I think the most effective way to improve student achievement would be to hire more teachers and limit class size. If every teacher had only 15-18 students in the classroom they could do twice as much with the same amount of time. I am a teacher and curently have 37 students in my class. I find it very difficult with this many students and I know that each individual is not receiving the attention he/she deserves. finding the resources to shrink class sizes would be much more effective than adding time to the school day. I am all about improving education, but let's do it in a way that makes a difference.
Longer School Day
Yes, a longer school day is needed. Teachers & other staff should be compensated accordingly & should be part of the discussion. Please treat our teachers with the respect they deserve. A solid plan is needed & funding is necessary to make the most of the extra time. 6.5 hours MAX for elementary students.
I think that everyone knows that a longer school day is in CPS future, but we need to plan an enriched program. Consider including a second language, voice, instruments, or drama instead of more teaching to the test. Students need to be engaged not just have the day lengthened and their homework load prolonged. My child does homework from 4:00 until 9:00 and a longer day would rob my child of a life outside of school.
Students need more art, music and PE at the elementary level. Currently,in many schools, students get art once per week, music once per week, and PE perhaps twice a week. This is inadequate. Extend lunch periods for students for recess. Hire parents to work the recess time (to allow teachers to have an adequate, professional lunch of 45 minutes)
As the father of two A students with 98th percentile ISAT scores, I am opposed to the longer school day. The longer school day and year round schooling teaches kids to be workaholics. Parents in favor of a longer school day seem to be looking for free daycare or to keep their delinquent children from causing trouble on the streets to replace good parenting. I want my kids at home for those 90 minutes with me where they can learn to be smarter, healthier, and well-rounded.
How can you ask teachers to vote to extend the school day when we really don't know what we are voting for? How can we change the school schedule mid-year without an excessive amount of disruption to teachers and parents lives? What would a longer school day schedule look like? No one has been able to answer this question for me. Without details you are asking us to simply trust CPS administration, and how can we trust you when you have already broken promises?
First, thank you for creating a democratic forum for this discussion.
I am a parent and a professional educator. I am excited and embrace the longer school day. It is good for both of my children, who are CPS students and as an educator, it is the right thing to do.
My greatest concern is that recess and any kind of physical movement during the school day is greatly limited. I cannot support a longer school day if the absence of recess, PE and related opportunities for students to run and play continues to be limited.
The work of nueroscientists like John Medina (his book is Brain Rules) cite significant science that limited or no movement actually stifles learning.
Recess, PE, art, music, drama are not "extras", they are essentials because they prepare our brains for learning in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Build the Longer School Day WISELY.
CPS students do not receive enough time for physical activities. The children do not get enough of a rest period or time to redirect their energy, refresh their minds, be creative or interact with their classmates on a non academic level. Implementing recess and increasing Physical Education classes to at least 3 times a week not only helps childhood obesity, which is of great concern, it gives children a chance to redirect their energy and participate in fun physical activities that they really look forward to. A longer school day is great, but it has to be structured so that CPS children are motivated to achieve more. Students are not going to be motivated by longer instructional time alone.
Last spring I was very encouraged by to hear that many schools were going back to the “open campus” model that in effect lengthened the day to 6.5 hours and allowed more time for lunch and recess. The open campus model also allows the youngest grades to have more recess than the upper grades, a design that is developmentally appropriate in a k-8 school. When I heard of the current proposal to extend the school day by 105 minutes I was shocked. This will create a day that is 7.5 hours long, 13% longer than the national average of 6.64 hrs. Adding 60 minutes to the current CPS day would be more appropriate and inline with national and area averages.
A 7.5 hour day is not only very long, the proposal as stated on the CPS website does not include adequate time for recess, especially for the primary grades. As it is stated on the CPS website, students will only receive 45 minutes for lunch and recess. While this might work for middle school aged kids (grades 6-8), youngest kids need much more time for play.
In July 2010, the CDC published a report outlining the research on the impact of recess PE on academic outcomes. This report states that the bulk of the research shows that PE and recess have a positive or neutral affect on academic outcomes EVEN if instruction time is taken away and replaced with PE and/or recess.
I would like to use part of the extra time to give our students P.E. every day, as is required by state law. This would go a long way toward tackling the obesity problem, and also give the children more energy to get through the day.
Classroom teachers can teach their own P.E. to the little ones, but older children will need a certified P.E. teacher. Adding one extra P.E. teacher to each school would probably cover the extra classes.
Our students need consistency and our teachers need the resources to use research based best practices for more than a year or two. No reform can be implemented and tested in 18-24 months ... Why not listen to what the teachers know is best for the students - smaller class size, worthwhile PD, and more Social Workers in the school to help those students who have no support at home and are dealing with a multitude of problems that they bring to the classroom everyday. Yes, we need more instructional time in the classroom. I don't know a teacher who doesn't believe this, but first let's make sure that we can make good use of the time we have by solving the problems that take away from instructional time.
1. Physical education must be offered daily. Every homeroom should have PE once a day. It would replace the need for recess. Health Education should be mandated as part of the PE teachers' responsibilities.
2. Art/Music/Foreign language should be required for every child K-8 at every school. Art can be for 1 semester, Music can be another semester and foreign language should be all year long.
3. An assistant principal/dean of students should be given to every elementary school.
4. Extended care provisions for before and after
5. Teachers/staff should have a minimum of 70 minutes collaboration time/preparation time per day without students
6. Teachers/staff get 30 minutes uninterrupted to eat lunch.
7. All meetings are held through webinars to save time, gas, parking, etc.