According to today’s Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) wants to extend the school day and the number of instructional days each year. No one can be against this proposal as far as it addresses improving education. The problem lies in the way the administration treats the people who will have to work more: teachers.
Earlier this year, the system said it could not meet its contractual obligation to give teachers a 4% pay increase. Now CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizzard says he can find cuts to increase the pay of elementary school teachers by 2% if they agree to the longer day. Why couldn’t he find that money to pay what was promised in the original contract?
Let’s get this straight. They don’t have money, but they can find if the teachers work more. That’s a fancy way of saying, “Work more for less.” As I’ve written before, all of the alleged education reformers (a.k.a., union busters) claim that they want the best teachers. Then they advocate or institute policies that will making teaching an unattractive profession. How will lower pay and longer hours attract better candidates? This plan – and the larger “reform” it represents – makes no sense.