Are Chicago charter schools doing what public schools want to do, but better?
Juan Rangel, CEO of United Neighborhood Organization Charter schools, told reporters during a Q&A after a town hall Thursday that UNO schools not only are adding 30 more days to the normal 170-day school year, but they also are lengthening the school day to seven-and-a-half hours.
Rangel touched on another sore subject for public school teachers: pay raises. UNO teachers will get a 5.1 percent increase, Rangel said, something CPS teachers continue to fight for after board members rejected a contractually obligated four percent annual raise last week.
"We have long waiting lists," Rangel said.
But Mayor Rahm Emanuel during the town hall Q&A said it's not a competition between the two entities. "It's not charter vs. public schools," Emanuel said. "It's good vs. bad."
CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard, who talked with parents this month during his listening tour about using UNO's “parent contract’’ as a template for public schools, said the current CPS schedule "is criminal" and outdated.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Chicago teachers rallied against a school board vote in favor of pay raises for school executives, including a base compensation of $250,000 a year for Brizard.
"We're disappointed," CTU President Karen Lewis said of the pay increases in a statement. "Chicago teachers could never look forward to raises that generous."