Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel still wants a longer school day for Chicago Public School children. But after Tuesday, he backed off, slightly, on his request to go from the shortest school day in America to the longest.
Emanuel, who has been pushing for an increase from 5 3/4 hour day to a 7 1/2 hour day, said during a press conference at the Disney Magnet School Tuesday that we would amend his order to just 7 hours.
“Knowledge is the key to the future in today’s world – you earn what you learn. By having the shortest school day and shortest school year of any major city, we shortchanged Chicago’s children,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By adopting a longer day and a longer year, we are working to shape the future of our children for the better and give them an education that matches up with their potential.”
The mayor capitulated after meeting with concerned parents who think 7 1/2 hours is just too long.
CPS Chief Jean-Claude Brizard announced the changes in a separate email.
“The changes to the full day reflect hours spent listening to parents and taking action based on their input and demonstrate our willingness to work as true partners with parents to make decisions that will boost student achievement across the district,” Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said in a press release.
The longer school day has also been a point of contention between the city and the Chicago Teacher's Union who argue that they're being asked to do more work for less pay.
CTU President Karen Lewis released a statement shortly after the press conference, and called one of her own for 1 p.m.
“It’s about time the mayor listened to parents about the length of the school day,” Lewis said in the release, “now give our students the neighborhood schools, resources and support they deserve. Teachers have said this from the beginning: This is about quality not quantity.”
Teachers recently took a mock strike vote at 120 area schools. About 90 voted in favor of a strike and appear ready for a work stoppage should negotiations break down.