From The Chicago Tribune: Six Chicago Public Schools extended their school days by 90 minutes beginning Monday, the culmination of a contentious push by district leaders and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to increase one of the shortest school days in the nation. The district is expected next year to expand the school day by 90 instructional minutes at every school; this year, district officials have created incentives, including 2 percent teacher salary bonuses and up to $150,000 in school discretionary money, to schools that break from the teachers union contract and begin the longer day right away.
From The Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union officials have crafted a proposed schedule that adds 75 minutes to the typical public elementary school student’s day. The union’s latest salvo in the battle over a longer school day uses as a comparison point the schedule of one third-grade classroom at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, union officials say. The proposal offers a well-rounded curriculum featuring far more art, music, physical education and other extras than most public school kids now get in Chicago. The proposal does not require Chicago Public School teachers to add any minutes to their work day. However, the schedule is 15 minutes shorter per day for kids than the one proposed for next school year by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. And it probably would require many schools to hire extra teachers to provide the kind of enrichment that the Lab School now offers.
Earlier...from The Chicago Tribune: The tongue-lashings Chicago's public schools have endured in the last several weeks over its short school day have overshadowed the fact that that many suburban students aren't receiving much more instruction time than those in the city. The length of the school day varies tremendously from district to district in Illinois. State school officials can't say how much it varies, though, because so many districts incorrectly report the length of their day.
Also from The Chicago Tribune: The Chicago Teachers Union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the school district to block any more elementary schools from signing waivers and lengthening their school days. The union accuses the district of unfair labor practices and of coercing union members to sign the waivers, which allow them to opt out of the existing teachers contract. The complaint contends that the district threatened to close schools if teachers did not approve contract modifications; interrogated teachers about their union activities; directed teachers to report their communications with the union; and banned union representatives from consulting with teachers before they were coerced into waiving parts of their labor contract.
From The Chicago Tribune: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, in an effort to add 90 minutes to school day, are offering financial incentives to elementary schools that adopt the plan. Furious union officials have accused the leaders of using "emotional blackmail" against teachers at three elementaries who approved the contract waivers last week, and they filed a labor grievance in an effort to nullify those votes. The district and the union are in the middle of negotiations over 4 percent raises in the union contract that the district withdrew in June. Two weeks ago, the union rejected an offer to exchange a 2 percent salary increase for a longer school day.
AUGUST 2011...from The Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has rejected an offer of a 2 percent raise for working a 90-minute-longer school day. She says teachers would not be “bullied” by public attempts to push through a slapdash plan.
News release: Chicago Public School officials have announced plans to extend the shortest school day in the nation by an additional 90 minutes and lengthen the school year by two weeks. National research and education experts point to the correlation between a longer day and year and improved student performance. The priorities set forth for a longer school day: spending more time on core academic subjects; providing opportunities for students to work on literacy skills; broadening enrichment opportunities; give students an adequate mid-day lunch and recess period; providing students with interventions and supports to help improve skills in math, science and core subjects; providing more time for teachers to collaborate in groups to develop strong learning environments.