Three Austin schools have now approved longer days

By |

Two more schools, including Austin’s Howe School of Excellence, 720 N. Lorel Ave., voted Sept. 15 for an additional 90 minutes in the classroom, according to WGN News.

Click here to read WGN’s story.

A day earlier, the Chicago Tribune reported Austin’s Nash Elementary School, 4837 W. Erie St., was the seventh school to approve additional time.

By a narrow margin of 51 percent, teachers at Nash voted in favor of a longer school day Sept. 13.

Students at Nash will start the new schedule Sept. 26, which means the school stands to gain $150,000 in discretionary funds. Teachers will receive $1,250 bonuses, according to the Chicago Tribune.

To read more of the Chicago Tribune’s story, click here.

Earlier this month, we reported another Austin school, Genevieve Melody Elementary, approved a longer day. To read that story, click here.

A reader sent the following letter in support of longer school days:

Dear Editor:

The debate about longer school days already had me sick to my stomach. Rather than focusing on what’s best for our children, we’re talking about salaries, benefits and hours for adults. Now I am hearing West Side students who make it to college struggle once they get there. That’s even more reason why we need to lengthen the CPS school day and school year immediately.

Nearly half of CPS students will not graduate high school, never mind attend college. There are almost 300 failing schools in the city where students score well below average on state exams in reading, math and science year after year. Yet many West Side students are released early in the afternoon, even before 2pm, and spend the rest of the day on the streets. Increasing instructional time will keep our children safe and focused on academics.

If our children are going to have a chance to succeed in college, we need to prepare them better in elementary and high school. One way to make sure they’re better prepared is keeping them in the classroom longer every day and every year.

– Kevin A. Gage Sr.



One thought on “Three Austin schools have now approved longer days

  1. Mr. Gage is very misguided with his opinion. A longer school day does not automatically induce better grades. He neglected to mention that the caliber of instruction matters more than the length of time spent in the classroom. As someone who has worked in schools on the west for 5+ years and know first hand what is at hand there are other factors that affect academic growth. Many of the children are starting school 3-4 years behind. Point 1:You have children entering 1st grade without being exposed to the structure and knowledge to attend, comprehend and process grade level material. Teacher’s are often having to build a foundation that should have been established before the students arrived. Point 2: Teacher’s are often given a curriculum and/or some new program that the CPS board has spent millions of dollars buying parts and pieces of and told that they have to teach to the specific curriculum no matter how inappropriate it is for the students. Teachers are not allowed to be creative or use methods such as incremental learning (i.e. find out the student’s level and build them up from there). Research has shown that children are able to learn and retain more of what they have learned and are able to apply that knowledge to future skills…this is not happening in CPS schools on the Westside. Point 3: Parent involvement is an important factor for student achievement. As a therapist who worked in many buildings for 5+ years, I had less than 10% reply response when I contacted parents regarding activities that their children can participate to help their children progress. Point 4: The teacher’s union argument is not just about money, there is a major discrepancy in how much teacher’s make compared to other people employed in other jobs with the same education. Secondly, CPS has stated that they will not pay teachers their 4% increase salary that was supposed to be implemented this year if they do not agree to longer days. The 4% is a part of an agreement that was already signed (teacher’s have only received 2% raises the last 3 years) and the last year would be 4% to make up for the three years. So you’re saying that the people who are helping to educate the children who will someday run this world should be working longer days and make less money. Would you work under those conditions? Point 5: Where was all this discretionary money for these schools before this longer day initiative started? Do you realize that all the targeted schools were schools that were failing and the board told them that if they didn’t vote for longer days, they would be closed?
    Do your research, get educated and make an informed decision.

Leave a Reply