Charter schools teach more
Dear Mayor Emanuel,
We, along with 66 public charter schools in which more than 31,000 students are enrolled, applaud your work to increase learning time for all Chicago Public Schools students and to challenge a status quo that for too long has not put the interests of students first.
As a charter movement, we pledge to support your goal that every child receives a minimum of seven hours of school each day.
Currently, 96 percent of charter elementary school students in Chicago are in school for at least seven hours. In fact, 63 percent are in school for at least 7.5 hours. Most charter high school students attend school for even longer.
Students who attend charter public schools in Chicago from kindergarten through 12th grade receive 5 additional years of instruction on average compared with students in other public schools. That’s because on average the school day is more than 2 hours longer than other CPS schools, and the school year for charters is 10 days longer.
Beyond your attention to the minutes spent in school, we laud your vision and understanding of how critical it is to use those minutes strategically. Charter schools have the autonomy to innovate and shape their days based on the performance of students and teachers. Principals have the flexibility to design the school day to give teachers ample time for coaching and preparation geared toward student achievement without sacrificing instructional time.
Longer school days and school years are among the core values we have long championed. We are committed to working with you to transfer best practices like these from charter schools to the district — and back — because every student in our city deserves access to a great public education.
John Rowe, chairman of the board
New Schools for Chicago;
chairman of the board,
Illinois Network of Charter Schools