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.