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Chicago Charter Schools to Adopt Longer School Day

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, joined by city charter school operators at Chicago International Charter Schools Washington Park School, announced this Thursday that charter programs across the city will be adopting a longer school day starting this January.

The 42 charter schools in the city, which includes 11,360 students, will incorporate 90 minutes of extra classroom time, as well as be eligible for $75,000 in grants and $800 in teach stipends to help fund a longer school day. With this major announcement, here are some facts on the steps the city has taken to implement longer schools days for Chicago students:

* According to the Chicago Tribune, on Sept. 27, six Chicago schools officially began a longer school day that extends an additional 90 minutes.

* Chicago Public Schools (CPS) leaders have continued to push Mayor Emanuel to increase the school day for students in Chicago, which has one of the shortest school days in the nation.

* Supporters of a longer school cite that more instruction time will give students an academic edge in the long run, especially on a national level.

* The New York Times noted that extending the school day has long been a major goal of the mayor, who often spoke in favor of it during his campaign.

* Additionally, a public school reform bill unanimously passed back in April gave more authority to individual school districts, ultimately handing over more control to Chicago.

* Similarly, the mayor's choice for CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has also continued to back a longer school day.

* The push for extending instruction time has received criticism from the teachers union, reported Fox News.

* The teachers union and individual teachers claim that the current path the city is taking isn't feasible and isn't going to compensate instructors for more work.

* Last week, the teachers union voted to seek a court ruling that would block more schools from adopting the longer school day this year, noted another Chicago Tribune article.

* The move is also being supported by some parents and opposed by others. Some parents worry the school district is too low on funding and that the day school be extended to 6 ½ hours instead of 7 ½ hours.

* However, teachers contracts are set to expire in June 2012, only three months before CPS implements an extension of the school day citywide.

* In August, the Chicago News Cooperative reported that all students enrolled in Chicago Public Schools will see a longer school day and two additional weeks of school starting next fall.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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