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Teachers' union chief: Emanuel 'exploded'

Sept. 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM

CHICAGO, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The head of the Chicago teachers union says Mayor Rahm Emanuel cursed at her during a discussion of a longer school day, a sign of how emotional the issue is.

Union President Karen Lewis told the Chicago Sun-Times about the meeting several weeks ago as Education Secretary Arne Duncan ended a "Back To School" bus tour of the Midwest in Chicago. Duncan, at a meeting Friday with teachers and officials, supported higher salaries for teachers, the Sun-Times said.

"I think we need to double salaries for teachers. We need to start them at a much higher level," Duncan said.

Lewis said in her meeting with Emanuel the mayor described lengthening the day as a safety issue, not an education one, telling her children should not be on the streets in mid-afternoon. When she accused him of using schools to "warehouse" children, she said, he "exploded," saying "f--- you, Lewis."

Emanuel told the Sun-Times the meeting was a "good" one that ended with Lewis hugging him.

Teachers at five Chicago schools have now agreed to contract waivers allowing officials to add 90 minutes to the school day.

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