    Raise Your Hand is not opposed to a longer day, but we are opposed to an unfunded and unplanned 7.5 hour day. We support a reasonable extension of the day based in reality of the budget situation we face in Chicago. In 2014 CPS is projecting an $800 million budget deficit. Our schools are not properly resourced now. What will be cut in 2014? We will have a lot of time with less programs/teachers, etc. than we have now, i.e a bigger refrigerator with no food in it. We need to look forward and ask these questions now. We cannot afford a 7.5 hour day across the board.

    No other large urban district in the nation has been able to afford this, and we cannot have education on the cheap for our children.

  • 558. cpsobsessed  |  March 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I heard that the parents had lots of research to show and cps — not so much.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 559. anonymous  |  March 9, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Very true — parents had done their homework. Extensive research on what other schools and cities have done, efficacy of more time, citations.

    But that was not the case for the Chief Instructional Officer, Dr. Cheathem’s presentation. Surprising omissions for someone trained at Harvard.

    The large crowd applauded the parent presentation time and again to show agreement.

    The key question that kept coming up: “Where is the funding going to come for this?”

    Dr. Cheathem said she could not talk publicly about the source of funding, eventually indicated that it would come in part at least from cuts, and that schools will get a “lump sum.”

    We asked if that meant one time funding? And Dr.Cheathem would not answer.

    I can post a link to the presentation, if you’d like.

  • 560. anonymous  |  March 9, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Here’s an example from last night’s presentation. Parents want the true facts about our school system. We can’t trust that CPS will provide them to us.

    According to the district report card, 63 percent of 3rd graders in Chicago meet or exceed standards on the ISAT, which is in significant contrast to Dr. Cheatham’s number of 83 percent of 3rd graders being below grade level in reading.

    See link http://iirc.niu.edu/District.aspx?source=Test_Results&source2=ISAT&districtID=15016299025&level=D

  • 561. cpsobsessed  |  March 9, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Sure, post the link!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 562. Skinmom  |  March 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I had a bad feeling that the meeting would be….parents presenting facts, data, research in addition to personal experiences from pioneer schools while CPS provided more of the same–>nothing aka a rep/body.

    This is the typical CPS way of making the parents think their voices are being heard and considered.

    At this point, I feel it is going to take drastic measures for change. I’m not sure what this would entail but time is running out. I commend and thank everyone for doing their homework but this is a fight that is going to take an army. We are up against a web of politically connected 1%.

    I originally sent both my children to public school because I felt it was important to be surrounded by a diverse group of children from various backgrounds. I made the decision to recently move my daughter to private school because she wasn’t being challenged. I didn’t feel she would do better in a gifted program and was unable to find a happy medium. I kept my son in the gifted program where he was happy and continued to excell UNTIL the longer day was implemented. I admit, I was excited about the longer day until I saw the negative impact it was having on my son and family.

    I don’t know what the next move should be but would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

  • 563. anonymous  |  March 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    skin mom
    I will give cps-o my email to forward to you.

  • 564. anonymous  |  March 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm


    An excellent description of yesterday evening’s events.

  • 565. Skinmom  |  March 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I find the 11th grade PSAE Reading Performance scores to be most alarming! Putting on my creative thinking cap….if CPS insists on a blanket policy, one size fits all solution, I have come up with the following:

    1) utilizing data from an assessment (the exact assessment would of course need to be available and agreed upon) that is given throughout the year ie. MAP, DIBELS, scantron etc. in addition to grades, students would be required to attend an after school class.

    2) If a student fails to meet the set standard in one or more areas, he/she will be required to take up to two after school classes.

    3) if a student is failing in all areas, a plan needs to be put in place with goals etc. the student would still be required to take after school classes to assist.

    4) once a student gets his/her scores and grades up to satisfactory, the days required to attend after school class would decrease.

    The above is simply a shell/idea similar to requiring students who don’t reach a certain ISAT score to attend summer school.

  • 566. anonymous  |  March 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    In line with your thinking, other school districts extend the day and fund quality supports for underprivileged students.

    Philadelphia spent $55 mln on 9 low-performing high schools to add supports to an extended day — not the entire district. Started up this fall.

    Houston will spend $20 million on a mix of 20 middle and high schools for supports.

    Go to http://www.Mass2020.org for info on a similarly well-planned and funded program.

    That’s not how CPS is doing things.

  • 567. CJ  |  March 12, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I predict a lot of teacher vacancies next year if the changes they are considering actually happen. They will also likely happen late which may leave many schools scrambling to fill positions. I don’t think CPS teachers have to sign a contract, for the following year, that so many other school districts require, but I am not sure about that.

  • 568. Another broke and barely making it Tier 4 mom  |  March 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

    567, this will be one of the great bonuses of the full day – getting rid of dead wood.

  • 569. anonymous  |  March 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Jill Wohl
    More facts. Less fiction. Discuss amongst yourselves.
    The Longest School day: The Facts and the Fiction
    Fact or Fiction? Q: We need a 7.5 Hour Day to implement the new Common Core standards which are coming in 2014?
    Like · · Follow Post · Share · 12 hours ago near Chicago

  • 570. anonymous  |  March 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Robbing kindergartners of play in the name of reform


    In Hartford, Conn., the superintendent wants to extend the school year for some kindergartners to 11 months of the year.

  • 571. anonymous  |  March 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    From the Tribune on the true length of the school day inside and outside of CPS.


  • 572. anonymous  |  March 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Watch our power point “Debunking the Myths”


    19th Ward Parents

  • 573. anonymous  |  March 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm


    The author, Christopher Ball, is running for the Mayer School LSC. He has written a very good review of some of the claims for implementing the longer day, here is a brief excerpt.

    …that word. I do not think it means what you think it means

    “CPS cites various research to support its claim that more instructional time produces better student achievement. …

    If someone at the National Center on Time & Learning or at CPS had read the analysis, Dennis Coates, “Education Production Functions Using Instructional Time as an Input,” Education Economics 11:3 (Dec 2003), they would have known that increases in instructional time have small effects on student achievement, and those effects are often non-intuitive and complex.

    For example, if class size is taken into account, a ten minute increase in social studies predicts a 8.95 point increase in reading scores – one of the strongest effects – but the effects of increased English instruction cannot be sufficiently distinguished from chance (p.287-88).

    Coates (p.290) concludes that:
    • “the effects of instructional time are quite small”
    • “The analysis finds harmful effects of increasing class sizes”
    • “the effectiveness of any given amount of instructional time is adversely affected when class size is increased”
    • “any policy changes that focus exclusively on class size or instructional time to the exclusion of the other will have smaller benefits than its proponents indicate”

    The policy implications are clear: more time may help improve student scores if and only if class sizes are reduced. But CPS has yet to come up with the money to fund more teacher hours, let alone more teachers to reduce class size.

  • 574. Skinmom  |  March 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Anyone with half a brain and interest should be able to read the overwhelming research and data presented over and over, and clearly see that Rahm is not doing this with the interest of our children. This is on par with his speed cameras. Yes, he is so concerned about our children that he plans to use money that would be better off used “in” schools, to put up speed cameras to catch people “while” our children are in school. How transparent! Ca-Ching!!!

    I had lunch with a friend who has children that attend Blaine School. Currently, the parents fund about 4 or 5 positions. Originally Blaine had half day Kindergarten. Parents raised money to fund positions for full day kindergarten. Parents also fund two enrichment positions (I think my friend told me music and Spanish). All of the above plus parent involvement and collaboration with teachers/admin has helped to create an outstanding neighborhood school with smaller class sizes and rising test scores. This goes back to the importance and results of smaller class sizes vs. a longer day.

  • 575. have-a-brain  |  March 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    @skinmom, speed cameras don’t cost the city anything – a private contractor owns and operates them for a portion of the income. The rest goes to the city perhaps to be used for CPS?

  • 576. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Long on Class Time, Short on Answers
    Posted: 03/13/2012 2:32 pm

    If Jennifer Cheatham, the Chief Instruction Officer for Chicago Public Schools, were an NBA team, she’d undoubtedly have a lousy road record.
    Last Thursday night, Cheatham brought her PowerPoint-based offense to Morgan Park High School on the city’s South Side, where, for two painful hours, she was outhustled and outgunned by a group of CPS parents. (Read more.)

  • 577. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 6:40 am

    575 — It will cost the taxpayers $50 to $100 per ticket. FOX news just did a story on the thousands fo motorists who drive past Lane Tech, for example, a spot likely to be the biggest revenue generator in the city.

    NO city where this speed camera initiative has been put to a vote has passed it.

    This will cost the Mayor politically in a huge way; it will be the third strike for him, after the NATO mess and the long school day mess.

  • 578. Another broke and barely making it Tier 4 mom  |  March 14, 2012 at 8:16 am

    My block is anxiously awaiting the cameras. People drive like maniacs by our neighborhood school causing quite a dangerous situation for the kids (and parents dropping off, too).

  • 579. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 8:27 am

    We had a wonderful principal who advocated with the alderman for speed bumps on the street in front of the school and on the two blocks north and south of pick-ups.

    It has worked wonderfully.

    It is cheap. It is easy.

    And we don’t fear getting a $100 ticket in the mail.

  • 580. CPS Parent  |  March 14, 2012 at 8:34 am

    @577 anonymous, speed cameras will not cost TAXPAYERS anything at all. OFFENDERS will pay the penalties as dictated by the law with the underlying premise beung public safety. The cameras are free to the city. Police resources will not be tied up issuing speeding tickets.

    This is a win-win-win outcome for Chicago residents as the proceeds could be used to support CPS. 100 speeders a day going by Lane Tech at $75 each would be $2,737,500 a year. Perhaps each school should be the sole beneficiary of the revenue produced by the cameras near their facility.

  • 581. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 8:43 am

    We are all citizens and taxpayers.

    Selective use of speed bumps and diverters is the best tool for calming traffic in areas where children must cross or exit cars or buses. That is b/c all drivers must slow down immediately. Speed cameras do not force drivers to immediately slow down.

    The cameras are another fee-generating idea.

    Coupled with the Mayor’s successful push to ding citizens’ state income tax refunds, it is a “slam-dunk.”

  • 582. Another broke and barely making it Tier 4 mom  |  March 14, 2012 at 8:53 am

    The speeders (most seem to be young adults) seem to use our speed bumps and fun launch pads. They don’t slow them down a bit.

    Speed bumps don’t work by our school, unfortunately. That would be an excellent, low-cost method of stopping them.

  • 583. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:00 am

    It is a well-known and proven fact — the installation of speed bumps decreases traffic on that street.

    What street are you talking about?

  • 584. Another broke and barely making it Tier 4 mom  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Anonymous, please note CPSobsessed has requested that posters don’t personally engage other posters. I’m sorry, but given the content of your posts, I don’t feel comfortable telling you were I live.

    Suffice it to say I’m in a Tier 4 neighborhood and there are constantly close calls with speeders by our school.

  • 585. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Innocent question.

    I asked b/c I can’t envision teen-agers hot rodding up a street with speed bumps in front of a school on a regular basis. I can’t imagine the principal, teachers or parents would be relaxed about this.

    There is always your alderman and CAPS meetings to go to for help.
    I wouldn’t wait for the cameras to get installed.

    Related Links:

    Chicago Sun-Times article on City’s speed-camera plan to start slowly, aldermen still wary

    Chicago Tribune article on Mayor’s speed cameras would help political ally

    Chicago Magazine article on Chicago’s Speed Cameras Reach an Intersection at City Hall

  • 586. Jen  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

    If you drive within the law you don’t have to fear a $100 ticket in the mail either. Perhaps cameras are only about generating revenue, but only from those who refuse to drive correctly. This is a tax we all have a choice to not pay, rather than driving up the taxes we all have to pay. Why can’t people understand that?

  • 587. Confused  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:35 am

    What?? Are you saying that we should install speed bumps on Western Ave. or on Addison in front of Lane!! Let the speeders pay then they will more than likely slow down. I won’t even address the issue of the damage that speed bumps do to cars even when taken at low speed.

  • 588. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:40 am


    PSAT for 3-13-12: Support a QUALITY school day

    Parents across Chicago are ramping up their opposition to Mayor Emanuel’s 7.5 hour school day.
    For example, a group of parents from Chicago’s 19th Ward, along with their alderman, Matt O’Shea, organized a community forum last Thursday which attracted over 350 people and was written up by most major news outlets, including a column by the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.
    The group prepared their own power point presentation which apparently blew CPS’s typical dog-and-pony show out of the water by raising and then debunking most of CPS’s public statements about why the 7.5 hour day is necessary.
    From the 19th Ward Parents’ presentation:
    CPS sez: “The rationale behind moving CPS schools to a full school day is clear…our elementary school students are receiving 22% less instructional time than their peers across the country.” (J.C. Brizard email 2/10/12)
    The TRUTH: Average U.S. school day is 6.64 hours for elementary schools. CPS school day is currently 5.75 = 14% difference.
    (Read more)

  • 589. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I conceptually support the camera-by-school idea given the state of our budget.
    However take a look at the speed limits near your school. Last one I saw was slow than my car idles! I just want it to be realistic.

    But truthfully, given my mad race to the metra train every morning, I’m gonna scope out a non-school path to prevent myself from getting a ticket.

    But also, why can’t there cameras also be used to monitor suspicious activity around the schools?!?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 590. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:41 am


    More nasty stuff from Stand for Children in Chicago

    Chicago Public Schools and Stand for Children staffers sharing a car? How cozy… (read about it below).

    I didn’t name him, but the same Stand for Children creep I wrote about last month has been skulking around other Chicago parent group meetings, and some believe he and SFC should be exposed for the tactics they are using. I was asked to post this signed message which was originally posted on the Facebook page for the Grimes-Fleming (School) Child Advocates:

    On Friday, 3/9/2012, our organization, Grimes-Fleming Child Advocates had an informational meeting at Lawler Park in the Midway area. Our guest speakers were Christine McGovern and Maureen Cullnan of 19th Ward Parents, we invited our alderman Marty Quinn who was unable to attend, but sent a representative. CPS was contacted several times for two weeks prior and had confirmed two days before and as recently as 4:00pm, but did not show up. Interestingly, they had pressed to find out numbers in attendance. A CPS F.A.C.E. (Family And Community Engagement) representative did show up.

    Our meeting went great, 19th Ward Parents came with facts that are backed up with studies. The only distraction was that an uninvited person named Juan Jose Gonzalez from Stand For Children came and stood in the back telling our Spanish speaking parents in Spanish that what 19th Ward parents were stating were “lies”, “don’t believe them”, “that’s not true, they don’t know”. He attempted to create confusion and at one point at the end, he did manage to cause distraction when somehow he deferred our Spanish speaking parents to address questions to the F.A.C.E. rep, Ms. Teresa Meza. I was unaware that he was also asking parents for their phone numbers and stated only CPS knows the facts and made a comment to a parent that now caucasians want to talk to them. I am furious!

    (Read more)

  • 591. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Does that instructional time difference also take into account number of days kids are in school? We have so many days off, perhaps they mean instructional time for the whole year?

    Not that I support 7.5 AT ALL but being a researcher I like to have the facts straight.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 592. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

    FYI — CPS-O:
    It looks as though CPS is beginning to correct their numbers on instructional time.

    When you go 2 cps web page~programs~district initiatives~full school day


    it says this:

    The Full School Day is built on a simple fact – Chicago Public School students spend 15% less time in the classroom than the average American public school student.

    If you click on full school day, it still has the old number 22% (below)


    Chicago Public School students spend 22 percent less time in the classroom than the average American public school student. The Full School Day – with expanded instructional time – will bring to an end Chicago’s disgraceful status of having the shortest school day of all major American urban school districts.

  • 593. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 10:28 am


    Allocated time: Allocated time refers to the total number of hours per year a student is required to attend school. Allocated time can then be divided into instructional and non-instructional time.

    Instructional time: Instructional time refers to the portion of the school day that is allocated to instruction.

    Non-instructional time: Non-instructional time refers to the portion of the school day allocated to such activities as lunch, recess, school assemblies, and other non-classroom activities.
    *From: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education – Glossary

  • 594. Skinmom  |  March 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    @another broke…. I’m not interested in where you live, I’m curious what school you are referring to. Most schools that reside on side streets have speed bumps which DO make a difference. No one wants to fly over them for fun in exchange for destroying the bottom of a car.

    Schools that are on a corner of a busy street usually have a fence with entrances on the side streets to protect the children. In addition, school security along with admin is outside guiding traffic during the start and end of the day. I don’t see speeding by a school as a top concern. In general, there is too much traffic from drop off/pick up to allow someone to speed. Has there been research done to show the number of accidents that have occurred by a school harming school children? Again, another blanket program without any data.

    The city WILL have to spend money (yes, your tax dollars) on signage indicating speed limits as well as signage indicating that there are cameras present. Do you really think the revenue is going to CPS? Haha

    Smells like another parking meter catastrophe!

  • 595. Skinmom  |  March 14, 2012 at 11:48 am

    What confuses me most is that schools are able to decide how the minutes of this “longer day” will be spent. Most schools don’t have recess and are therefore planning to use the additional minutes to create a longer lunch/recess. This doesn’t result in additional instructional time!

    The Jordan School in Rogers Park plans to stick kids in a large room and call it recess. That’s ridiculous and does not provide the type of stimulation recess is intended for. Kids will need to keep their voices down due to surrounding classrooms. I have different friends gathering as much info on different school proposals to ultimately show what this will look like and the damaging effects it will have as a whole.

  • 596. anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    @Skinmom Each school has the autonomy to decide how best to use the longer day – it is not a one size for all solution. Some schools will need to focus more on tutoring or remedial teaching to bring students up to grade level. Other schools can focus more on enrichment or offer advanced level instruction since selection for SE high schools pretty much requires above grade level achievement. Many schools could offer a blend of all of the above.

    What is not negotiable from school to school is the amount of time added. Personally I think that may be reduced from 1 1/2 hours to some other amount once all the plans from schools are in and negotiations with the CTU are complete.

    I agree that recess in a classroom is not ideal but sometimes you have to put the cart before the horse in order to move forward. The playgrounds will follow if parents like you care enough!

  • 597. mom  |  March 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Yes, I’m also guessing that the 7 1/2 hour day is the starting point in negotiations with CTU. It could work and they can demand that, but I am betting CPS will compromise and agree to something more than what we have now (so there can be longer lunch, longer recess and a bit more instructional time and no longer having Chicago on the low end of time at school), but less than a 7 1/2 hour day.

  • 598. Also a pioneer parent  |  March 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    @596…. It would be great if that was the truth. If you read my post #500 you will see that Taft was denied their longer day plan, that was tailored to the needs of their particular student body. Taft is not the only school that was denied having the autonomy on this issue. This is too much of an importnat issue to stay silent on it.

  • 599. Skinmom  |  March 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    CTU has zero power re: negotiating the longer day. It’s a done deal. They can ask that teachers be compensated for additional time but we all saw how that worked out. Rahm denied teachers their 2% raises this year that WAS in their contract so I’m not sure how much faith I would have in the CTU.

    Are people forgetting that the majority of CPS schools have zero parent involvement? How are parents that receive govt assistance supposed to pay for a playground? Better yet, how are they supposed to create space for a playground? Not all schools have outside areas, fields, playgrounds etc. Stuffing kids in a room without any space to run or play and calling it recess seems backwards.

    Time is running out. Schools need to be able to plan, hold fundraisers according to what the longer day will look like, hire etc.

  • 600. doing homework  |  March 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    @599. Skinmon SB7 specifically allows for the longer day and how to pay for it, “bargainable” with the CTU. It is not a done deal. The law does not mandate a specific amount of lengthening of the school day.
    See: http://performancecounts.org/senate-bill-7-facts.

    Regarding fundraising – all parents can do that regardless of economic status. To say otherwise is insulting.

    Time is not running out – if it takes a year or two to acquire outside space and build a playground so be it. Kids will survive inside for the time being.

  • 601. the real anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    595 — Smom, what a great idea. Hope you will have a public presentation on various schools’ proposals. Please invite us to attend.

    596 — You have offered a weak rationale for an utter lack of planning by CPS on a radical change to 405,000 chidren’s schedules.

    600 — As long as it’s not your kid, you don’t seem to have any problem deciding how children can survive. how thoughtful.

  • 602. Skinmom  |  March 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    @600 how does one acquire space? If there are houses surrounding a school, please explain how you would acquire the space?!

    It’s not the least bit insulting to ask questions about the facts. It’s more insulting to say “they can do it regardless of their economic status”. If parents aren’t involved what makes you think they are going to hold fundraisers? The demographics speak for themselves. Don’t you think if they were capable of raising money and/or had the means they would? This is nonsense and I’m not going to beat around the bush.

    As for the longer day, THERE IS NO FUNDING! The CTU can ask for anything they want but if there isn’t funding, oooops. The CTU is there to protect teachers. Thus far they haven’t done such a great job. Hence, allowing Rahm to neg on the current contract re: raises to then turn around after somehow magically finding money to offer pioneer schools.

    @600 it’s obvious you don’t currently have children in CPS bc I don’t think you would be so laid back. Yes, time is running out. Unless you are someone trolling forums to try and make people think otherwise, every second counts.

    Wait lol You are from Stand The Children! Now it all makes sense. I should have know by your ridiculous statements.

  • 603. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    You guys are asking for a time out.

    I am asking CPS to see the Disney II schedule so we can discuss the details of how a longer day is working.

    I’m curious to see where the kids are when and who is supervising them at each point.

  • 604. the real anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    603 — Pls Ask for the Skinner schedules, too. The schedules will shift, obviously, along with the different grades.

  • 605. Skinmom  |  March 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Dont forget all of the additional funding Disney II has. Make sure to also ask for a copy of their budget. It would not surprise me if some positions were funded by parents like at Blaine.

  • 606. Skinmom  |  March 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Skinner added on about five minutes to recess. The remainder of the day is spent in class and/or at specials. However, there will be changes due to grades expanding. It’s still a relatively new school/program.

    There should be schedules posted from all of the pioneer schools. Not time distribution charts but actual schedules.

  • 607. Skinmom  |  March 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    You probably would have better luck going to the school website and contacting a teacher for actual schedules.

  • 608. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    So who is with the kids when the teacher isn’t? They are in specials, lunch, recess, etc being supervised enmasse by a teacher or other school employee?

    It doesn’t sound that complicated. Just long.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 609. the real anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I have a 2nd grader at Skinner North Elementary, one of the thirteen “Pioneer” schools.

    Last spring, parents and teachers alike voted to move our school to the “open campus” school day, which simply moved teachers’ 45-minute lunch break from the end of the day to the middle of the day. We were happy to implement 45 minutes of recess and lunch to the school day and have input in the process.

    Two days before school started this year we were informed of the “great news” that Skinner North had voted to be a Pioneer School and would be receiving $150,000 in funding for doing such. At first I was excited about the funding but one of the first news articles I read indicated that the vote was split and very nearly didn’t pass. The wheels started to turn and I was skeptical about the state of morale at school.

    We are a relatively new and growing school with only 8 classrooms. Morale up until then had been high and the community, simply by the nature of its size, was very tight-knit. The first several weeks of the school year existed in a limbo like state with teachers, students, and parents awaiting the switch to the 7.5 hour day. Having dedicated over 1500 hours of volunteer service to the school in the past two years I felt I had a pretty good finger on the pulse of the staff. Morale, in my opinion, was at an all-time low.

    All of that being said, most parents put their full faith in the teachers and staff at our school to make this a success. Then the switch came.

    In perfect lock step with the first week of switching to the 7.5 hour day, my 2nd grader, quite easily the most balanced and well-natured of my three children, became volatile and cranky. Homework became a nightly battle where it was once a joy. Bed-time became contentious and wake-up consisted of me literally dragging her out of bed. Her teacher has been amazingly helpful and has assured us that behavior problems have not spilled over into class, but her grades have most definitely dropped. If it were just the grades, my concern would be lessened, but it’s her total lack of enthusiasm for school, in the 2nd grade, that has me very worried.

    We were told in the past that homework was a means to extend the school day. We’ve now extended the school day 1 and 3/4ths hours and still have 45-60 minutes of nightly homework along with two large projects each quarter. Bed times have to keep being moved earlier. My wife works until 6:30 most nights and bed-time has moved up to 7-7:30, where before it was 8-8:30. Last year she did three after school programs (Sports, Dance, and Taekwondo). We’ve cancelled all but one.

    I started communicating my concerns to others and was a bit surprised at first to hear that a lot of people were going through the same things. We convinced our administration to do a survey in October and the results showed that 35% of parents liked the longer day.

    Shortly after the survey CPS came to shoot a video at our school and parents were invited to share their “positive experience” with the longer day. Some of us expressed concern to the principal who in turn allowed everyone to speak. Out of about a dozen speakers 8-9 were struggling with the longer day. CPS’s video showed the 3-4 who did not.

    Next, we convinced our principal to arrange an open forum with a CPS official in December. The official came and heard the majority of people express their many concerns ranging from commute times, academic rigors of a selective enrollment school, snack times, homework, and sleep deprivation. We never heard back from CPS.

    In January the school’s administration did another survey stating that only 6.7% of parents were unhappy with the longer day and was soon followed by a report that the feedback from Pioneer schools was overwhelmingly positive.

    After countless attempts to communicate our concerns to CPS and continually being portrayed as a vocal minority, a group of Skinner North parents joined together to form Concerned Pioneer Parents for a Better School Day.

    Our website is http://www.concernedpioneerparents.com. Our site details facts that demonstrate a different reality than what CPS is trying to portray as well as a growing testimonial board.

    Our goal is to have a more informed idea of what Pioneer Parents across the district are going through.

    Just this week we rolled out a survey to find a true representation of how families are dealing with the 7.5 hour day at our school. We will have concluded the results by early next week but the preliminary data points to the families struggling with the longer day being a slight majority. Certainly more than a vocal minority, and drastically more than the 6.7% previously reported.

    Finally, I know that a common train of thought is to demonstrate how this will help disadvantaged youth and we are just the privileged few complaining about missing out on piano class.

    First, Skinner North is a selective enrollment school which means we have students from nearly every zip code in the city. Second, we have a very active parent community that provides library, morning security, help with lunch and recess supervision, and countless hours of stapling homework packets, copying papers, and other clerical work. This helps the teachers focus on their students and leave work on time.

    What will happen at schools that do not have this kind of involvement?

    Also, parents at our school have fundraised to provide smart boards in every classroom, classroom libraries in every classroom, updated school library, and even paid for a Spanish teacher in the past. How are the disadvantaged schools going to cover these gaping holes by adding more time?

    Many of us were very happy with the “open campus” model that started the year. We are confused as to why CPS started a Pioneer Program only to seek out “those with a positive experience”. I plead with CPS to stop letting their administrators speak for us and to actually use the wealth of knowledge we’ve accumulated these past six months.

  • 610. anonymouseteacher  |  March 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    SB7 allows for the district to unilaterally plan the number of hours and days spent in school with no input whatsoever from the CTU. CTU can only, only bargain over pay and nothing else.
    Fwiw, negotiations between the CTU and the BOE are not going well. It is very close to where a mediator will be needed.
    Here’s what I know:
    Presently the added two weeks of time will be added onto the END of the school year ’12-13. (due to previous years where they tried to start before Labor Day and so many kids didn’t show up)
    Teachers are being offered zero pay raises, the BOE wants to eliminate COLA raises and raises for advanced degrees. Merit pay is being proposed, but so far, I have heard nothing re: what that could be based on. (personally, I’d like to see some combination of COLA, education earned and merit pay, but that makes a lot of sense and it doesn’t appear as if anyone downtown really cares about what is logical)
    The BOE has stated it plans to staff recess supervision with volunteers and that presently NO extra money will go towards additional teaching staff for the longer day.
    They want to eliminate pensions and convert them all to a more traditional retirement plan with teachers keeping whatever they currently have in their pension accounts.
    All IEP’s have to be re-written, even if they were just done as well because of the longer day/year.
    The BOE wants CPS teachers to also pay more into their own retirement accounts and more into insurance. With no raise, this will mean next year pay will decrease, the longer day notwithstanding.

    There is very strong support for a strike and schools have been taking “mock” strike votes to get a feel for if we have enough votes. All those votes have been above the 80% mark. My school is nearly at 100%. I never thought it would come to this, but I believe there will be a strike. The longer day is going to happen regardless, since parents and teachers have no power in this matter. SB7 puts all the power squarely into the hands of the Board, which means the Mayor. But there’s no way teachers are going to take a pay decrease for significantly longer hours and a longer year too and no guarantee of properly staffed schools. I am completely prepared to strike.

  • 611. the real anonymous  |  March 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    How the heck can we get SB7 amended?

  • 612. southie  |  March 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I keep wondering: Who’s going to vet these volunteers? Background checks? Training?
    “The BOE has stated it plans to staff recess supervision with volunteers and that presently NO extra money will go towards additional teaching staff for the longer day.”

  • 613. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Even now, anyone who volunteers at a school more than 5 hours a week is supposed to go through a CPS background check, but it doesn’t seem to be enforced much. My neighborhood school required it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 614. CPS Mom of 3  |  March 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    And for everyone volunteer that works less than 5 hours a week- no background check at all. Could be a lot of unchecked recess supervisors watching our kids. Not good planning, imo.

  • 615. CPS Parent  |  March 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    @the real anonymous – It makes sense to me that the CTU can’t directly bargain regarding length of day since there is a conflict of interest.

    However, having said that, the CTU does have a backdoor way to influence the length since compensation is “bargainable” and salary and time spent at work are implicitly linked.

    The deal breaker can be: “We (the CTU) accept the xx% raise if the day is lengthened by 1 hour not 1 1/2.”

  • 616. Jennifer Gladfelter  |  March 14, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    @609 “the real anonymous” – I’m very glad that you liked the testimonial my husband wrote specifically for the Concerned Pioneer Parents website so much that you wished to share it here. A lot of reflection, time, and thought went into creating that post. Next time, please give credit where credit is due.

  • 617. Jennifer Gladfelter  |  March 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    @609 “the real anonymous” – sorry for the snarky tone. This longer day debate has my patience running extremely thin, on top of having three beyond-exhausted kids.

  • 618. anonymous  |  March 15, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I slipped and hit the button before I could give credit. Then grimaced at my mistake, but ran off to deal with a kid issue. My apologies.

  • 619. anonymous  |  March 15, 2012 at 7:19 am

    615 — Let’s see where that takes us.

  • 620. What?  |  March 16, 2012 at 10:14 am


    Hope this is not a repeat, but see the article above. . . .

  • 621. MazeDaze  |  March 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    CPS Press Release regarding school year.


  • 622. 10 more school days, hooray!  |  March 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Yea! for the addition of full weeks to the cps schedule!

    Yea! to having class on Columbus and Pulaski day!

    And last but not least, the biggest yea! of all for scheduling classes on report card pick-up days.

    A great start CPS, keep going!

  • 623. 10 more school days, hooray!  |  March 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    10 more school days is a great start toward the 15,000 instructional minutes we need to add per year to get to the national average. But it’s just a start.

    A sensible and pretty painless move.

  • 624. chicagodad  |  March 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    From an article on PURE’s site:

    Ms Cotton also wrote this thoughtful piece on why it’s important to continue to fight the CPS 7.5 hour day:

    I am a parent of children who attend Grimes-Fleming School in the Midway area. Please count us in the growing number of parents in opposition to the extended school day. We have started an organization, Grimes-Fleming Child Advocates to stand in solidarity with other CPS parents.

    I want to dispel the myth that all “poor” schools are in need of an extended day due to academic failure. Grimes-Fleming is a school composed of over 80% Hispanic students, 87% of our students are low income, we have an attendance rate of 95.6%, our performance overall on all state tests is 86.2%, we exceed the state, district and sub-region scores.

    This success comes from a dedicated, extraordinary principal leading an equally dedicated and exceptional teaching staff along with the guidance of parents who are actively engaged in their children’s lives. Our teachers come in before school starts, often as early as 7:30am to help students who need it. This is out of their dedication and their strong conviction that they are making a difference. Our school offers after school programs that tutor, help with homework, provide exercise. We have after school cheerleading squads, girls volleyball, boys and girls basketball, musical keyboarding, newspaper, art classes, dance and computer keyboarding. Our children take great pride in the knowledge they have teachers and parents that care enough to volunteer their time to make these programs possible. Our entire community nurtures our future. With an extended school day all this would be disrupted and would detract from the richness of their lives, our lives. We are real families who constantly interact with our children. Social interaction is important!

  • 625. anonymous  |  March 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    The average length of the school day is 6.64 hours, and the Illinois average is 6.5 hours.

    Could you please get the facts straight?

  • 626. Skinmom  |  March 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

    FYI This is a letter that Karen Lewis sent out. I’m passing it on.

    Today Chicago released a school calendar that, when combined with the longer day, will be the longest school year in the country. This relentless schedule will produce student burnout and lacks appropriate professional development time for staff.

    Among the specific problems:

    Report card pickups will now conflict with work hours for parents and will leave only three hours for teachers to meet with up to 200 sets of parents.
    The calendar provides for no Professional Development days between the first day of student attendance in September and the last day on June 17. This is particularly egregious at a time when new district initiatives including the Common Core State Standards, a new evaluation system and a longer day will require planning and collaboration.
    By eliminating the federal holiday, Columbus Day, the school year begins with nine uninterrupted weeks of school.
    Track E—comprised of at least 240 schools—will lose a week of spring break and still gets no relief from sweltering school conditions in August.
    Since state law was changed in 1995, the appointed Chicago Board of Education has had the right to impose the academic calendar without bargaining with the union.

    This calendar represents an example of what the Chicago school board will do when it doesn’t listen to the voices of the teachers, parents, and others who will be directly affected by their policies.

    The CTU’s proposals call for a better day with smaller classes, instruction in the arts, physical education, world languages, and adequate resources for all including a library in every school, as well as dignity and respect for our teachers and paraprofessionals.

    This is why we need to stay united and redouble our efforts to win a good contract.

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