CPS Chief Jean-Claude Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel say there are lessons to be learned from the city's charter schools.
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about using UNO's “parent contract’’ as a template for public schools, said the current CPS schedule "is criminal" and outdated.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."