Shorter years, longer days, less learning? Fulton may tell us.

(Housekeeping first: I just returned to the office after spending the morning in the classroom of Gregory Ott, the north Fulton teacher who won the coveted 2009 Milken Educator award last week. I will write about him later this week. I sprang 28 of you from the filter. Sorry, I could not get you out earlier.)

While I was gone, Fulton drew nearer to reducing its school year by three days. According to the news story:

Fulton County school officials expect to approve a shortened school calendar Thursday, one that for the next two years at least will keep kids on campus for 177 days — three fewer days than the state’s standard 180-day school year.

The move will save Fulton $1.1 million, officials said. It will bring to at least three the number of Georgia systems cutting days out of the school year to help balance their books, and makes Georgia part of an emerging trend: Hawaii just cut 17 days from its school year for budget-cutting reasons, leaving it with a 163-day instructional calendar.

The financial effects of a shorter year are easy to measure, but the effect on students’ performance is less clear. Research suggests that a few days may not make much of a difference but, in Georgia, one system has dropped more than a month. The cost-cutting also comes as schools face increased federal testing goals and calls and encouragement from experts nationally to re-examine school calendars and move in the opposite direction, pumping them up with longer school days, lengthening the school year and giving teachers significantly more time to plan lessons.

Georgia lawmakers this year gave school systems the option to shorten their 180-day calendars, as long as kids spent the same amount of time in instructions. For Fulton and other systems, that has meant plans to cut some school days and add 10 to 30 minutes to each day.

Fulton’s plan, which will take effect in August with a few extra days of summer break, means its 88,000 students will spend an extra 10 minutes a day in school, spokeswoman Allison Toller said.

Is an extra 10 minutes sufficient to compensate for the lost days?

The story quotes JoBeth Allen, a UGA education professor. “It’s my personal feeling no one is going to learn anything extra by extending the school day by 10 minutes [unless] the instruction is dramatically different,” Allen said.

The story cites two other counties that have taken drastic action. Murray County has adopted a 160-day school year to save $124,000. Peach County has moved to a four-day school week, which, along with saving money, has reduced teacher absences. (I have my ideas what that might mean, but I will save those to another entry down the line.)

I count myself among the skeptics who think a few extra minutes will not balance the lost days.

What do you think?

46 comments Add your comment


October 21st, 2009
2:12 pm

It would be nice to have a 3 day weekend every week. I think the kids would be ok with an extra 30 minutes every day. (Maybe not lower grades) However, I have always thought that we should expand the school year to 200 days.

Joy in Teaching

October 21st, 2009
2:23 pm

Just think of how much money we’d save the state if we only went to three days a week. But then again, who would babysit those kids if they weren’t at school?

DeKalb Conservative

October 21st, 2009
2:48 pm

Let’s break down how those 10 minutes translate… a little more than 1 extra minute per period (unless they lengthen the time between bells).

Aside from some extra time taking an examine, its hard to see what can be learned in 1 extra minute per class period.


October 21st, 2009
2:48 pm

10 minutes a day will not help much, but 3 less days won’t make much differents. Teachers will just need to use time more wisely, less fluff, games, fun time till after testing. It might improve attendence if it was used for long week-ends. An extra 30 minutes a day might help, and even in the lower grades.

Go Out and Teach

October 21st, 2009
2:54 pm

Maybe we can just start texting our lessons to the students and really save the state money. Insert sarcasm here.

DeKalb Conservative

October 21st, 2009
2:55 pm

What would be interesting is testing how some schools do with school days extended 1 hr (with dramatically less school days) and other schools with shorter school days (say by 1 hour shorter, but more days in the classroom).

The later is likely budget prohibitive, but it would be interesting to see if lengthening, or shorting the day has a positive or negative impact.

DeKalb Conservative

October 21st, 2009
2:57 pm

@ Go Out and Teach

That’s an insensitive sarcastic statement. You’re making the assumption that even the poorer families have access to texting technology… oh wait, they do.

Ever notice how only the really really rich, or really really poor have the best telephones and flat screen tvs.

4th Year Teacher

October 21st, 2009
2:58 pm

A 4 day work week would be wonderful. The only way it would work however is if the work day were 2 hours longer. Perhaps those 2 later hours in the afternoon could be for planning, etc. Then students would have the same day, but receive more instruction during their time because planning was saved until the afternoons after they were gone.

jim d

October 21st, 2009
3:30 pm

Prior to cutting the days students will attend and teachers will get paid for, perhaps, just perhaps they should reduce the days and hours that administrative personnel are compensated for.

I’m just saying.

Singing to the Choir

October 21st, 2009
3:55 pm

I agree with jim d – cut administration before teachers. On the other hand, there is tons of wasted time in the school day. K-3 could easily be handled in less time if the teachers weren’t always pulled out for special meetings and back filled with parent volunteers. Sigh, the practices of wonderful Cobb County. While others are struggling to meet the budget Cobb is proposing a balanced calendar with an August First start date. At least Fulton realizes funding may be an issue…


October 21st, 2009
7:04 pm

Ms. Downey, I am curious about Murray: are the teachers still paid for 180–oops 177–days, or the 160 days plus planning they have to show up? My county is proposing to lengthen the days, but I imagine they will want to say that we are only working 160, even though the day is extended. As it is, we have kids K-12 on the bus from before 6:30 till after 4:30.

I don’t think it will fly here because parents count on 180 days of childcare, and gripe when the school is called off for any reason (even floods, snow, or a knife-wielding attacker). And many of our students do not come from 2-worker homes. They just don’t want to deal with their kids. Call it like it is.

I really like 4 year teacher’s idea of a significant planning time each day. (Middle and high school already have them. They will hate losing block scheduling next year.) Of course, it would still be eaten up by stupid meetings, inservice, and duties, so it is unlikely that much planning would get done. And what about coaches? They count on getting two checks. Two hours after the classes end, they wouldn’t/shouldn’t be getting paid for the time twice!

Except for 20 minutes of recess and 25 minutes of lunch, our little kids are in class receiving active, diadactic instruction from 8-3 every day (just like the high school, but i don’t think they get recess–they get a 10 or 15 minute break, however). Unlike an earlier poster, we NEVEr are pulled out of class (and backfilled with subs). And our kids NEVER have ANY fun either. We are a “fluff” free zone. Over the last 3 years our principal has killed virtually every rare activitity that even remotely would make a child smile.

I hope we will have some politically pressured resistant, outside the box thinkers on this.


October 21st, 2009
7:06 pm

A long time ago, when we old teachers were very young and when kindergarten was optional and was not part of public school….we went to first grade in half-day shifts. In each classroom there were 2 classes, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. And we learned to read, “See Spot. Spot can run. Run, Spot, run.”

Food for thought

October 21st, 2009
7:54 pm

I see students at my middle school who are definitely burnt-out by 3:30 – too bad for them that school goes ’til 4:15! Except for the year I taught a gifted class last period, my 7th period consistently has the lowest grades. I can’t imagine another few minutes, let alone hours, without doing something drastically different – not too mention how hungry the kids would be. Nutrition experts always suggest small meals every two to three hours – we have 6th graders that eat at 11:00 AM and 8th graders eating after 1:30 – no wonder they’re nuts half the time – they’re HUNGRY! We would need snack/social breaks, study hall (’cause what parent wants their kids to spend 10 hours a day in school and STILL have homework???), and maybe club/enrichment/remediation time.

That being said, there are most certainly “wasted days” that could be eliminated in exchange for more productive time in a day. I don’t know where the trade-off point would be however, and I have a very strong feeling that the trade-off point could be vastly different for middle/upper middle class kids versus single-parent kids in poverty.

catlady – I don’t know about your district, but in mine, the trade-off for block planning for middle school was a loss of duty-free lunch – we have to eat with the kids. High schools on block do get the best of both worlds though – block planning and duty-free lunch (most of the time). Our administration finds plenty of things for us to do so we don’t have that time free either. Just sayin’ – grass is always greener…

Maureen – I’m not sure (tone missing in a blog and all) whether your comment about Fridays off “I have my ideas what that might mean, but I will save those to another entry down the line” is a dig or not. My thoughts are simply this – teachers, like other people who work Monday through Friday, sometimes have tasks that need to be done during business hours, necessitating the need to take time off. With one day available to do those things, time off is naturally reduced. Add to the fact that teachers, like other people who work Monday through Friday, may occasionally have celebratory weekends away, necessitating the taking off of a Friday – now they don’t have to. I’ll give you the fact that mental health days may not be needed as much, as well. I’m pretty sure that businesses that switch to a four 10-hour days model also see similar drops in absenteeism. And for the record – it’s a pain in the behind to be out – most teachers avoid it, believe it or not.

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October 21st, 2009
8:20 pm

If they’re going to cut the days, just cut the days. Those of us who teach know that the last days of school are a joke anyway. Three days is not going to make a big difference in the amount of knowledge students acquire. To try to make up the time by adding 10 min a day is ridiculous.


October 21st, 2009
9:34 pm

I can’t believe Fulton is doing this. We need “more” time in the class if we’re to keep up with Asia, Europe and basically the rest of the world. Take money out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and put it where it can actually do some good for the future: in our children’s education.


October 21st, 2009
10:07 pm

Amazing to me how our public educational system wants to try to convince us that less is more. Fewer days of school, but longer days of school, will be better, we’re told, or will at least do our children no harm. More vacation days for teachers, is what I hear, so of course, Fulton County teachers will favor the move. Sad to say that the people in the business of educating our children apparently want to spend less effective time with them, so they can get more fun out of life. Selfishness, self-centeredness . . . stands their naked disguised as educational reform.


October 21st, 2009
10:10 pm

The number of school days make no difference in learning. We have been pushing for more instructional time in core curriculum, more homework, extended school day, before and after school tutoring, lower student to teacher ratio and more money. What have been the results? Are our test scores higher now? Are our children smarter? Can they communicate better? Maybe we need to think about different ways to educate our children? Maybe all children are not made to be college students? Maybe children should choose the path they want to take? I know I concentrated a lot harder and learned a great deal more in the classes I liked instead of the mandatory classes.


October 21st, 2009
10:11 pm

Bad news folks – there are three reasons we will never have the educational results that Asia and Europe have. One, our children have not been taught a work ethic from birth. Two, teachers in the US do not have the respect from parents and students that exists in other countries. Three, we assume that every child is college material and we do not provide many alternate paths for students who are interested in (and would do well in)a trade. I taught English in Japan for three years. Every child was a sponge for knowledge and I was thanked by parents more times in a week than I was in 15 years in the states! It really brought out the best in me – never once dreaded a parent meeting. This is why I laugh at the “boxed” curriculums we adopt from other countries – work ethic doesn’t come in the box.


October 21st, 2009
10:23 pm

Oedipus Tax,

I’m not sure, but I don’t think Fulton teachers will get an extra 3 days of summer. I believe those days will be used for staff development. Currently, staff development for a lot of counties means that students miss 1/2 day of school per month (even though it is not counted officially as time missed because the kids are in school in the morning). Instead of doing that, Fulton would have their teachers use those 3 days for training. The $$ saved comes from not having to run buses.

Also, I don’t know any teachers that favor extra days off (i.e., working 187 instead of 190 days). We don’t get paid for days off and in this economy, we are all struggling. The vast majority of my co-workers want to work more than 190 days (most apply to work in summer school).

Please stop generalizing that all teachers are lazy. I would love to work year-round in education and I’m sure many on this forum would agree.


October 21st, 2009
10:28 pm

“Teachers will just need to use time more wisely, less fluff, games, fun time till after testing.”

God help us, testing is PART OF THE PROBLEM. We’ve substituted testing for learning.

I’m a doctoral student in my second year, and this semester have taken on TA duties for my assistantship. A couple of days ago, I graded three classes worth of papers. With almost no exceptions, they were horrible. Terrible grammar, horrible structure, absolutely incorrect word usage, prepositions that might as well have been picked out of a hat. These are college seniors. Why is their writing so poor? Because TEST SCORES have become the goal of public school administrators. Because LEARNING is no longer valued. What good comes of my eviscerating their papers when they are college seniors? They aren’t going to learn anything…because the system failed them years ago…because the tide of anti-intellectualism in this country has swept up everything good about public education in its wake. Yeah…the parents bear some responsibility, but it’s the attitude of society as a whole that is responsible. Every person who derides someone with education for daring to argue with “popular wisdom”…every person who shouts down an educated person with knowledge that challenges their preconceived notions…they ALL bear responsibility for the travesty that is the American educational system. When society ridicules the educated, then education must suffer.

Y’all reap what you sow…and you’ve been sowing big time. Now, back to my “ivory tower”.


October 21st, 2009
10:52 pm

As long as we continue to make decisions about education solely from the view point of cost-cutting, our children are going to be screwed in the end.


October 21st, 2009
11:37 pm

“More vacation days for teachers, is what I hear, so of course, Fulton County teachers will favor the move. Sad to say that the people in the business of educating our children apparently want to spend less effective time with them, so they can get more fun out of life. Selfishness, self-centeredness . . . stands their naked disguised as educational reform.”

Just a simple question here…do you actually KNOW any teachers, or are you just making assumptions based on…nothing but your own ignorance? As the child of two teachers, one in primary education and the other a college professor with 40 years experience, who has grown up SURROUNDED by teachers his entire life, I can tell you that the myth of teachers working 9 months and then dancing around doing nothing is FALSE. Most teachers work 80-90 hours a week, and are paid for 9 months…their pay is distributed across 12, but they go 3 months out of the year without pay, unless they teach summer school. And even during the summer, they have to prepare for the next year. Preparation which, if you followed the last few sentences, is UNPAID.

MOST teachers work their tails off, all the while dealing with parents like YOU who accuse them of shirking their duties without having the FAINTEST idea of what their lives are like. Grow up. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh or whatever ratings-monger-of-pure-ignorance has told you what to think. Maybe if you and others of your ilk actually SUPPORTED the teachers who are trying to turn your disaffected, bored, rude, disrespectful, and parentally unmotivated children into something RESEMBLING a scholar, you’d have results.


October 21st, 2009
11:40 pm

“More vacation days for teachers, is what I hear, so of course, Fulton County teachers will favor the move. Sad to say that the people in the business of educating our children apparently want to spend less effective time with them, so they can get more fun out of life. Selfishness, self-centeredness . . . stands their naked disguised as educational reform.”

And just for the record, the above paragraph contains a sentence fragment, an improper use of their/there, a garbled phrase masquerading as a sentence, and improper comma usage. Oh…and a questionable use of the word “effective”. In what way, exactly, are you qualified to judge education reform, given that you have the writing skills of a ten-year-old?


October 21st, 2009
11:52 pm

So, it would be interesting to see if district run charters reduced their days as well, and/or if independent charters resisted this effort. This analysis could only be done inside counties that have both kinds of charters. This would be telling.

Shananeeeeee Fananeeeeeeee

October 22nd, 2009
12:58 am

Cable News ratings for primetime October 20th, 2009

Fox News- 2,511,000
MSNBC – 861,000
HLN- 658,000
CNN- 628,000
CNBC- 127,000


October 22nd, 2009
1:58 am

I am boring, ain’t I?


October 22nd, 2009
2:08 am



October 22nd, 2009
2:40 am

JTex, yes, a “there” instead of a “their” exists in a paragraph I wrote above. And as your consider yourself educated, if you insist upon attacking me, remember that if you spot it, you got it! And while you’re at it, remember, educated one, that your rhetoric resembles that of a stercoraceous coprophagist that insists upon being a closet omphalopsychite. And if my “their” is so bad, you needed a second quote in order to spot it!

You betray yourself as a liberal, and sad to say, that’s exactly what’s wrong with our public schools. Too many liberal pompous blowhards that insist that less is more. Too many teachers that care only about themselves. Too many teachers that teach because they couldn’t succeed in a world filled with competition. Always the demands for more money. Never the chances to reward teachers’ pay on the basis of performance. Always testing rather than teaching. My kids know “No Child Left Behind” is a farce. No to school vouchers and parental choice. The NEA and AFT run their schools, and if schools had to make a profit in order to exist, their unions would have bankrupted their organizations, just as they bankrupted steel and autos. The oxymoron of the last fifty years has been quality public schools. Physical education at our public schools barely exists, but our public school teachers can’t figure out why there are so many fat students? Shows their intelligence level!

So, JTex, demand more money to be spent on public school teachers. You will reveal that in the end, you don’t give a damn about any of your students, and as a typical liberal, simply want to whine your way into making everyone else as miserable as you are.


October 22nd, 2009
4:28 am

When will you folks realize that the “amount of time” in school has nothing to do with the quality of the education? The entire arrangement of modern schooling is a fallacy for achieving the goal of an “educated” adult. We need real “outside the box” innovators to see real change.

Reality 2

October 22nd, 2009
6:57 am

How about 4 days a week for 45 weeks a year? I think students (specially older ones) need some time in between lessons to reflect and think about the new concepts that are being introduced.


October 22nd, 2009
7:59 am

I love the idea of 4 days a week for 45 or 50 weeks. My suggestion would be Mondays off because of all of the Monday holidays.


October 22nd, 2009
8:53 am

OedipusTax: You had a little credibility going until you just had to go political on us and start name-calling. A person does not have to be “conservative” to be a good teacher-what a bogus argument! While I certainly have had a boatload of complaints about teachers over the years, most teachers are well-meaning, dedicated, extremely hard-working and courageous, whether they are liberal or conservative. Education problems and teacher issues should be dealt with repectfully and thoughtfully as they profoundly affect our children and our future.


October 22nd, 2009
9:04 am

Are the schools going to add those three days back to the calendar when this current recession (like all prior recessions and a depression) ends? Or is this short-sighted and draconian move coming at the expense of our kids’ education for the long haul? Moreover, I wonder if cutting back on days will be exposed as the low hanging fruit in all future economic downturns?


October 22nd, 2009
9:18 am

Ann- I absolutely agree! Decade after decade we have continued to flog this poor dead horse. When will we all realize that it just CANNOT get up again!? Any parent with more than one child has discovered that kids learn in different ways…most of which are incompatible with public school methods. How amazing it would be to have an affordable learning environment in which kids and teachers could teach and learn in effective ways!
Since that is NOT going to happen anytime soon… fewer, longer days, I think would be a relief…if the days off were REAL days off. As it is now, my child comes home from school and hits the homework until she drops into bed at 10 p.m. Although her middle school is broken up into “teams” it appears the team members don’t work together or talk to each other about what is assigned…all the big projects due at the same time, big homework assignments with short notice…it’s a killer. My child has not been out to play on a school day since the schoolyear began…and outside is her favorite place! Sure she is doing high school/college level work…but is it worth it, I don’t think so! She’ll be an adult and work her butt off for enough years as it is…childhood should not be lost!


October 22nd, 2009
2:15 pm

I agree with you philosopher. Learning and being educated is more than just reading, writing and taking test. What would happen to this country if we had a real crisis? Our children can not fix anything. We have to import a large majority of our builders, farmers and mechanics. Our children can read and give you all the theory in the world but they can not grow a vegetable garden or communicate effectively verbally with a neighbor. Where will we be when our 40 plus generation can not work any longer?

October 22nd, 2009
8:26 pm

more time in class doesn’t necessarily equal more learning. it depends on the students and the teachers how much they are able to learn. some classes are able to accomplish many things in a short time while others may drag on and accomplish very little. therefore, the quality of the education is more important.

Northview (Ex) Teacher

October 22nd, 2009
8:41 pm

Well, what would you expect but something like this from the despicable and loathsome Ashley Widener and the rest of the girls running the show now? The next step should be for this bunch to create a minitrue to promulgate new slogans for us: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, LESS EDUCATION IS MORE EDUCATION. Unfortunately, given the proof that Orwell understood human nature (of a certain type) that routinely gets bandied about on this blog, I am not optimistic. I knew that education in Georgia was a lost cause, and I deeply regret that I was correct in my assessment.

Keep it up, Ashley. It wont be too long before you’ll completely destroy public education in Fulton county, and then you can meet with all your republican friends, eat cookies, drink kool aid, and celebrate the fact that we let you get away with it.

Way to go, Ashley. I almost admire your determination, though I despise who you are and what you do. I feel sorry for the kids who must do the best they can in spite of you and Katie Reeves and Delores Umbridge-Loe. I feel sorry for the teachers who, for some unknown reason, still care. Obviously, you don’t give a crap.

Good job, Ashley.

October 22nd, 2009
8:58 pm

Oediustac: i would like to ask what you would want to be changed about the school system

October 22nd, 2009
8:59 pm

OedipusTax: i apologize for my spelling

Micheal Dib

October 24th, 2009
9:00 am

Fulton County like all school districts will face a short fall in funding from the state this year. The choices are clear either reduce costs or raise taxes if one wants to keep the same level of school activities that are offered today. Fulton County Schools chose to reduce costs — by reducing class days and increasing instruction time — in Math. In the US we have the lowest number of school days of the G-8 and G-20 countries yet the number of instruction hours far exceeds all of Europe and Asia with the exception of China. So while we have fewer days we have more time on instruction. So from my point of view increase the instruction time and reduce the days. Less time wasted on non-productive activities the better. Our kids will be better served and we will save money. Not a bad deal.

Micheal Dib

October 24th, 2009
9:26 am

To the Northview Teacher — the problems with Math, Science, and Language Arts education have nothing to do with the teachers. The falling grades are due to Cathy Cox and her state mandated new curricula in these areas. This curricula has been in place now for 5 years and it has achieved a remarkable place in history. Thousands of students are now worse off in Math, Science, and Language arts than they were 5 years ago. Fulton County continues to see a slide in performance against all benchmarks and this includes all of the schools including those that were once leaders in the state and nationally ranked. Go to Fulton County Schools web site and download Dr. Loe’s State of Education Power Point. Pay special attention to math, science and EOCT scores since the new GPS standards were implemented.

I applaud Katie Reeves, Gail Dean, and Ashley for having voted against the new curricula and being the only voices on Fulton County Board that routinely ask about academic performance. I applaud them for being the only school board members to demand new books and improved curricula which are needed to get us back on track. I applaud them for being the only three board members who have consistently and over the years demanded that Fulton County get back on track.

Unfortunately they were voices that were repeatedly out voted and treated with disdain by school board members who refused to analyze and understand the issues. In stead the rest of the board defers to the “professional curricula advisers” in the administration and at the state levels as being the experts. Guess what the experts were clueless and sent us down this disastrous path. We are at a crossroads — either we realize what a mess we have and fix it or thousands of students will suffer and never be able to attain their goals. It is my hope that the rest of the board follows the leadership of these 3 lone voices. That the rest board comes to their senses and moves forward aggressively to addresses the problems our children face. And that these three women continue to ask the hard questions and drive academic performance and accountability within the system.

Northview (Ex) Teacher

October 25th, 2009
6:12 pm

Hello Michael Dib,

I agree with you on one point: Kathy Cox is an idiot. Education is Georgia is sunk as long as we have such “leadership.”

Your defense of Ashley and Katie surprised me until I realized that you must have intended your post to be ironic. I mean, no one seriously thinks that those two are interested in “academic performance and accountability.” Pardon me while I try to get up off the floor from laughing so much. They are interested in control and in destroying public education in Fulton County. As I said earlier, I almost admire them for being so tenacious, though I loathe them for being so destructive.

Katie was instrumental in launching a witch-hunt against Northview teacher William Casey for allegedly teaching an anti-Bush lesson (BTW, it’s funny how truth often takes an anti-republican stance, isn’t it?). Of course, none of Katie’s slander was true, but she managed to position herself for applause from thoughtless right-wingers (like you?) by injecting fear of open academic inquiry into Northview. Bobby Macris was an enthusiastic implementer of Katie’s repression, but that’s a topic for another day. Katie was also instrumental in getting rid of the only superintendent we had in the past decade who actually wanted to put all students first.

As to Ashley, if you have ever talked to her, you would have to be quite dull yourself not to realize that the woman is pretty stupid. She does not know the first thing about education, and I doubt if she has any understanding of “academic performance,” much less any experience in performing academically, much less any base to judge academic performance. About the only thing Ashley is good at is standing by her man, who is a notorious right-wing special interest monger (google Widener Associates for some lovely pictures of Ashley doing the wifely thing with various right-wing politicians and representatives of special interests). She excels only at being loathsome and despicable.

Enjoy your kool-aid, Michael. What is the sound of one hand clapping?


William Casey

October 26th, 2009
10:47 am

Thanks NORTHVIEW-EX! You got it all right. I’m still thankful that pricipal Peter Zervakos stood by me. We didn’t always agree but Pete did the right thing on that one. Katie Reeves is a Sarah Palin wannabe, nothing more, nothing less.

Fulton County Observer

October 27th, 2009
7:00 am

Fulton Schools will soon reap what they sow.

Call me a yankee

November 16th, 2009
8:53 pm

I think having ad-hoc school schedules throughout the state makes for ill planning and ineffective curriculums, which appears to do more harm than good. Instead of the counties and school districts deciding what they want to do, maybe the State DOE could fulfill their purpose and design a statewide educational plan that would further student learning and weather the storm of the economy. Maybe that would be step towards figuring out how with all these creative new schedules and learning plans, the whole state still manages to fail in record numbers!!