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Next teachers’ contract will include longer school day, says Green

Photo: Bas Slabbers | NewsWorks WHYY

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Philadelphia School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green says the District’s next contract with the teachers’ union will include a longer school day.

"Longer school days and longer school years are some of the things that are going to make improvements in high-poverty urban districts," said Green in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Green said state law mandates that the Philadelphia School District extend its teachers’ contracted workday.

On Oct. 4, the School Reform Commission unilaterally terminated the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ union contract in a move that’s now under review by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.

That contract called for a seven-hour, four-minute school day for teachers, Green said.

Pennsylvania law requires Philadelphia teachers to have a workday no less than the state average, which the Department of Education said is currently seven hours and 30 minutes.

"The District has just never enforced that provision of state law," said Green. "We have no choice but to follow state law … so any new contract with teachers will have to be seven hours and 30 minutes."

"State law is state law, and the fact that previous School Reform Commissions did not follow it does not mean that I won’t."

Green said the changes would likely occur without increasing teacher salaries.

"Every other District that’s gotten the concessions along the lines we’re looking for has paid for them," he said. "We don’t have the capacity to do that, but we still have to improve children’s education."

PFT president Jerry Jordan said he was "stunned" by Green’s "continued lack of respect for educators."

"To expect that the District is going to be able to attract and retain teachers as long as they totally disrespect them as professionals is unconscionable," Jordan said. "It’s not going to happen."

Green’s announcement comes days after union leaders in Boston came to an agreement with the School District there to add 40 minutes to the school day for elementary and middle schools.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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