Rahm goes long

stopwatch photo

You've got ninety more minutes of instructional time.
Ready? Go!
(Photo by Search Engine People Blog)

In the Chicago Public Schools, the average
school day is just five hours and eight minutes, the briefest in Illinois and
one of the shortest in the nation. (A big deal, when you lay this fact next to all
the research on the benefits of added instructional time
.) Yet efforts to
extend the day have long been derailed by the obdurate Chicago Teachers Union.
Not even Arne Duncan could alter that reality. Now enters Illinois’s newly
enacted SB7 and Chicago’s newly elected spitfire mayor, Rahm Emanuel. SB7 allows
him to unilaterally lengthen the school day, starting in 2012. Emanuel,
unimpressed with that timeline (or daunted by the CTU’s intransigence), has
embarked on a building-by-building campaign to lengthen the school day in the
Windy City. So far, teachers at six (and counting) CPS elementary schools have
voted to accept Emanuel’s offer of a two-percent raise and $150,000 in
additional school funding in return for waiving this item in their contract and
adding ninety minutes to the school day. In response to these “rogue” teachers,
the CTU has filed
against Emanuel and his school board, accusing them of unfair labor
practices. CTU officials should carefully note against whom they fight. It was
not Emanuel who signed the death certificate of Chicago’s abridged school day
but the teachers. Taking up arms against their own ranks? No good can come of

school day not that much shorter than those in some suburban districts
,” by
Joel Hood and Diane Rado, Chicago Tribune,
September 13, 2011.

at Northwest Side elementary approve longer school day
,” by Staff, Chicago Sun-Times, September 13, 2011.