The Longer School Day

Nancy Anderson
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Taking a short break from my recent posts on interview tips and questions for use during the job search, we move to a report from the "front lines" on the new longer school day that some areas have implemented.

Thirteen public school in the Chicago area started the longer day schedule in the week following winter break, which was accomplished after the teachers voted to waive certain sections of their union contracts allowing the school day to be lengthened to seven and a half hours; this is up from the normal five and three-quarters hours currently in place for most schools. In exchange for this contract change, the teachers received an additional pay increase and the schools also.

The Chicago Teachers Union opposes the change, and accuses the officials of "unlawfully coercing and bribing teachers at individual schools in an attempt to 'make the union irrelevant'” says one report. But for those in the schools, the politics behind it all is not at the forefront of their mind; but instead, they are looking at how to make the longer day work efficiently.

The thirteen schools that implemented this new longer day will continue to be watched closely through the rest of the year, as the plans to implement longer days in all Chicago public schools is set to in place next year. This would make Chicago the first major city in recent years that has made such a change district-wide.

There is a lot of support for the change, but with it comes many questions: What will schools do with the additional time? Will teachers be compensated? Can young children handle the longer school day? How will this affect extracurricular activities for students?

Each of the schools will have to figure out how best to use the time for their particular area. It was announced that the schools with the most innovative plans for using the extra time, will be awarded $100,000 each. These new schedules are to be turned in by the end of February, and may be used as a template for a district-wide application of the extra time.

Aside from all of the bells and whistles of the extra time and the politics running the show, one big aspect is making sure even the teachers and administrators are prepared and able to make the necessary adjustments in their daily routine to best accommodate this change.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Please share below.

Jeff McCormack resides in Virginia Beach, VA. where he works as a web designer by day. In his off time he is a husband, father, mail order book store manager, and musician. Aside from being a freelance writer for this Education Jobsite blog, he also seeks to assist in career choices and information by contributing to other Nexxt blog sites.


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