One of his favorite subjects, Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke to a breakfast with the United Way, saying the longer school day is not a question of whether schools will change, but a question of when.
Thursday, a fourth school, Benjamin May Elementary in Englewood, agreed to extend their day in exchange for incentives from the city.
In the meantime, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan weighed in, saying Chicago deserves a badge of shame for having the shortest day and year among large urban districts. Duncan was in Indiana Thursday and Chicago Friday.
Duncan is on a bus tour of the Midwest, stopping in Chicago Friday at Schurz High School, 3601 N. Milwaukee. He was joined by Emanuel, Sen. Dick Durbin and Governor Pat Quinn as they held a panel discussion on Education and the Economy.
He said he would have done something about the school day when he was CEO of schools, but the system couldn't afford it.
The Chicago Teachers Union Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the CPS administration. The unfair practices grievance was filed with the Illiinois Educational Labor Relations Board, naming Jean-Claud Brizard. The union said CPS violated the contract by threatening and coercing CTU-represented teachers and to modify the school day and compensation.
The Chicago Teachers Union has harshly criticized Emanuel for the way he is going about lengthening the day, accusing him of bribery, intimidation and unfair tactics.
The teachers union said they do not oppose a longer school day, but want fair compensation for it and want a voice in how the extra 90 minutes are spent.
Chicago's city council debated the issue Thursday, with Ald. Ed Burke (14th) saying the fight with the teacher's union is causing embarrassment.
Teachers at Benjamin May received a 2 percent pay raise and other perks in exchange for agreeing to work a longer day and breaking their contract. The longer days begin in January.
Secretary Duncan will meet with Mayor Emanuel and new schools Chief Jean-Claude Brizard about the issue Friday and will participate in a panel on education reform at Schurz High School on the Northwest Side.