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Chicago schools: 90 more minutes a day, 2 extra weeks

Ninety extra minutes per day, and two additional weeks per year. That’s what Chicago Public Schools says the city's new school calendar will look like beginning in the fall of 2012.

Schools will be required to spend part of their extra time on reading, math and science, but they’ll also be able to add recess, more lunch, the arts, music or gym.

In a press announcement that cast test scores in the worst possible light, CPS officials said the longer day is needed to boost achievement.

They announced an advisory committee to help schools figure out how to implement the longer day, and named Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis as a member.

That sent sparks flying.

The union called the committee a “publicity stunt” and said Lewis would not be on it. In a written statement, Lewis said the committee was loaded with charter school proponents, politicians, and “union-busting advocacy groups."

CPS says Lewis initially agreed to be on the committee, and confirmed as recently as last week.

A new state law allows the district to unilaterally lengthen the school day, but teachers can ask for more money in return.

District spokeswoman Becky Carroll said CPS will begin preparing principals as soon as next month for the switch to a longer day. "The goal is to start this conversation now, so when we hit August 2012 we have the smoothest transition possible," said Carroll.


Longer School Day Advisory Committee Members include:

Jeff Bartow - Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP)
Clarice Berry - Chicago Principals & Administrators Association
Christine Boardman - Service Employee International Union (SEIU Local 73)
Brian Brady - The Mikva Challenge
Dr. Byron Brazier - Apostolic Church of God
Sarah Cobb - Neighborhood Parents Network
Celine Coggins - Teach Plus
Eva-Dina Delgado - Chicago Transit Authority
Pastor Wilfredo De Jesus - New Life Covenant Church
Guillermo Gomez - Healthy Schools Campaign
Patrick Haugh - Chicago Public Education Fund  
Timothy Knowles - Urban Education Institute
Sen. Kimberly Lightford - 4th District
Phyllis Locket - New Schools for Chicago
Michael Milkie - Noble Street Charter
Father Michael Pfleger - Faith Community of Saint Sabina
Carlos Ponce - Chicago Housing Authority
Michael Rodriguez - Enlace
Ellen Schumer - Community Organizing & Family Issues (COFI)
Juan Soto - Pilsen Neighbors Community Council
Robin Steans - Advance Illinois
Ald. Latasha Thomas - 17th Ward/Education Committee
Father Bruce Wellems - Holy Cross – Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church



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