Chicago mayor hopes to lengthen school day

A young student looks closely at a math exam during a summer school in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has plans to lengthen the school day in city schools to catch up to the schedule of other cities.

Jeremy Hobson: Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is moving ahead with controversial plans for a longer school day. That would make Chicago an outlier, because a longer day costs more money -- which most districts don't have at the moment.

Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports.


Eve Troeh: Chicago children go to school about six hours a day -- far less than kids in other major cities. Mayor Emanuel plans to stretch that by at least an hour -- despite cries that the city can't afford it.

Jennifer Davis heads the National Center on Time and Learning. She says lots of schools, especially charters, have figured out how to teach kids longer on less money. With technology or creative scheduling --

Jennifer Davis: Students can be in school longer, but staff don't necessarily have to all be there for that full time.

Some struggling school districts have extended the school day several hours -- the tradeoff being the school week goes down to four days.

Dan Domenech heads the American Association of School Administrators. He says that's not great either.

Dan Domenech: You know eight hours or longer there's a fatigue factor that comes into play, both on the part of children and the teachers.

Domenech says it'll take years just to return money to school coffers and extend schools days back to pre-recession levels.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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