Budlong Principal critical of CPS, Lack of Support for Longer Day

Principal Al Solomon used his Principal’s Report to the Budlong Local School Council Tuesday to criticize the Chicago Public Schools push for a longer school day telling the council there was a lack of coordination and information coming from the central office about the topic.

Most CPS schools will add 90 minutes to their schedule starting with the 2012-3 school year. The plan for an extended school day was a central feature of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education plan and also of CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

“The Longer School Day Pioneer Program is built on a simple fact – Chicago Public School students spend 15% less time in the classroom than the average American public school student,” according to the CPS web site It is a fact that is disputed.

Solomon started by noting the school had a refugee position that is filled. But the school has not received funding for the position for six weeks, he noted.

Then he noted that Budlong has been reporting truancy of five days and ten days as required, but has discovered that there isn’t a truancy office at the CPS central office.

“Support departments such as Truancy and Refugee are not being funded,” he noted.

Which brought him to the extended school day.

“The plan for the extended day is to use if for recess and lunch,” Solomon said.

“Where is more educational time?” Solomon asked.

Solomon pointed to webinars presented by CPS that extolled the extended day in other districts without giving guidance on how to use the new time in CPS. The webinars lack specifics he said.

What is the plan for the older CPS building, such as Budlong, that lack adequate indoor facilities for recess during inclement weather, Solomon asked.

Budlong was originally constructed in 1907, with additions in 1913, 1955 and 1996, according to the Chicago Public Schools. Its age actually puts it on the younger half of the scale of age for area public school buildings. McPherson, built in 1888, is considered the oldest school building in the area. However it has had a substantial addition to its facilities.

The most recent building in the neighborhood is Courtenay, built in 1949.

Adequate indoor facilities to accomodate recess requirements is a concern for many area schools. However Solomon is the first to address the issue in a public manner.

Solomon said the extended day will have the following effects:

  • Student day extended by 90 minutes.
  • School year extended by 10 additional days (two weeks).
  • Students will receive a 45 minute lunch/ recess each day.
  • Teachers will receive longer lunch periods.
  • Teachers will work 60 additional minutes on class preparation each day (this will take the place of early morning preparation).


Examine the CPS site promoting the extended school day.

The Chicago Teachers union Addresses the push for an Extended Day.

Catalyst says extended school hours have a casual relationship with improved test scores.

Read a just released report by teachers on how to use the extended hours.

Read Eric Zorn’s Webliography of resources on the debate about the extended school day.

Read Whet Moser’s analysis of the argument.

Read about the pettiness of CPS and the Union.

The North Side High School Initiative FaceBook Page.

Raise Your Hand for Illinois Education web site.

Grow 47 Web site.

PURE Parents Blog on the longer school day.


Transparency Note: Jane Rickard, a Welles Park Bulldog founder, is a CPS employee and member of the Chicago Teachers Union. She works at Budlong and other schools. Rickard is married to the writer, Patrick Boylan.


Related posts:

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  3. CPS budget hearings at Lane tonight
  4. Bulldog in FOIA dispute with CPS over LSC candidates
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Patrick Boylan

About Patrick Boylan

Patrick grew up near LaFollette Park on the West Side. He contends that the very best Italian beef sandwiches are made on the West Side and has a strange love of the flat pizza from that part of the city. Patrick led The Bulldog to win seven journalism awards in 2011, including four awards to Patrick as a solo or a team member. He is very proud of The Dog's coverage of politics and schools in the neighborhood. Patrick wrote for the Times of Northwest Indiana as a stringer covering Cook County Government, for the Chicago Tribune as a stringer on the Chicago Wolves and for ChicagoNow as a writer before starting The Dog. He wrote for four years for ChiTownDailyNews.org as a media commentator and spent about 20 years in operations at city newspapers, including nine years as owner of his own distribution company. Prior to that he spent about nine years in public relations. Patrick has a Masters degree from the University of Colorado. He attended Eastern Illinois University for undergrad and Weber High School and St. Peter Canisius grammar school. The two-flat he owns was built in 1912 and has never been featured, to his knowledge, in any major motion pictures despite having a way-cool garden. Patrick purchased the property in 1994 and "couldn't afford to buy it now." His daughter is a college student in California. He lives in the house with his wife, Jane, and two cats who often sit in on his phone interviews.

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