The fight over the longer school day has now moved from the teachers to the parents.
Parents from both sides are planning protests at Chicago Public Schools headquarters Wednesday as the Board of Education sits down for its monthly scheduled board meeting. Board members are expected to discuss whether to offer financial incentives to charter schools that opt to add 90 minutes to their school day, too.
The Chicago Teachers Union filed a complaint with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, which last week voted to seek a court ruling to block more schools from adopting the extended school day this year.
Some parents will be rallying in support of the extra 90 minutes added to 13 schools and calling for that time to not be rescinded.
But other parents will be protesting against the longer day, which district-wide will be 7 1/2 hours starting next fall. They have questioned how the cash-strapped district plans to pay for the longer day. A newly formed parent group is saying the school day should only be extended to 6 1/2 hours.
On Tuesday, the parent advocacy group Raise Your Hand hosted a panel discussion with several community groups in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.
When CPS deputy chief of staff Arnie Rivera told the crowd the district will be implementing the 7 1/2 day to all schools next fall and was only seeking input on what subjects should be taught in the extra time, some parents reacted strongly.
"(CPS officials) are making decisions over and over again without coming to us, without asking for community input," said Dwayne Truss of Progressive Action Coalition for Education, which helped host the forum with raise your hand.
Sonia Kwan, co-director of raise your hand, said there was no research that showed the educational benefits of a 7 1/2 hour school day.
"There's no data that 7 1/2 hours is the sweet point where our kids become geniuses," she said. "It sounds like a political check mark by the mayor of all the things he needs to do in his first year in office."