Why won’t the Chicago Teacher’s Union Support a Longer School Day?

Elena Silva:

There has been plenty of chatter in the past weeks about Chicago’s plans to extend its school days by 90 minutes. An editorial in today’s Washington Post asks why won’t the Chicago Teachers’ Union support a longer school day? Well, they are a union, which is designed to protect teachers pay and work. But this aside, how many people do you know that would accept 2 percent more pay for more than 20 percent more work?
Teachers at more than a dozen CPS schools have agreed to the terms, and more will likely sign on in the coming weeks. They are the heroes of this editorial because they are “willing to buck the union leadership” and because, we are reminded, it’s all about the student. Except it’s not just about the student. Remember that most important in-school factor for student learning that needs better systems for evaluation, training, support, promotion and pay? We held a focus group recently with about a dozen teachers from Chicago-they were open to talking about evaluation reforms and career ladders and differential pay structures. But the 2 percent for 90 more minutes a day? At least this one small group was entirely against it.

One thought on “Why won’t the Chicago Teacher’s Union Support a Longer School Day?”

  1. Longer school days, year-round school, cutting out recess, 4k schools, teacher merit pay, teacher accountability, value-added, and a slough of other initiatives I don’t see as anything but grasping at straws.
    Haven’t we seen fads of all sorts tried and abandoned? They’ve been tried because somebody (perhaps with best-seller book of his/her opinions and anecdotes) has lobbied someone with money to try this new thing, then with money available, grants written and grants awarded to college education departments and individual school districts, all with great fanfare, to implement, promote, study and publish.
    I’m skeptical. Could someone please put a list together of anything that has worked? I’m drawing a blank.
    Why should teachers or parents believe a longer day will work? What is the plan for how those extra hours will be used? At the end of a current day, when both students and teachers are spent, and homework and grading homework and lesson planning still needs be prepared for the next day, how effective will be another couple of hours?
    If education is ineffective for many, adding 1 1/2 hours of that ineffectiveness to the end of the day is unlikely to accomplish much.

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