Chicago Public School leaders are toying with the idea of a longer school day, with students at the 100 most troubled elementary schools in classrooms for eight hours per day, not six.
First through eighth graders would attend school earlier or leave later, with the day beginning for some at 7am and ending at 5pm.
The Sun-Times reports that CPS would staff the extra hours with non-teachers supervising computerized classes in math and reading.
CPS has the dubious distinction of having one of the shortest school days in the state. Leaders stress the plan is preliminary and contingent on next year's budget.
In Englewood, Bontemps Elementary Principal Allen Mosley loves the idea; his school already has a similar program which is working wonders.
"We're the only school district, I believe that has a shortened school day," he said. "So I think an extended day would do better for the students."
On the flip side is Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart. She said she has no problem with extending the school day, but wonders how the district will pay for it when its already $600 million in the hole.
She also takes exception to the use of non-teachers or proctors to supervise those classes, calling them "glorified babysitters."
"They can't afford to fund the regular school day; how could they talk about lengthening the day at a time when they're cutting classes?" she asked. "They're going to put 35 to 37 students in a classroom. They're laying off highly qualified teachers to lengthen the school day with people who are not teachers."
The Sun-Times reports that using proctors is a realistic cost-containment measure because computers would be doing most of the teaching.
Mayor Daley is one of those championing the extended school day. If funding comes through in Springfield, the pilot could be launched in September.
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