"can't wait for a high-class" debate on a longer school day. I'm not sure what he means by "high-class." I hope it means he won't spice up his arguments with his usual F-bombs. I hope it doesn't mean that only his billionaire advisers like Vitale, Pritzker, Stains, and Koldyke will be heard on this important issue.
In any event, Rahm would have a tough time making his case in any real debate. His singling out of a longer school day and school year as the key variables determining improved learning outcomes, has no basis in ed research. His argument that Houston's longer school day (soon to be the target of budget cuts) produces better results, is full of holes, as I have pointed out several times in this blog. It's clear that Houston, where nearly 70% of children grow up in dire poverty, doesn't fare any better than Chicago in measurable learning outcomes, and that the gap between that city's wealthy and impoverished children is even greater than in Chi-town.
First, let me say that I am not necessarily for or against a longer school day and year. It all depends on what happens to teachers and kids during that extra time. I don't like the idea of students packed into hot, airless classrooms in the summer. And I am disgusted by Rahm's latest offer to CPS teachers -- work the equivalent of hundreds of hours more at the rate of $4.10/hour. How demeaning.
Yesterday I spent some time on the phone with the good folks over at the University of Chicago's Lab School. It's the elite, expensive private school (founded by John Dewey) where the mayor sends his own children. What I found out was that Lab has a school day comparable to CPS. Its school year is actually a week shorter than CPS', and Lab kids and families enjoy longer vacations and spring and winter breaks together. Not only that, Lab dismisses kids an hour early two days a week so that teachers have time to meet, plan and collaborate. Not only that, the Lab school day is packed with arts, music and phys ed, rather than Rahm's favorite subject -- test prep. Not only that, but Lab teachers have an hour for lunch. Wow!
By the way, all these policies and schedules are hatched out in negotiations between administration and the union representing the teachers at Lab, rather than on a politician's whim. BTW, those negotiations aren't carried out in the press, Rahm.
Now I think it's reasonable for people to ask, why would Rahm abuse his own children by depriving them of a longer school day and year? Obviously, his panacea of more seat time is only for other people's children. It might also be reasonable to ask why so many of Dewey's ideas about education are only made available to the children of the wealthy and powerful.
Yes, Rahm. Let's debate.