Email Print

CPS Steps Back from Longest School Day

07/24/2012

The Chicago Teachers Union bargaining committee today accepted an interim agreement that many thought impossible:  The Chicago Public Schools has finally backed off the unworkable seven-hour 40 minute teacher work day and instead will make only modest increases in the length of teacher work days.  CPS thus reverses its publicly-announced policy that the CTU has consistently criticized as bad for both students and teachers.  CPS will staff the longer student day by hiring nearly 500 new teaching positions, and it has finally agreed to recall rights for teachers.  Tenured teachers displaced in 2010, 2011 and 2012 will constitute the pool from which principals must hire the new teachers.

“This is movement in the right direction, but this does not settle the outstanding and mandatory issues in the contract,” said Lewis. “It is too bad this solution—which was actually presented months ago—was rejected out of hand.  It has taken a march of nearly 10,000 educators, a strike authorization vote and a fact-finder’s report to get CPS to move on this issue. This is yet another example of the CTU’s determination and dedication to fighting for solutions that will strengthen our schools.”

Length of the School and Work Day is a permissive subject of bargaining under the Educational Labor Relations Act, and CPS previously announced that it was increasing the length of both elementary and high school work days to seven hours and 40 minutes without bargaining with the Union.  But CTU unity and determination has cause CPS to rethink its position, and the new agreement scales these times back significantly, while restoring work opportunities to displaced teachers.

The new schedules will be implemented with the start of the Track E school year, so that no disruption will occur to students or teachers as a result of ongoing contract negotiations.  It is expected that the new hiring will include many recently-neglected areas of instruction, including art, language, library science and physical education, thus achieving a CTU goal of a better school day, not just a longer school day.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Under the agreement, teacher work days will be 420 minutes (7 hours), which will include a 45-minute duty-free lunch during the day, which is the same length of day for schools that currently have an open campus.  Instructional minutes will be capped at 296 per day, which is no more than was allowed under the expired contract.  Average daily preparation time will be increased from 62 minutes to 64 minutes.  Student days will also be 420 minutes.

Since the student day will be longer CPS has also agreed to hire about 750 new teachers to cover the extra periods, including 477.5 new positions that will be filled under the Interim Agreement.  CPS has finally agreed that any tenured teacher displaced in 2010 or after can apply for an open position, and as long as at least 3 qualified applicants apply for a position the principal must hire a displaced teacher and cannot hire off the street.  Similar to the current process under Appendix H, the principal may elect not to retain the teacher after the semester is completed, but if so, the principal must hire the replacement out of the same pool of displaced teachers.  Any teacher retained beyond the semester becomes a permanent appointment.

A summary of the old school day (open campus), CPS announced Full School Day, and the settled day are shown below:

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Components of Teacher Day

Current Default

(open campus)

Announced

Full School Day

Interim

Agreement

Instructional Minutes

296

315

296

Morning Preparation

30

25

0

Midday Preparation

32

60

64

Duty-Free Lunch

45

45

45

Supervision

17

15

15

Total On Site

Work Time

420

460

420

 

HIGH SCHOOLS

Under the Interim Agreement, high school teacher work days will be increased 14 minutes, from 421 minutes to 435, but instructional minutes will be increased by no more than 7 minutes, from 244 to a maximum of 251.  Average daily preparation time will be increased up to 10 minutes, to a maximum of 102 minutes, depending on class length.  Critically, CPS has also agreed that no teacher will be required to teach a sixth class, as many teachers would have been compelled to do under the original CPS plan, unless that teacher receives additional compensation as required under the expired contract.  Student days will be 435 minutes on average per week.

A summary of the old school day, CPS announced Full School Day, and the settled day are shown below:

HIGH SCHOOLS

Components of Teacher Day

Current Schedule

 

Announced

Full School Day

(regular day)

Interim

Agreement

Instructional Minutes

244

Up to 276

248 to 251

 

Morning Preparation

0

10

0

Midday Preparation

92

92

92 to 102

Duty-Free Lunch

46

46

46 to 51

Passing Periods

38

36

up to 36

Total On Site

Work Time

421

460

435

 

CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE

Though this Interim Agreement is significant, it does not settle many important issues that remain the subject of ongoing negotiations and discussions.  

For example, the Agreement does not settle the length of the school year, and it does not settle teacher compensation.  The Chicago Teachers Union and the Board of Education remain far apart on compensation issues, and this agreement does not change the timeline for CTU to exercise its full rights in contract negotiations.

 “This Interim Agreement would not have been possible had we not shown our discipline and determination to be treated with respect,” said Lewis. “We are making real progress but we must keep up the pressure for a fair contract.”

Chicago Teachers Union