Chicago Battles With its Teachers Over Longer School Days

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board recently announced that "irreparable harm" will occur if the courts don't immediately step in and block the school board's campaign to give children 90 more minutes a day of schooling, writes an editorial at the Chicago Tribune.

Although teachers at 13 Chicago elementary schools voted last month to add the 90 minutes of class time to the day, the CTU complained that school officials violated labor law by luring teachers with inducements and hampering the efforts of union representatives, who were trying to convince teachers to reject the longer day.

The IELRB sided with the CTU in a 5-0 vote, saying:

"Because of this irreparable harm, it is necessary to immediately restore the status quo ante," the board said in its ruling.

The board then asked Attorney General Lisa Madigan to go to court for an injunction to stop more Chicago schools from what the Chicago Tribute editorial describes as "giving children more time to learn".

The editorial says:

"This crusade to protect the status quo really is not about a longer school day. It's about the teachers union trumping Chicago Public Schools management in advance of what will be an extremely difficult negotiation on a new labor contract. The teachers contract expires next year."

This comes as state law announces that next year every Chicago school gets a longer day, as reported by the Huffington Post.

The editorial points out that while State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg voted for that law, which will give Chicago kids a longer school day next year, his wife, Lynne Sered, is chair of the IELRB, and she voted to seek the injunction to stop CPS from giving Chicago kids a longer school day this year.

CPS have turned their attention to charter schools and will offer cash grants to charters to lengthen their school days. CPS officials say 42 charter schools would be eligible for $75,000 grants, with teachers receiving $800 stipends, if they adopt the longer day.

The editorial notes that as charter school teachers don't belong to the CTU, they could expand the day without facing a CTU fight.

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