Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced yesterday that the district’s new longer school day will be 7 hours, not 7.5, as he had previously demanded. Though not the 6.5 hours that many parents have been asking for, this is clearly a major victory for the newly-formed coalition, Chicago Parents for Quality Education (of which PAA’s Chicago affiliate, Parents United for Responsible Education – PURE- is a member). CPQE started a petition drive against the 7.5 hour day and held a press conference to express parents’ opposition to the Mayor’s proposal, which started as a campaign slogan last spring.
Kudos to all the organizers who pulled together an impressive, diverse collection of parent and community groups who have had their fill of the arrogant, unresponsive, irresponsible school board and administration. The group did their homework by preparing a position paper that soundly refuted the Mayor’s careless misstatements and outright lies about the effectiveness of lengthening the school day and the facts about school day length around the US. They rounded out their position with a strong argument about what a better school day should look like, and made it clear that parents are ready and willing to fight for that vision.
It’s a good day for Chicago parents and families, but the real work of bringing about that better school day is truly just beginning.