During Chicago’s year-long fight over how long the school day should be, parents rallied for more art, music and physical education classes.
Those subjects, union leaders and parent advocates said, had been pushed out of schools in the name of standardized testing over the last decade. With a longer school day, parents and teachers wanted to bring them back.
In late July, the school district and the Chicago Teachers Union reached an agreement over the longer school day. Under the agreement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel got the controversial longer day he’d been pushing for since his election; in exchange, he agreed to add nearly 500 new positions.
Chicago Public Schools hiring data obtained by WBEZ suggests that the mayor followed through on that promise, at least for the most part.
At the time of the agreement, the district committed to 477 new positions for the full school day. As of the end of October, 355 had been hired.
The data obtained through a Freedom of Information request shows that about 40 percent of the teachers hired for the longer school day filled art, music, or physical education openings. A decent number of computer and foreign language teachers were also hired.
The union pushed hard to have displaced tenured teachers make up the hiring pool, but a clause in the agreement said at least three qualified applicants from that same pool had to apply for the positions in order to guarantee that a principal couldn’t “hire off the street.”
But the hiring data shows that provision didn’t pan out as well as the union might have hoped. As of the end of October, just 104 displaced teachers had been hired under the longer day agreement and the rest, about 70 percent of them, were non-tenured or new employees.
The positions added under the agreement were also temporary and only guaranteed through the first semester. That means in January, principals could let go of the “full school day” teachers. However, CPS spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus said the positions are budgeted through the end of the year.
In addition to the teachers added for the longer school day, 288 displaced teachers found permanent jobs elsewhere in the district by the end of October. Sainvilus said that number is now 328, but did not immediately have an updated breakdown.
Teachers union staff coordinator Jackson Potter said displaced teachers prefered permanent positions over the more temporary "full school day" positions.
He said this data is promising but just “the tip of the iceberg.”
“There are still many schools that suffer from woefully inadequate staffing levels,” Potter said. “It’s really a patchwork quilt and we have to investigate carefully to ensure that every student is being provided these things and it’s not just random.”
Potter also noted that because enrollment drives hiring, many of the schools deemed “under enrolled” probably didn’t get any new hires.
|Subject area||"full school day" hires||from displaced teacher pool||new or non-tenured|
|Subject area||Displaced teachers hired|