Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

UFT Signs Off On Extended School Day Until 6 PM


Thousands of middle school kids will be toiling in classrooms as late as 6 p.m. as of this fall as part of the city’s effort to extend the school day.

Twenty middle schools will add an extra 2.5 hours of daily instruction for 2,000 sixth-graders under a program announced by city officials Monday.

“Often students who lose their way in school start to fall off track in the middle grades. It’s where the achievement gap really seems to grow,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who announced the program Monday along with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Extending the school day has long been a goal of education reformers, and dozens of city schools have longer days through flexible budgeting or partnerships with nonprofits.

But the latest plan is the city’s first organized push to try the strategy for struggling middle schools.
New York is also one of the first major cities to pilot a longer-day program focused on improving reading skills, following efforts focused on math in Houston and Denver.
The longer school day will include sixth-graders for three years at 20 schools where students struggle with reading.

The schools, which have not yet been selected, will adapt different schedules based on their needs, using a mix of outside tutors and classroom teachers who volunteer for the extra hours. The teachers union has signed off on the program.

The $6.2-million-a-year program will be funded with $3.5 million from the private Robin Hood Foundation, with the city picking up the rest of the bill.

Officials predicted parents and even students would welcome the longer day, but some kids were skeptical.“When school is out, most kids just want to leave,” said Lauren Santos, 14, an eighth-grader at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School.

Okay, few things to look at here.

First, notice the words used to describe the extended day program:

"Kids will be toiling in classrooms as late as 6 PM..."

"An extra 2.5 hours of instruction..."

"Extending the school day has long been a goal of education reformers..."
Just from the language, you can see what kind of program this is - test prep.
The Daily News reports that "officials predicted students would welcome the longer school day," but with many students in public schools already spending 7 hours of continuous test prep, it's difficult to see how they're going to "welcome" the additional 2.5 hours of "toil."

Next, notice how the UFT has "signed off" on the program.  

The UFT could point out that many children are already suffering through 7 hours of daily test prep and the additional 2.5 hours, if added, ought to contain something other than skills and drills and test prep.

But you'll never see the UFT leadership stand up for something that is right when they can instead give in to political expediency and sign off on an education reform that the corporate education reformers are licking their lips at getting  - a 9.5 hour school day.

Perhaps this program will see some test score gains and therefore will be hailed as some success that should be emulated all over the city.

Or perhaps it won't.

Either way, it's just another sign of the dehumanization of the system that education reform and education reformers continue to bring us.

9.5 hours of test prep a day.

What kind of adults will those middle schools churn out?

Oh, and one final point:
That Quinn is the politician championing this program tells you much about the kind of mayor she would be.

With the UFT working with her to extend the school day to 9.5 hours of nothing but test prep, you also have a glimpse of how the UFT would work with Quinn.


  1. And there's also "...classroom teachers who volunteer for the extra hours."

    How "voluntary" will that be for untenured teachers?

    1. Not voluntary at all. May not even be voluntary for tenured teachers - Danielson dispenses with such niceties...

  2. Quinn and Walcott equal Quinn and Bloomberg no difference so I agree this would be very bad for teachers if Quinn is the next mayor. However, the recent selection of Merryl Tisch as Bill Thompsons campaign manager and the connection between Sheldon Silver and Tisch equals the UFT endorsement. That trumps any public relations attempt by Quinn regerding the all important education policy and support for the next mayor.

  3. I just got a glimpse into Mulgrew's mayoral endorsement and informing this to chapter leaders and delegates at the September DA.

    Volunteer = no $$$, is this the next contractual agreement to avoid any layoffs?

    1. Well, this is only at 20 schools, but as part of Danileson, you do have an evaluation component based upon what you do for the school as a whole. Don't be surprised if some "volunteer" jobs don't appear for that component (i.e., after school activities, committees, etc.)

  4. Didn't Norm write a piece a few years back linking Thompson to Bloomberg? He is a reformer in disguise. Liu, who has his own big problems was the only candidate who seemed to fight for better public schools. Quinn is not to be trusted. So who is left???

    1. No one. Liu has been destroyed by the campaign finance fraud allegations. De Blasio languishes at in the low double digits and is a sell-out as well (though perhaps less than Quinn and Thompson.) And yes, Thompson is a fraud - an empty suit there to promote whatever his corporate overlords what him to promote. In that sense, he's no different than Quinn, just less hostile.

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