Some Chicago Schools Approving Longer Days

Long known for having one of the shortest school days in the United States, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) may finally be able to shed that image. Or at least some schools in that district will be able to: as of September 2011, 13 CPS institutions have voted to provide 90 minutes of additional instructional time each day. But despite the academic benefits, does this move sit well with everyone involved?

Find available tutors

Longer Days Long Overdue?

By most accounts, kids certainly benefit from more time spent in school. In 2008, for example, schools in Massachusetts that added about two hours to the day made faster improvements than other schools in the state. And within the schools themselves? Marked increases as compared to the previous four years without the extra instruction time were observed in math (up 44%), English language arts (39%) and science (19%).

Getting CPS to incorporate longer school days has long been a goal of past administrators, including former CPS chairman and current U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Duncan, who headed CPS from 2001 until his appointment as Secretary of Education in 2009, has called his inability to institute longer school days in the CPS system during his tenure as CEO a 'big regret.'

So why is the change coming now? According to the Chicago Sun-Times it seems due to the tactics used by the Chicago Board of Education and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who are offering a monetary incentive to teachers to vote for the longer day. This incentive has come in the form of a bonus equaling about two percent of a teacher's annual salary.

Schools, too, will reap the benefits: up to $150,000 in discretionary funds are awarded to those schools adding the extra 90 minutes to each day. And it seems to be working: in addition to the six schools that began the longer daily schedule at the start of the new academic year, seven others have voted to lengthen their school day beginning in January.

Union Outcry

One organization that is not happy about the favorable votes for longer school days is the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). An outspoken opponent of the immediate adoption of the longer day (the union does not oppose longer days themselves and is only calling for more time to adequately plan such a change), CTU has accused CPS and Mayor Emanuel of 'emotional blackmail', bribery and coercion in getting the schools to vote in their favor.

After Skinner North Elementary and Genevieve Melody Elementary schools voted to increase their days shortly before Labor Day weekend, CTU issued a statement that read, in part: 'What the CPS has done is to pressure employees at two schools to agree to longer work. They don't know anything about the curriculum. They don't know how much they'll be paid. They don't know what is being offered to our students. This is taking advantage of teachers who care about our children.'

CTU has gone on to say that fair labor practices and the collective bargaining agreement with CPS have been violated. The union filed an unfair labor lawsuit against the Board of Education in early September. Such a move has not been popular with proponents of the longer school day.

Alderman Ed Burke spoke out harshly against the union's decision, telling the Chicago Sun-Times: 'I'm starting to get embarrassed at the attitude of some leaders of organized labor. They seem to be obstructing the end goal that so many people agree needs to happen.'

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    How to Teach Your Kids to Use the Internet Responsibly

    A question for parents: would you allow your children to play outside without keeping an eye on them? Many would likely say no. Well, the same mentality should be used when your kids use the Internet; in other words, kids should not be allowed to roam the vast world of the Internet unsupervised and without fully understanding its...

  • More Blog Articles
    How to Talk to Your Kids About Bullying

    If you have a child in elementary, middle or high school, then you've likely heard plenty of stories about bullying. Even if your child is not the target of bullying, he or she could still be affected by it. As a parent, you'll certainly want to make your kids aware of this persistent and growing problem in schools across the...

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth