CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools proposed five dates to add to the school year Tuesday, following its commitment to make up some of the 11 instructional days missed during the teacher’s strike.
The makeup days would be November 27, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving; January 2 and 3, the Thursday and Friday after New Year’s; and June 17 and 18, extending the school year for two more days.
“The make-up days must be scheduled on days on which teachers would not otherwise be paid, which severely limited the district’s options,” CPS explained in a tweet.
The question of whether there would even be makeup days was the last sticking point before CPS and the Chicago Teachers’ Union reached a deal, but now the plan to make up those five days is causing more headaches.
Mom Michele LaBell says the makeup proposal conflicts with long-standing vacation plans.
“I actually have tickets to to go on vacation to Japan, so that would not be a good situation,” LaBell said.
For Burr Elementary 7th grader Pearl Yeomans, it’s been a difficult academic year.
“We had to basically re-start everything we learned at the beginning of the year,” Yeomans said. “Like those whole 11 days, that’s a lot to have to re-do.”
The makeup day proposal shortens holiday breaks and summer vacation.
“To me, it seems like CPS is trying to screw over some teachers, because teachers take vacations too, so they book their winter breaks,” CPS parent Rob Rubin said.
In a written statement, CPS Chief Education Officer Latanya McDade said, “we understand that modifications to the school calendar can create real challenges for our families, and we have worked to add make-up days in a manner that prioritizes student learning and minimizes disruption to the fullest extent possible.”
CPS also said the city saved $68 million by not making up the remaining six school days.
The Chicago Teachers Union declined to comment, but one source says the union is likely to approve of the days, saying the added instructional time will benefit students, although the union would have liked to have seen all 11 days of missed time added back.
At this point it’s just a proposal, since CPS doesn’t make the calendar; the Board of Education does, and the body of mayoral appointees will vote on whether to approve them at its next meeting November 20.
That’s also the date on which they’ll likely vote to approve the agreements struck between the district, CTU and SEIU Local 73.