Rahm Emanuel Pledges That Chicago's School Days Will Get Longer

By Anna Deem in News on Apr 16, 2011 6:30PM

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Photo by: joshuamellin
Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel announced on Friday that students in Chicago's public schools will possibly be spending an extra hour or hour and a half in school each day once new legislation is passed in Springfield. "We're not going to negotiate or discuss whether children get more instruction—we will work together so that gets done. I'm not deviating from that. I was clear about it," Emanuel said after speaking at a South Side charter school, via the Chicago Sun-Times. Emanuel also said that while the issue of the school day getting longer is not up for negotiation, teacher's possible pay raises will be considered.

Emanuel said he feels so strongly about longer school days that he would like the new legislation to be passed for this coming school year. Currently, a typical school day for CPS lasts from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. "Every year for the last nine years, pay has been increased by 4 percent. Instructional time: zero. Those are facts. Which is why we have the shortest school day and shortest school year of any major city," said Emanuel to the Sun-Times.

Liz Brown, the spokeswoman for the Chicago Teachers Union, doesn't agree with Emanuel's figures. The union issued a fact-sheet that noted how the school day was extended 15 minutes after contract talks in 2004. It also mentioned that the 4 percent pay raises are from seven years ago, not nine. While the state House of Representatives prepares to vote on the legislation—which the State senate passed 59-0 this week—Emanuel said via the Chicago Tribune that there needs to be more discussion about how much teachers will get paid and what new things children will learn.