Another School Approves Longer Day

Benjamin E. Mays Elementary Academy became Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new favorite school on Thursday.

The Englewood school went against union opinion Thursday morning and voted to approve a 90-minute longer day, an initiative Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard have publicly lauded for months.

Eighty-one percent of teachers approved a waiver that adds the extra instructional time to their school day starting in January.

Benjamin E. Mays joins three other schools that voted last week in favor of the longer day.

Two CPS schools, Genevieve Melody Elementary School and Skinner North Classical School, have already added the 90 minutes to their day. A third, STEM Magnet Academy, will extend its day by 90 minutes beginning in January.
“This is another historic step forward in bringing the change we need to help our children get the world class education they deserve in every community," Emanuel, Brizard and CPS Board President David Vitale said in a statement. "Our children continue to lag behind their peers across the nation despite the hard work of teachers."

Emanuel and Brizard announced this week incentives for schools that lengthen their day. Those that do so immediately will be given $150,000 each and a lump sum for teachers of $1,275, or two percent equal to the average teacher's salary.

Schools that lengthen the day in the new year will receive $75,000 and lump sum payouts of $800 for teachers.

But Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis wants to slow things down and appropriately plan for the longer day to make it as affective as possible.

"We want to make sure that this year is what we use to plan for a better school day," Lewis said.
"Quality is infinitely more important [than quantity]."

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