The Chicago Teachers Union

Teachers Union CompromisesEarly Tuesday afternoon in April of 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union recognized the major’s decision to shift his longer school day stance slightly. Rather than demanding the school day be kept at 7 ½ hours for most public elementary schools in the area, it would be reduced to 7 hours instead. Even with this thirty minute difference, the Teachers Union still stated that the mayor needs to continue with the compromising process.

With over 30,000 members the Chicago Teachers Union is a powerful voice in education and other education-related issues in Illinois today. It is a labor union that represents a variety of teachers in the public school system, and is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. President Karen Lewis serves as president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and her leadership position played an important role in the proceedings of whether the school day should be shortened during an educational issues meeting this past April.

The Teachers Union Motion for Shorter School Days

According to Karen Lewis, who spoke at the union’s headquarters, “Once again, Chicago Teachers Union has been proven correct. Today, the mayor moved his toe an inch from the line.” Yet she added that it is important these changes in education not be done to simply appease the union or as a political slogan, but to serve as a solid educational plan for students, teachers, and parents.

The president went on to say, “Now that the mayor is starting to listen to parents, teachers, and research regarding the pitfalls of the longer school day program being pushed in school districts across the country, it is now time he used both ears to hear everything we are saying about the types of schools our children deserve.” Ultimately, it is not only the length of the school day that matters, but how well the school uses its time to help students learn and develop those important skills.

Need for More Compromise in Education in the Future?

Even with this step toward a shorter school day, the Chicago Teachers Union is still working toward making new compromises with Mayor Emanuel. They believe that parents and students would work better with a 6 ½ hour school day, which is closer to the 6 hour average in the state of Illinois. The union also points out that in light of the big budget issues and problems facing education today, the city will need to pay—and state how exactly they will pay—for that extra time being spent in school.

Although there are benefits to a longer school day and disadvantages to a shorter school day—and vice-versa—a recent survey helps recognize teacher standards in work days and the great responsibility and effort involved in the professional career. On average, teachers work for nearly eleven hours during a standard school day, and then spend another two hours at home preparing lessons and work for the following day. Teachers work on average almost another four hours on schoolwork on weekends, and a little over 58 hours per week during the school year itself. Hopefully a compromise in education concerning a shorter or longer school day for both the mayor of Chicago and the Chicago Teachers Union will be reached in the near future.