Brizard fields listener questions on Chicago schools

Schools CEO addresses the push for a longer school day, special education, magnet schools.

September 2, 2011

WBEZ

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Chicago schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard takes calls from the public about a range of school issues.

Hundreds of thousands of Chicago Public Schools students are getting ready for the new school year. For parents, teachers and school administrators, it’s a time to grapple with what it will take to help kids succeed.

WBEZ wants you to be a part of the discussion. Chicago schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard joins WBEZ monthly to take listener calls, answer questions and hear concerns during our call-in program Schools on the Line. Listen to the entire September broadcast by clicking the play button below.

Be sure to join us on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m.  And if you have questions you'd like to submit in advance, call us at 312.948.4886. Email us at schoolsontheline@wbez.org, or tweet at @AskBrizard.

The following are audio excerpts from September's call-in show:

Brizard responding to a question about a longer school day

“We’d love to see as many schools as possible do this as quickly as possible—responsibly of course….We hope to have some schools begin this process as soon as maybe January.... We’ve heard from principals who tell us, ‘We can do this right now.’ … We were hoping to get all of the elementary schools to do this in January, but the CTU said no to the proposal. So right now we’re talking to principals….We’re talking to a lot of our principals see which ones have the staff who are willing to be pioneers in this work.”

Bilingual education

“There is a tremendous commitment to second language teaching in our district, although I’d like to see more of it. If you look in the last budget, we actually made sure to keep that program whole. It’s one of those investments that we made in classrooms around World Languages, despite the massive shortfall.”

Brizard on art and music in the longer day

“I’m talking to young people and teachers in schools in poor parts of our community where they have phys ed once a week, where they have art maybe six months out of the school year and  music flips to the other side. Those kinds of tradeoffs we shouldn’t have to make, and I think a longer school day will allow principals and teachers to do all of the above…. But we want to make sure schools are focusing on what they see as great need based on student achievement scores.”

Brizard on what parents can do to create more gifted and magnet programs in needy neighborhoods

Brizard on whether he will push Emanuel to release TIF funds for schools to use

Brizard on a lack of sports offerings

“Sometimes it comes back to funding, it comes back to being able to find a coach or support to actually make that happen. It really goes to offering kids something beyond basketball….”