Longer Day (7.5 hour) protest continue with a parent press conference today

April 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm 28 comments

Several of the 7.5hour protest groups showed up today to protest the proposed 7.5 hour day.  Brizard will be discussing it on a teleconference this week (details posted in the comment section.)  I need to write up my notes on my talks with 2 Pioneer School principals where it doesn’t sound half bad from a strategic standpoint.  But from a daily life standpoint and a low budget standpoint it still feels wrong to me.

Have any of you changed your mind either way as a result of CPS’ point of view or that of the parent protest groups?


CHICAGO (CBS) – Several parent groups are questioning how the Chicago Public Schools can lengthen the school day starting next fall, without solid plans on how to use the extra time, or enough money to pay for it.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports a coalition of parent groups spoke out in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall office on Monday.

Jonathan Goldman, who has children at Thomas Drummond Elementary School, said the group Chicago Parents for Quality Education has compiled all the research on a longer school day.

“A lot of the information that the mayor and CPS have been putting out is just either misinformation that they are either unaware of, or that they’re deliberately using to mislead the public about this program,” Goldman said.

Goldman said parents support more classroom time for their kids, but most think 7 1/2 hours is too long. They prefer a 6 1/2-hour day, about 45 minutes longer than the current school day.

“I think that there is a consensus among parents across the city, and numerous surveys have shown that we need a day longer than (5 hours and 45 minutes),” he said.

Wendy Katten, whose children are at Augustus Burley Elementary School, said CPS hasn’t shown it has the plans for how to spend the extra class time meaningfully.

“There are hundreds of studies that show that children need P.E., they need things like music, they need all of these things,” said Katten, co-founder of the parents group Raise Your Hand.

CPS officials defended their plans for a longer school day, saying it was about more than just more time in the classroom.

“This is about more than adding time to the school day – we’re strategically investing in initiatives that will ensure that additional time is quality time, and the result is to boost student achievement,” CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said. “Next fall, we will begin implementing the Common Core State Standards, which is a more rigorous curriculum that will better prepare students for college and career, as well as the new instructional framework, which will fundamentally change and improve the quality of teaching across the district. These initiatives, combined with the additional instructional time provided by the Full School day will provide both teachers and students with the tools needed to improve teaching and learning in every classroom.”

But parents questioned how the district could achieve the goals of the longer school day when it’s already running a significant deficit.

“There’s clearly not the budget, with the $600 to $700 million deficit, to provide all of these new (programs). Whether they can provide a few programs here and there, we know they don’t have the money to staff a full day,” Katten added.

Goldman said school officials should present a budget for the longer school day, noting in Boston and Houston, schools are spending an extra $1,300 to $2,000 per pupil to lengthen the school day.

“If you extrapolate those costs to Chicago Public Schools, we’re talking about between $500- and $800-million in new costs, in order to roll this out effectively,” Goldman said. “That’s on top of the $600- to $700-million deficit that CPS has already announced that they have. How are they going to make this work?”

The parents demanded a meeting with Emanuel to discuss plans for a longer school day.

In a statement, CPS officials said they’re making investments district-wide to give students more time in the classroom and a more rigorous curriculum.

“We share a deep commitment and passion with parents to ensure we are taking every step to boost student achievement throughout the District. These district-wide investments include giving our students more instructional time in the classroom, implementing a more rigorous curriculum to better prepare students for college and a new instructional framework that will improve the quality of teaching,” Carroll said in an email. “All of these will give principals and teachers more tools to help students achieve success in the classroom and beyond.”

The Chicago Board of Education has already unanimously approved plans to extend the school year by 10 days next year.

But the district has yet to explain exactly how it plans to pay for the longer school day or longer school year at a time when it is facing a budget deficit of $600 million to $700 million next school year. Officials have said that deficit could exceed $1 billion by the 2013-14 school year. The district is also negotiating a new contract with the Chicago Teachers Union, which is seeking significant teacher raises to pay for the changes.

The union has also repeatedly blasted the CPS plan for a longer school day, saying officials haven’t sufficiently explained how the extra time would benefit students or how the district would pay for the extra time teachers would be required to work.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

CPS attending community meeting to discussing making change at neighborhood schools 7 Hour Day. So it is written. So it shall be.

28 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mich  |  April 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    My biggest issue with the longer day besides the “where is the money coming from” is that there isn’t nearly the flexibility in designing the day that was first mentioned. At a school like ours that already has weekly art, PE, drama and music, we have to come up with yet another enrichment. Really, we’d be better served by adding that time to core subjects.

  • 2. PortageParent  |  April 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Completely agree with Mich. CPS is not giving schools any flexibility with the longer schedule. It’s actually working against us at my kids’ RGC. Currently, our kids are on the 6.5 hr schedule and get recess TWICE a day. However, our older kids (3rd and up) are actually going to loose one recess with the longer 7.5 hr day. We are also losing social studies minutes which is a shame because we have an amazing social studies teacher. The whole thing is absurd.

  • 3. lt246  |  April 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I totally agree with what the group put forward at the press conference today. There’s no real evidence the longest day will have any effect without really intense funding, which doesn’t exist. Plus, for young kids it’s just too long. And I believe teachers need to not only be fairly compensated, but made to feel like they are valued. I just get a profound sense from a lot of my kids teachers that they feel battered and disrespected.

  • 4. cpsdisgusted  |  April 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    how can this benefit ANYONE? My daughter won’t be home until 6-ish because she is at school somewhat far away. Plus homework? heck, no. Also CPS loses money. Ugh. My daughter says she will go back to the private school by our house if this happens.

  • 5. Mom  |  April 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    This whole issue really bothers me. I am sort of disgusted that parents are complaining that the Mayor wants to lengthen their kids’ school day. Perhaps they don’t realize how shockingly short it is? I did the math once and concluded that my child at a private school would graduate from 8th grade with well over a year more time learning than if he were in public school. I understand that people are saying they want a longer day, but not “that long.” I would just counter with “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” This just reconfirms for me that people have the tendancy to complain about EVERYTHING. Can’t you at least give it a try? It sure beats the 5.75 hour days your kids get now. They are seriously short-changed with those hours! Why feed into the union’s hands (whose interests may not necessarily align with your child’s) with your beef that 7.5 hours is “too much”? Truly baffling!

  • 6. Joel  |  April 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”
    I’m sure we can find some quote to back whatever position we want. Your post actually gives evidence to the point I want to make by referencing your daughter in private school. I don’t think most people are truly upset about a longer day, but what bothers them is the blanket approach to it. You’ve chosen to put your daughter in private, as is your choice. I believe that parents that are in schools that are succeeding are finding the heavy hand of CPS to be a bit intrusive. While a smaller district can debate, have real school board meetings, and have accountability for their districts, CPS is a solo show. As more parents become active in their children’s education, they become more possessive about what is working and more involved in solutions for their individual schools. Frankly, I don’t give a toss about the money issue. What bothers me is the lack of autonomy for schools to decide what is best for their environment. I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who once wrote how absurd it must be if aliens came to Earth and they saw humans picking up dogsh*t, who would they think was running the show? CPS reminds me of that.They’re a bit of a turd, and the schools are left looking like they don’t have any say in the matter.

  • 7. CPS Mom  |  April 9, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    @5 Mom: and I’m baffled as to why you’re baffled! My kids currently go to a 6.5 hour school (not all CPS schools are 5.75 hours) and have everything they need, plus plenty of time for family, friends, exercise, and the all-important, creativity-building free play. An hour a day makes a HUGE difference in terms of what my children can or cannot do — it basically takes away the part of the day that isn’t school, getting ready for school, or getting ready for bed.

    I don’t consider a 7.5 hour day a “gift horse.” not when what we currently have is working so well.

    I couldn’t care less about the union position on this issue.

    And I also wonder what this 7.5 hour day is going to look like at the many, many CPS schools that do NOT have the level of parental involvement and fundraising capabilities that my child’s school has. We, as a city, DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY to do this longer day “right.” And so what’s going to happen? The parents at wealthier schools will volunteer and fundraise their asses off to make the longer day a truly better day….and the rest of CPS will get an extra hour of god only knows what. That “achievement gap” they’ve all been complaining about is only going to get worse unless magic fairies come down and give CPS about $1 billion to adequately fund their proposal. By contrast, the 6.5 hour day costs nothing. Given that, I’m the one who’s baffled as to why CPS won’t make 6.5 hours the default!

  • 8. wy mom  |  April 10, 2012 at 2:25 am

    @5 My son goes 5.75 is in the IB Mid Yrs Prg at our neighborhood school is a straight A student and gets 20 minutes of recess every day. There doesn’t need to be any more than that…Rahm is lying and manipulating #s to press an agenda of privatization.

    Now there’s talk he may want and UNFUNDED 7hr day (not 7.5) but NO research has ever shown that it is beneficial for any longer than our state average of 6.5 hrs. This is Rahm’s way for a crime fix, because Rahm has no control on the streets of Chicago and the gangs are taking over and he let go officers instead of hiring more police officers. So he wants CPS to be now be a babysitting fest and a budget fix (mass teacher layoffs/larger classes)

    RAHM IS A LIAR~and must be exposed!
    Read the Suntimes…they are doing a gr8 job of that:


  • 9. TeachinChi  |  April 10, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Sure WY mom, because keeping those kindergartners in school longer will solve the crime and gang problem.

  • 10. anonymous  |  April 10, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Mom — There is no reason to “give it a try.” Check outhte concerned pioneer parents web site and read the problems they have found with the 7.5 hour day.

    Illinois requires a set number of instructional minutes in the core subjects for all public schools, including CPS schools. The 5:45 day is short, but instructional minutes were NOT lost. What was lost is recess, the arts, and PE.

    What parents are saying over and over in survey after survey is they would like a longer day, just not the longest day in the nation.

    They are also saying —
    1.) give the school funding for it so they can plan appropriately
    2.) let the school decide how to spend it
    3.) let the school decide how long the day should be: most favor 6.5 hours.
    4.) don’t push online learning to replace teachers

  • 11. anonymous  |  April 10, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Parent groups: Data for longer school day doesn’t add up

    BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter/rrossi@suntimes.com

    April 9, 2012 11:48PM
    Updated: April 10, 2012 12:20AM

    A coalition of 16 parent groups Monday demanded a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to go over the real research on a 7 1/2-hour school day, and not the “misinformation” they charged district officials with spreading.

    “They are either misinformed or deliberately misleading the public,’’ said Jonathan Goldman of the new Chicago Parents for Quality Education coalition.

    “In either case, that’s not how we should be deciding public policy, especially when it comes to our children.’’

    Goldman said he and other parents have analyzed longer day studies listed on the Chicago Public School website as supporting Emanuel’s call for a 7 1/2 hour school day, and they are, at best, “mixed.’’

    In fact, when the Sun-Times called the author of one analysis of 15 studies cited by CPS as proof that longer school days work, Erika Patall of the University of Texas said the evidence the studies cited was “weak’’ and their conclusions were “very tentative” because “a good deal of the research does not rule out something other than time causing the improvement.’’

    Parents also questioned CPS contentions that the system needed a 7.5 hour school day to get “on par with other districts.’’ CPS officials have said their numbers were based on weekly instructional minutes in a National Center for Education Statistics chart, multiplied out annually.

    However, an author of the NCES report told the Sun-Times that the chart was based on weekly teacher minutes, not student minutes, of instruction. Plus, the NCES researcher said, every district counts school days differently, so NCES would never extrapolate student instructional minutes in a year from one week’s worth of teacher instructional minutes.

    “In putting it all together, somebody is making a lot of assumptions,’’ the NCES researcher said of the CPS calculations. “We do not do that at the National Center for Education Statistics.’’

    Members of the Chicago Parents for Quality Education said they want a longer school day than the current 5 3/4 hours in most CPS elementary schools — and one that includes the art, music and daily physical education missing in many schools — but they don’t want the longest day in the nation.

    Asked to respond to charges they were misinterpreting or spinning the data, CPS officials referred the Sun-Times to research summarized by the National Center for Time and Learning that CPS said supports a longer school day. Included there was the research that Patall described as “weak.’’ Schools will have the “autonomy to add the enrichment they need’’ in a longer day, and the extra time, combined with tougher learning standards and a new teacher evaluation framework, should “improve teaching and learning in every classroom,’’ CPS officials said.

    “This is about more than adding time to the school day — we’re strategically investing in initiatives that will ensure that additional time is quality time, and the result is to boost student achievement,’’ CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said in an email.

    Parents Monday delivered a white paper entitled “The Best Education, or Just the Longest?” to Emanuel’s fifth-floor City Hall office and demanded a meeting with the mayor. Their white paper contended that CPS has “seemingly ignored strategies that are backed by research” — such as early childhood education, reduced class size and individualized tutoring. Parents questioned how CPS could spend the $1,300 per pupil that Massachusetts spent lengthening its school day when CPS is anticipating a $700 million deficit.

    Without more funding, said parent coalition member Wendy Katten, CPS’ longer day plan amounts to “reform on the cheap.’’

    CPS says it will come up with the money for a longer day by reprioritizing its budget.

    Katten said the new parent coalition includes parents from Rogers Park to Beverly, from Logan Square to Lakeview and from Pilsen to Portage Park.

    Also Monday, the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign released a new survey indicating that CPS elementary teachers work far more than the 5 3/4 hours in a day listed in their contract.

    A survey of 983 CPS teachers with an 8.5 percent response rate indicated CPS teachers are actually at school an average of almost nine hours per day and spend almost two hours more working at home in the evening.

    “The length of the school day discussion appears to ignore the reality that teachers are already working a very long day,’’ according to Beyond the Classroom: an Analysis of a Chicago Public School Teacher’s Actual Workday.

  • 12. anonymous  |  April 10, 2012 at 9:08 am


    More on the topic at Huff Po

  • 13. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman  |  April 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

    “Most parents” aren’t saying anything. No one I work with or who sends kids to CPS schools has been polled on anything regarding the length of the school day.

    And how cool do you think that Goldman guy is for getting the word “Extrapolate” into a quote?

  • 14. junior  |  April 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

    7.5 hours is now 7 hours. Figured this was coming. I think Rahm would have optimally wanted to wait to do this further on down the road in the CTU negotiations, but I think growing parent pressure has lead him to try to take the air out of that balloon.


  • 15. Coco  |  April 11, 2012 at 11:06 am

    We know timing is everything. The school budget was supposed to be released this week, sounds like it has been pushed to May. Instead we have an announcement about the 7 hour day. It gives me dejavu with tier shifts. It feels like political ping-pong.

  • 16. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    This is all political…when the contracts are signed and dusts settled..it will be a 6.5 day!

  • 17. jillwohl  |  April 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Rally for Quality (not Quality) Education this Friday April 13 at 4 pm. Meet at Clark/Randolph and walk to the Mayor’s Office. Bring signs with pictures that represent the myriad things that have been missing from public education. Illinois is dead last — 50th out of 50 states in the percent of funding allocated to public school students, and it shows. For more information join the Raise Your Hand Facebook group:

  • 18. Angie  |  April 12, 2012 at 7:03 am

    @17. jillwohl: “Rally for Quality (not Quality) Education this Friday April 13 at 4 pm. ”

    So who is going to be there? The teachers who have a day off, yet again, and stay at home moms? Others are usually at work at this time of the day.

    Quality education starts with teachers’ ability to teach even the most disadvantaged kids and maintain the order in the classroom, and the district’s ability to get rid of the bad teachers in spite of the union protection. I’m looking forward to signs demanding that!

  • 19. jillwohl  |  April 12, 2012 at 8:51 am

    @18 Angie, I hear you — advocating for quality public education is a full time job, and my husband and I (thank goodness) each already have one. The rally is at 4 p.m. on Friday to hopefully accomodate parents working in or near the Loop. If you can’t make it, you can show that you want the Mayor and the city of Chicago to prioritize QUALITY not QUANTITY by signing this petition: https://www.change.org/petitions/provide-a-quality-funded-school-day

  • 20. Grinch  |  April 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

    To somewhat quote the Grinch, “oh the noise noise noise noise noise, the thing I can’t stand anymore is all the noise!” Agree with first post that “most parents” are fine with this and the noisy few will keep making noise no matter what happens. Maybe they should just move to the suburbs if they can’t support something good for the majority of kids in cps. I really just don’t get their point anymore. Are they just complaining for the sake of complaining at this point?

  • 21. King Ph.d.  |  April 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    @20 Grinch – I have to say that the noise I hear is a delight to my ears. It is the sound of democracy and reform. I have been involved with several efforts to influence policy at the board level. It is disheartening to tell you how often the information or representations I have gotten from CPS officials have been misrepresentations or outright lies delivered with an ernest smile. Each time, when confronted by the light of day and fresh air (read media coverage), the position of the bureaucracy reverts closer to the truth. if you look at the coverage of the longer day over time by Eric Zorn and and Rosalind Rossi, you will see the research and justification presented by the board in support of the longer day was not true. We had to scream to get them to be honest.

    The problem with lies and misrepresentations about the facts is that policy based on incorrect information will not yield desired results.

    These misrepresentations have serious consequences. For example, the last time I checked, there were no WMD’s in Iraq. How would our Federal Budget look if we had not been fighting a war under false pretenses? “How many lives and how much treasure might have been saved” to paraphrase Senator Byrd from West Virginia, yet he screamed alone in the Senate.

    What about the suggestion that homeownership is the key method to accumulate wealth for poorer people? Loans were given to people that were unlikely/unwilling/unable to pay mortgage payments. The relationship between homeownership and wealth accumulation was a correlation, not causal. This is a boring detail, but the difference was huge. What would our economy look like if somebody screamed bloody murder when the Federal Reserve of Boston issued this lousy research?

    It is a pity there is not more screaming going on about the Mayor’s infrastructure trust. It is my guess that it will cost us more than selling bonds to finance projects. Yes we have to tax to pay bonds, but rest assured there will be costs to taxpayers to pay back the trust.

    What we will lose is the ability to talk to your alderman to influence what work will be done. To me this is less democratic.

    The City of Harrisburg Pa. has defaulted on an incinerator deal. They can’t afford to pay for basic city services. Do you want Chicago without Police protection because the Trust gets their fee based income before the Cops get paid?

  • 22. a  |  April 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    The matter of the fact is, CPS is trying to use a blanket policy when CPS schools are extremely diverse in achievement levels. As my teacher put “if they want to fix the schools, they have to fix the neighborhoods, and poverty first”. Her point being, my school is fortunate enough that most of our students have a family with sufficient income but again, as she put it, “how can i expect my student to care about school, when they don’t even know where their next meal is going to come from, or worried about whether or not their drug addict parent is going to beat them again tonight”. Burning students out with more time in school is not going to help anything, our students notice we’re like zombies by the time we end school now as it is. Also, in areas where drop-out rates are already high, and students don’t exactly care as much will be even more discouraged, drop out rates will soar in the exact areas that the board is trying to FIX. Not to mention, our teachers are people, they are not dogs. Even babysitters get paid extra if they work extra time. The union is currently suing CPS for not giving the 4% raises promised in the contract (which they found that CPS had used the money on other things for) and now they want to increase their hours for no pay. This is ridiculous, frankly, a teacher strike is inevitable unless CPS finds the money to pay all these teachers for their extra time, which only works AGAINST us in the end.

  • 23. Angie  |  April 13, 2012 at 7:01 am

    22. a: “As my teacher put “if they want to fix the schools, they have to fix the neighborhoods, and poverty first”.”

    That’s just a convenient excuse for not doing their jobs. If CPS wants to fix the schools, they need to have teachers and administration who know how to teach under those conditions. If a school fails year after year, then it is pretty obvious that the adults, not kids are at fault and should be shown the door.

    How do you fix poverty, anyway? You know the saying about giving the man a fish vs. teaching him how to fish. That is what the schools for these kids should be about – teaching how to break the poverty cycle by learning the skills necessary to get a good job in the future.

  • 24. Mommy  |  April 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

    While I understand poverty is an undue burden on the youth of this city, in education, it has kind of become the “pass the buck” mantra to do nothing and reamin status quo. Of course, poverty is a factor and there are thousands of organizations that try to help including many resources within CPS. Unfortunately, all these efforts are fragmented and while they truly help many individuals, they are not collectively working together. So it seems like nothing is scalable to add up to more than what one single organization can do with their limited not for profit budgets. I know this is idealistic, but I wonder if there is a way to harnes all the good intent and really “teach these communities to fish.”

  • 25. Chicago Mama  |  April 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    @18 – The KIDS had the day off today. The teachers were working. Professional development. This is the last PD day in the year. I know my kids’ teachers were re-adjusting their plan to a 7-hour day.

  • 26. anonymouseteacher  |  April 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    @18, I didn’t have the day off and neither did any other teacher. We had meetings and work to do the entire day, according to laws set out by the Illinois State Board of Education. If you don’t like all the PD days the people you need to contact are ISBE. Those are the ONLY people capable of changing the PD requirement.

  • 27. Sped Mom  |  April 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    As a sped mom, I want the longest freaking day possible to come into some more minutes of service for my kid. But, that’s me thinking ONLY about my kid. Just my 2 cents.

  • 28. SN pioneer parent  |  April 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Enjoying the longer day, for what it’s worth. SN took the right approach in getting parents’ and teachers’ input on how to structure the longer day.

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