According to the Chicago Sun-Times , the city of Chicago and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) have reached an agreement that will put more teachers in the classroom in order to work the 20 percent longer school day. The agreement between the two parties comes in light of the threat of a CTU strike loomed on the horizon, specifically a 90 percent strike authorization vote and months of discussion on how the lengthened school day would be staffed and funded.
Here are some facts about the agreement between the city and the CTU and what changes it'll bringing for Chicago Public Schools (CPS):
* The Chicago Tribune reported that while elementary students and high school students will be spending seven hours and 7 1/2 hours, respectively, in the classroom, the amount of time teachers spend in the classroom will decrease.
* CPS will open up 477 job positions for tenured teachers that were laid off from the school system in 2010, 2011, or 2012.
* When going through the hiring process for these positions, CPS principals will have discretion in making the decisions and will base decisions on the potential candidates' last performance rating.
* These extra teachers will also handle extra programs like art and music, which have been included in the longer school day, noted an article from CBS Chicago .
* Prior to this agreement, teachers had been demanding adequate pay increases for being asked to work the longer school day.
* An optional sixth period in high schools will be eliminated, as will the 75-minute professional development block that was set to take place one day per week that students were to be dismissed from school early.
* While progress has been made, there are other lingering issues to work out, including negotiating pay raises for teachers.
* So far, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has approved a 2 percent pay increase that requires CPS to completely drain a reserve fund.
* Additionally, the major issue is that the district is facing a $665 million budget deficit and the union is pushing for a higher pay raise, one that the city is saying it cannot afford with the current financial issues.
* CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll commented today on the agreement by saying, "CPS and CTU have reached an interim, binding agreement that our students will have a full school day on day one this year. That means 7 hours for elementary students, 7.5 hours for high school students. That's what our schools planned for, that's what we promised, and that is what we have in this agreement."
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.