Chicago extends its school year -- finally!

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On Tuesday, Chicago Public Schools announced that it will be adding 10 days onto its school year beginning September 2012.  That's a welcome change since Chicago's current school year is only 170 days.  To put that in perspective, consider this: out of the 102 districts we track in our Teacher Rules, Roles and Rights (Tr3) database only four, including Chicago, have school years of 170 or fewer days.  

Chicago was able to make this change because of a new law passed by the Illinois legislature this summer allowing school districts to extend the school year and school day without bargaining with local teachers' unions.

Some research has found a positive impact from increasing students' instructional time.  The 2009 study How New York City's Charter Schools Affect Achievement, by Caroline M. Hoxby, Sonali Murarka and Jenny Kang, for instance, found that a 10 day increase in the student school year led to an increase of 0.15 standard deviations in achievement.
With 150,000 students in underperforming schools and 69-percent of Illinois teachers saying they don't have enough instructional time (according to a press release), this should be a positive change for students and teachers alike.

Ginger Moored