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Boston Teachers Approve Extending the School Day

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The Boston Teachers Union voted overwhelmingly to support a proposal to lengthen the school day by 40 minutes for students in the city's elementary and middle schools in order to help boost student achievement.  

About 800 teachers—less than half the number who will be affected by the change—attended Wednesday night's meeting at the Boston Teachers Union Hall.  But they voted roughly 4-to-1 in support of the plan.

 As Education Week reported on Tuesday, under a tentative agreement announced late last month, about 1,900 teachers at some 60 schools will each receive a pay increase of $4,464 a year for the extra hours, which include 75 minutes a week for teacher planning, development, and collaboration.

Each school will decide how to use the additional time to support their students, although the agreement reached with the teachers' union, school district, and city strongly recommends that they focus on boosting academic achievement and offering a range of enrichment activities in the arts as well as computer coding, science, and foreign language courses.

"I really think that it's what's best for the students," teacher Chris-Ann Dawkins told WBUR public radio in Boston. "I think with the plans to have more arts programs, music programs, and then three additional days of actual instructional time—I think it will be really great for the students in order for them to make the gains that they need to be successful in their academic careers." 

The plan goes to the Boston School Committee, the district's governing board, for a vote later this month. If approved there, the program will be phased in over three years beginning with 20 schools next fall. When fully implemented, it's expected to cost $12.5 million a year.

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