Parent Groups: Data for Longer School Day Doesn’t Add up

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A coalition of 16 parent groups Monday demanded a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to go over the real research on a 7 1/2-hour school day, and not the “misinformation” they charged district officials with spreading.

“They are either misinformed or deliberately misleading the public,’’ said Jonathan Goldman of the new Chicago Parents for Quality Education coalition.

“In either case, that’s not how we should be deciding public policy, especially when it comes to our children.’’

Goldman said he and other parents have analyzed longer day studies listed on the Chicago Public School website as supporting Emanuel’s call for a 7 1/2 hour school day, and they are, at best, “mixed.’’

In fact, when the Sun-Times called the author of one analysis of 15 studies cited by CPS as proof that longer school days work, Erika Patall of the University of Texas said the evidence the studies cited was “weak’’ and their conclusions were “very tentative” because “a good deal of the research does not rule out something other than time causing the improvement.’’

Parents also questioned CPS contentions that the system needed a 7.5 hour school day to get “on par with other districts.’’ CPS officials have said their numbers were based on weekly instructional minutes in a National Center for Education Statistics chart, multiplied out annually.

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