Emanuel wants Sunday sermons to push longer school day

Kids are missing out on 10,000 minutes of instruction per year, mayor tells pastors.

August 25, 2011

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has set the topic for sermons in Chicago churches this Sunday. 

Emanuel is locked in a battle with the teachers union over lengthening the school day. Thursday morning, at a breakfast with faith leaders, Emanuel made it clear he's taking that battle to the pews.

"Now I know the pastors are for a longer school day and a longer school year. I ask each of you to speak in  your sermon this Sunday about education. I want you to specifically speak about the need for a longer school day and school year so our kids aren’t cheated 10,000 minutes of quality education from those great teachers that are in the classroom," Emmanuel told the crowd of mostly African American preachers.

He said students nationwide spend an average of 67,000 minutes in class, and said the equivalent for Chicago is 57,000 minutes.

CPS this week proposed adding 90 more minutes to the elementary school day, with a small raise for teachers.

The union rejected that offer Thursday, saying it would force teachers to work 29 percent more time for 2 percent more pay.

The school district is collecting petitions from pastors that read, “I do attest that I am in full support of lengthening the school day and school year, not next year, but right now.” 

CPS says 200 pastors have signed so far.