Chicago teachers are asking Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard to require students receive daily recess as a “human right.”
A report prepared by 11 teachers as part of the Voice, Ideas, Vision and Action (VIVA) Project collected input and suggestions from over 600 Chicago school teachers and listed 49 ideas for the beleaguered CPS system including a minimum of 20 minutes of recess each school day.
The teachers suggested that the schools “recruit parents, volunteers, teachers and others” to supervise playground time, and want to “take advantage of philanthropic resources” to make sure every Chicago elementary school has a playground.
The report states that teachers “spent hundreds of hours” contemplating the proper “use of time in their schools.”
Besides sharing the recommendations with Brizard, VIVA also presented the 34 page report to Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, and they plan on holding a series of “community conversations” with Chicago residents.
Among the other recommendations are allowing individual schools more autonomy, increase technology education, utilizing social media to communicate with parenst and students, and the development of “transparent” assessment plans.
VIVA is also advocating for a year round school schedule, and the necessary upgrade of the schools’ air conditioning systems to battle hot Chicago summers.
Brian Graves, a third grade teacher, told the Chicago Sun-Times, “As a teacher of 13 years, I’ve never been able to get a voice in [school policy] because I’m in the classroom working. I thought [the VIVA Project] was an excellent way to get the teacher’s voice into the discussion.”
Chicago teachers have been butting heads with Brizard ever since his appointment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel earlier this year, with the most prominent issue being a fight against lengthening the school day by 90 minutes. Brizard and Emanuel have also suggested closing a number of neighborhood schools, or converting them into private charter schools.
In response to the report, Brizard said in a statement, “Having the direct input of teachers in shaping how we lengthen the school day is critical as no one has their pulse on our classrooms and students as they do.”
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