As expected, the Cobb school board approved a balanced calendar that shortens summer for students in the county. In an acrimonious meeting Wednesday, the board voted 4-3 in favor of the change for the next school year.
Under the balanced calendar, school will start the first week of August and end right before Memorial Day. In exchange for the shortened summer break, school will be out for a week in September and in February, which working parents maintain will be hard to accommodate.
The board vote angered parents, many of whom felt betrayed by board members who campaigned on a later starting date for school and then changed their minds once presented with the arguments for a shorter summer and two mid-year breaks.
One outraged parent said she is considering private schools in Fulton County or homeschooling her kids. Others, she said, are doing the same to avoid the change.
Among the reasons that parents gave in opposition to the balanced calendar:
– Test scores aren’t higher.
– It will be more expensive.
– Students can’t get summer jobs.
– Athletes have less time to practice.
Those in favor of the balanced calendar maintain it will reduce discipline issues, increase student morale and improve student achievement.
My own district – Decatur — will be on this same calendar next year. A poster to my earlier entry on this issue served on the committee in my town to study school calendars . I think her comment is worth noting here:
You can have a balanced calendar for whatever reason you want, but improved achievement is not going to be a result of a different calendar. I was on a calendar committee and we did a lot of research on whether these calendars improve achievement. We looked at Henry County data which showed no improvement since their new calendar was enacted (they have had a balanced calendar for five years or so). We also looked at (nonbiased) university studies, which overwhelmingly showed fleeting or insignificant differences. Here is one study to look at … the most complete and unbiased one we could find….
Our district is going to a balanced calendar next year primarily to use it as a recruiting tool and to give teachers and students a rest. Apparently teachers like it. We did a poll and most of our parents were against it (especially at the high school and middle school level) while most teachers/staff were for it. The admins were strongly for it.
What do you think?