After conducting a survey of over 1200 parents at 200 schools, reading emails and corresponding with parents from many schools, listening to parents concerns on the South, West and North sides of the city, Raise Your Hand maintains that parents want a quality day with more programs and staffing positions for their children.
Raise Your Hand has never wavered from their stance that the majority of CPS parents do indeed want a longer school day for their children. However, length alone is not a worthwhile nor even an academically beneficial goal for any school system. Adding additional hours to the school day may provide an eye catching statistic, that of having one of the longest school days in the country, but it fails to address or remedy another statistic, that of funding and curriculum. The state of Illinois still ranks last in education funding. A school week on a par with most adult work weeks won't change that dubious distinction. CPS students are still woefully lacking in an educational experience containing adequate physical education, arts, language, integrated technology, recess, special education services, and fuller core curriculum. If an elongated school day comes equipped with the money required to make those hours meaningful to children, we are all for it, but the lack of obvious funding begs the question...if a truly excellent education is the goal, where is the money to fund it?
It is not an unreasonable request of Raise Your Hand to ask CPS how they plan to fund for the school year 2012/2013. If, for whatever reason CPS can now afford a 7.5 hour day when they have not been adequately able to fund the current 5.75 hour day, it's logical, even responsible to ask "how is this fiscally possible?" CPS has yet to identify a funding source to make a successful 7.5 hour day.
CPS schools are underfunded across the district and we would like CPS to share in the fight for better funding and better programs for our schools. Yes, parents want a longer school day for their children, but that day needs to be quality-filled and not just more of the same things that have not been working.