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The Sun-Times outlines problems with the current state of CPS...but does not believe an elected school board is the answer.

Editorial: Elected school board’s not a better way - Chicago Sun-Times www.suntimes.comIf you want to see democracy in action, the last place to look is a monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. To make a public comment at the 10:30 a.m. meetings, you have to show up at 6 a.m. to snag a spot.

We feel that these same problems have existed for too long and that an elected school board would provide for true representation of the true stakeholders in CPS.


Advocates of the elected school board are watching our Aldermen closely...,0,4669151.story

We support an elected representative school board for CPS.


An example of what happens when municipal finances go unaudited...

California parks department discovers $54-million surplus articles.latimes.comSACRAMENTO - California's parks system stashed away nearly $54 million even as it was cutting services and threatening to close parks, a revelation that prompted the resignation of the...

We are calling for an outside audit of CPS's finances.


It's Rahm's strike...



 Chicago Sun Times Editorial: CPS plan for longer school day has too many holes

Editorials March 19, 2012 6:58AM

The closer Chicago moves toward extending the elementary school day by nearly two hours, the louder the complaining gets. And for good reason.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard want to take Chicago’s calendar, one of the shortest in the country, and make it one of the longest by lengthening the day and adding 10 more days.

The proposed 7.5-hour day in a 180-day year would be 13 percent longer than the national average and 17 percent longer than Illinois’ average, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of data provided by CPS. Isolating the minutes devoted to instruction, the elementary day would be 4 percent longer than the national average; high schools would be 2 percent below the average.

The list of issues CPS must resolve to pull off this radical change continues to grow. Issues, it should be noted, that are being raised most prominently by parents groups opposed to a 7.5-hour day, with several pushing for 6œ hours.

School leaders often characterize these parents as a “vocal minority,” but we believe they are onto something that matters to all Chicago parents. Led by the newly formed 19th Ward Parents, Raise Your Hand and others, they want CPS to speak more honestly about flaws in its plans and to stop pushing its agenda at all costs. Not only do we agree, but we think the longer school day will be better for all the poking and prodding.

This newspaper strongly supports a longer day, but we can back the full 7œ hours for all schools only if CPS can assure parents and the public it will be done right.

Topping the list of concerns is how the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools can possibly afford a 7.5-hour day that features much of what the current day lacks, including art, music, gym, recess, science and social studies.

Brizard tells us that his team is poring through the budget, making sure dollars are spent on his new strategies — including a tougher curriculum and a new teaching framework that he says can only be done in a 7œ-hour day — and deciding what to stop funding.

He said the public will get its first look in a few weeks, after he has given principals their budgets. Maybe then we’ll see whether CPS can truly afford a 7.5-hour day.

Next on the list is how to treat high-performing schools. Some parents argue that a 6œ-hour day makes sense for top schools, leaving time for after-school activities and saving scarce resources for needier schools. The 19th Ward Parents, a main backer of this idea, wants a citywide parent survey on the proper length of an extended day. A good idea in concept, but a reliable survey would be too hard to pull off.

Instead, we advocate letting high-achieving schools opt for a slightly shorter extended day, particularly given CPS’ weak finances. Brizard didn’t reject this outright, but he clearly has deep reservations, saying new tough standards will raise the bar for all students, even the most advanced, and everyone will need the extra time.

Brizard makes a strong argument for the longest day possible: “We have a problem in this city. Do we partially fix it or do we take care of it once and for  all?”

No argument there. But is 7.5 hours for all schools really best — or even doable? CPS still has some convincing to do.

 Many of the top officials at CPS (including Brizard) were trained by the Broad Foundation. Read this article from Seattle to see how this company "trains" our educational leaders.

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