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Extra Hour for Struggling Schools Faces Union Pushback, Scheduling Challenges

Seven months after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to extend the day by an hour at the city’s lowest-performing schools, the city is still negotiating key details with union leaders even as schools are left scrambling to schedule in the extra teaching time.

Since de Blasio unveiled his “Renewal” turnaround program last November, he has said all 94 struggling schools in the program will offer an additional hour of instruction, which research has shown can boost student attendance and academic performance. But with a few weeks left in the school year, principals are rushing to figure out how to convince teachers to work the extra hour next fall, which will be voluntary for staffers, and how to squeeze it in alongside mandatory teacher training and existing after-school programs.