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More Schools in Chicago Lengthen the School Day

Update in Chicago: Forty additional schools just joined an original cadre of 11 schools that have lengthened the school year. Thirty-eight of these schools are charters, the Chicago Tribune reports.

All schools are part of the Longer School Day Pioneer Pilot that lengthens the day to 7.5 hours. The extra time is used for instruction in core subjects, teacher planning, and in some cases, arts, enrichment, and recess. Prior to the initiative, Chicago public schools had some of the shortest days in the country. By next year, all schools will have the longer schedule. See background here.

The second batch of schools will cost $75,000 per school, $800 per teacher. That brings total spending on the longer-day initiative to $7 million. At the beginning of the school year, the district dealt with flack from the teachers' union about the initiative, arguing that it was coercing teachers to get buy-in for the longer days.

So far, the district says it has received support for the extended-day plan, according to the article. However, one parent group, Raise Your Hand, says it's polled parents who, while wanting a longer day, think 7.5 hours is too long.

As quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times, "We continue to hear the message that people wanted a longer day; they just didn't want the longest day in the nation. We're not picking an exact time, but we think 7.5 hours is too long," said Wendy Katten, co-founder of the group.

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