Mayor Emanuel asked Chicago pastors to preach sermons this weekend as an endorsement for longer school days.
“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,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said to the group of pastors.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced this week to add 90 more minutes to the school day,extend the school year two more weeks, while providing teachers with a small pay increase. The union rejected the offer saying the average pay would diminish.
Teachers union president Karen Lewis said, “They’re asking us to do 28 percent more work for 2 percent – so doing the math, it’s not coming out.”
Mayor Emanuel is now turning it over to Chicago pastors. On Thursday, Mayor Emanuel met with 200 local pastors for a breakfast prayer meeting, encouraging them to address the issue in their sermons on Sunday. Pastors have continually supported education for the children in the community with the aim to keep kids off the streets.
“Now I know the pastors are for a longer school day and a longer school year. I want you to specifically speak about the need… so our kids aren’t cheated 10,000 minutes of quality education from those great teachers that are in the classroom,” Emanuel said to the preachers.
Fox Chicago reported, CPS said the move is being made to provide the critical instructional time needed to boost student achievement and ensure students graduate college and career-ready. CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said. “A longer day will give our teachers the time they need to better prepare our students for college and career readiness and allow them to plan as a group in order to benefit all of their students.”
“We are looking at leaders both locally and nationally that will help us determine what works and how we can best spend these additional minutes to have the maximum benefit for our students. We know that we must add quality instructional time to the day in order to make an impact and move our students down the path toward college and career success,” Brizard added.
State law requires elementary students to spend 308 minutes, or an average of 5.1 hours a day for 170 days, in school. High school students must spend 336 minutes, or an average of 5.6 hours a day for 170 days, in school. Most states average about 180 school days.
CPS is collecting petitions from pastors. The petition states, “I do attest that I am in full support of lengthening the school day and school year, not next year, but right now.” CPS officials say over 200 pastors have agreed thus far.
Do parents agree to these longer school days? That matter is still on the table.