The movement for longer school days is getting vocal support from a prominent big-city mayor. At a meeting last week at the Executives’ Club of Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago appealed to the Chicago Teachers Union to lengthen the school day and the school year. Daley said 10-week summers were outdated and that the current daily schedule was unacceptable. He argued that students in Chicago spend 40 fewer days in the classroom than New York City students, whose school day was extended this year, and questioned how Chicago’s students could remain competitive.
Some audience members reportedly gasped as he said, “Between 2, 2:30 and 5 [p.m.], more children are injured or killed in America than any other time. Do we have to have another child killed, another child injured and another headline? Getting out of school at 2:00 or 2:30 is ridiculous. [It makes you] think whether or not the system is working for children or whether the system is working for employees.”
A spokesperson for the Chicago Teachers Union said the organization could not respond to the mayor’s proposal without contractual details, noting that “teachers are professionals—not volunteers.” She added that, with respect to juvenile violence, the mayor’s office should considering increasing the number of social workers and psychologist in schools.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.