Apparently heeding their own advice, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city's public schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard took to the streets Tuesday and went door to door in the city's Auburn-Gresham community in order to remind families that the district's first day of school is fast approaching.
For nearly 250 early start (or "Track E") schools, the academic year begins Monday, while regular-start schools won't be opening their doors to Chicago students until Sept. 6, just after Labor Day, according to NBC Chicago.
Emanuel and Brizard's door-to-door campaign is part of a CPS back-to-school initiative aimed at increasing attendance across the school district. In addition to the home visits, phone calls are being made (of both the robo-call and human-initiated variety) and e-mails and text messages are being sent to CPS parents.
(Scroll down to watch video from Emanuel's Tuesday comments about education.)
WGN News reports that last year the district saw only an 89 percent attendance rate for the first day of school and Brizard sees the start of the school year as a crucial time to establish a pattern of good attendance.
"I know from personal experience as a teacher and a principal that being in the classroom on the first day sets the tone for the rest of the school year and increases a student's chance for success," Brizard said in a statement, according to NBC Chicago.
Though the Track E students might be griping about their summer coming to an end, some 5,000 charter school students across the city are, as of Monday, already back in the classroom. As WBEZ reports, Brizard was on hand as the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) marked their first day of a school year, which is 20 days longer than CPS school days, this week. He and Emanuel have both looked to UNO as a model of the direction they would like to take the city's public school system.
After his door-to-door adventure in Auburn-Gresham, Emanuel addressed a crowd outside St. Sabina’s School and said touted a 7 1/2- to 8-hour day as the standard amount of instructional time he wanted to see instituted "throughout the system -- parochial, private, public, charter-public," according to Chicago Sun-Times. After 1,000 layoffs and the state board's decision to rescind CPS teachers' raises, such a change likely presents a tough pill to swallow for the Chicago Teachers Union.
View more videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com.