Cobb board member defends reversal on balanced calendar

Cobb school board member David Banks answers critics who accuse him of flip-flopping on the school calendar in Cobb, which just adopted a “balanced’ calendar starting next year.

His comments appear in a good AJC story on the trend toward balanced calendars in which students get a shorter summer and two midyear breaks. Many parents worry that it is the first step to a year-round calendar where summer dwindles to only a few weeks. In most balanced calendars, summer remains a good chunk of time, about nine weeks, but all of August is spent back at school.

Here is what Banks said:

But then Banks, one of the newest members of Cobb’s school board, said he started listening to teachers and parents about the downsides of a late start and the potential benefits of a “balanced calendar” with an earlier start and more breaks for students throughout the year.

“If a person really has some integrity, they’ll say they were wrong, and I was wrong,” Banks said, explaining why he helped to pass a balanced school calendar two weeks ago, over objections from a vocal group of parents.

I remain dubious about the academic merits of shifting to a balanced calendar and still wonder if the change is worth all the parent protests. Banks says later in the story that the e-mail complaints have fallen off and that most parents want the change:

Banks said opponents of the change kept the e-mails flying before the vote and for a few days after.

“It was pretty tough,” he said. “The opposition just can’t believe people want a balanced calendar, and they’re not willing to accept that.”

I would question whether Banks and other Cobb board members are seeing parental satisfaction with the calendar or resignation that it’s a done deal.

My own system adopted the same calendar, and our superintendent recently sent home a letter reminding us that the change occurs in 2010. The letter reignited the discussion of the calendar on one of the local school listservs. I would describe parents on the listserv as resigned to the change; few seem enthusiastic.

I also still question the argument that the change to an Aug. 1 start date benefits testing since now students take all their tests before the holiday break and thus should do better. Again, many states that outperform us resume school after Labor Day, so I don’t see why Georgia students suffered somehow because they were starting school in mid August.

I think we all will adjust to the calendar. Not sure folks in Cobb have any other choice but to do the same.

53 comments Add your comment

Edugator

November 25th, 2009
8:55 am

The balanced calendar remains wrong for so many reasons- hard on families, bad for the environment during our traditional smoggy August, tough on kids looking for summer jobs, brutal on venues that depend on summer visitors, and not good for students who will experience a fitful start/stop school year. Better schedules abound in most of the rest of the country.

A far greater threat is the reduction of the 180 day year. Extending the school day and reducing the number of days to save money is undoubtedly bad for education. If anything we should schedule more days and perhaps shave some time from each day. Educational continuity is maintained without the lengthy days, which guarantee some fried brains.

Got to respect the Cobb board member who changed his mind though. As much as I disagree with his decision, it’s nice to see someone willing to take a stand despite what it will do to his political future. Come away from the dark side and get yourself reelected.

Vivian

November 25th, 2009
9:26 am

Mr. Banks has no integrity and is not telling the truth about the majority in Cobb wanting the balanced calendar. I did an open records request on Mr. Banks Cobb.org email address. The only address that was listed on the Cobb website or any school website. I did the request from dates of October 1, 2009, a few days after the calendar options were announced through November 9, 2009, the day the vote was taken. Mr. Banks received only 400 emails and out of those (discounting anyone that admitted to being a teacher as that would be voting twice since they were allowed a separte vote), 180 wanted the balanced calendar. Number one, obviously the numbers of people even emailing Mr. Banks was very low, which signals that people were not made aware of the calendar options or that a vote was immenent. Second and clearly, the MAJORITY of those DID NOT WANT THE BALANCED CALENDAR. I gave this information to Ms. Badertscher, before this article was written and informed her that I had the open records request on a CD if she wanted to verify the results. Why did she not print that, it seems very one sided to me.

China_Chuck

November 25th, 2009
9:56 am

I’ve been teaching English the past two years and the calendar here is similar (in some ways) to the proposed new balanced calendar. They start school on September 1st, but finish late in June. They have 8-9 weeks off for summer. There is a long winter break for the Chinese New Year (the date varies from late January to mid-February). Their version of the “4th of July” is October 1st and National Day holidays is 8 days off. They don’t have a break for Christmas (but I am respected as a Christan and have the day off).

I have to say these kids work far harder than what I have experienced in Georgia. They study hard, do their homework and do well on placement tests. I don’t feel that parent involvement is always there (that’s the same as home, sometimes) but something is working. Far more than back home students live in school dorms (even at young ages).

This is something I can’t accept. This year our daughter started middle school and we could enroll her in the highest ranked middle school in the city but she would have to live on campus M-F. My wife and I felt this wasn’t good as we believe parents must be involved in a child’s growth. Our daughter also didn’t want to live away from home.

That’s all from the other side of the world. Well, let me also add that I’m looking for a middle school teacher back home that I may be able to share pen-pal videos with between my English students and your students. Do any counties offer Chinese lessons in Georgia? I thought when I left Gwinnett county was offering them but their school board website doesn’t mention Chinese.

Philosopher

November 25th, 2009
10:34 am

Edugator : Well-said. As for the BOE member, is he taking a stand for what he believes in, or just two-stepping to cool down the fire…sounds like a big load of hogwash to me.

Philosopher

November 25th, 2009
10:58 am

In the article Maureen provided, this statement attempts to explain why calendar changes were considered to begin with: “Changes to a school calendar can create parental apoplexy in good times, since tweaks can alter a family’s vacation plans, day care costs and even wake-up time. But now some systems are looking at major calendar changes — with legislative approval — in their scramble to cut costs.” Later in the article, with no substantive positive benefits stated, THIS sentence sits: “Cobb officials said they haven’t done a cost analysis, but expect the switch to a balanced calendar to be revenue-neutral.” HELLO!!!! This man didn’t have a sudden moral or ethical conversion on this issue because of its great benefits…he had a political one!

high school teacher

November 25th, 2009
11:13 am

Vivian, out of the 400 emails that you cited, does that number include the teachers who sent in emails? You said that you discounted teachers who wanted the balanced calendar. Did you discount teachers in the total of 400 emails? You should subtract the teacher emails altogether and then give the total of non-teacher-sent emails and those who wanted the balanced calendar.

seriously?

November 25th, 2009
11:19 am

Vivian,
Could you please clarify your post? Do you mean that 180/400 were for the balanced calendar, or 180 out of some smaller number were for the balanced calendar? In other words you said Banks got 400 emails, but later said teacher emails were taken out since they had a vote. So did he get 400 emails in total and then you took out teacher emails? If so, how many teacher emails were there?

questions for vivian

November 25th, 2009
11:22 am

You said you discounted anyone who was a teacher – was that only for those who were for the balanced calendar or did you discount the teachers that were against it, too? Did you also discount repeat e-mails from the opponents of the balanced calendar? Did you check the ISP numbers to verify that all the e-mails were from separate households? How do you know the number of people e-mailing “signals that people were not made aware of the calendar options or that a vote was imminent?” Maybe it means that people either didn’t care or were (gasp) actually for it – the ones against an issue are often the most vocal. Did you request phone records as well? Some people may have called or spoke with him personally. I know you’re hung up on that MAJORITY thing, but 180 out of 400 (discounting teachers, natch) is still 45% – a sizable number, don’t you think? It’s hardly indicative of Mr. Banks abandoning his constituency completely, and if he has any hopes of re-election, that’s something I wouldn’t expect him to do anyhow.

Marie

November 25th, 2009
11:55 am

As I understand it, there were 4 calendar options presented. If there were even support across the four options, then we should expect 25% support for each calendar. Given this standard, 45% is quite a high level of support considering Mr. Banks represents an East Cobb district where many of the most vocal opponents of the calendar live. I have emailed my representative on the board who voted on the calendar and she confirmed that her general sense was that the balanced calendar had more support than opposition.

I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about this calendar move but I’m also not enthusiastic about dwelling on the issue. Calendar issues will always generate vocal opponents no matter which way they are decided so a 4-3 vote by the board one way or another does not alarm me.

Cobb Resident

November 25th, 2009
12:00 pm

Vivian, there were 4 calendar options supported. I emailed Mr. Banks in support of one of the non-balanced calendar options but my 2nd choice was the balanced calendar. So under your logic, I would be part of the 55% opposed to the balanced calendar when in fact I support it. I’m sure my view of the calendar issue is not unique and it is highly likely that if you were to compare any two (of the four options) side by side, the balanced calendar would gain majority support every time.

Vivian

November 25th, 2009
12:12 pm

To answer your questions. I did an open records request only for Mr. Banks emails to his Cobb.org email address. Which as I stated was the ONLY email address given to the public on any school or district website. As I stated before, I did the request for the time period of October 1, 2009 through November 9, 2009. I specified in my request any and all emails pertaining to the School calendar or calendar options. The request was answered and the district produced 400 emails to Mr. Banks during this time period and on the subject that I requested. 400 emails were produced,out of the 400, as I said discounting anyone for or against that admitted to being a teacher, 180 were for the balanced calendar. I have no idea if the rest were actually teachers or people from east cobb. As a matter of fact, many of the emails were to all the board members. So you cannot say they were all from East Cobb. No I did not to a phone record request. Not sure that is legal, but I would love it if the AJC would actually did a little deeper into this. And to the other question, I discounted anyone that stated anywhere in the emai that “I am a teacher”, whether they were for or against the balanced calendar as I said that would be voting twice since they were allowed to vote and that was tallyed by the district. I am shocked that so many of you buy what this man is saying since he was more than willing to lie to the voters by saying that he supported later school start dates. Now he says that it takes integrity to lie. I am more than happy to go along with what the “majority” wants, but I am not willing to sit back and let Mr. Banks and the rest of the board lie about it.

Philosopher

November 25th, 2009
12:15 pm

Really curious…since NO benefit has been shown, even to saving the school system money, (except for teacher rest breaks) for the balanced calendar, what benefits did the other calendars have? Best I can see, whether or not one LIKES the balanced calendar depends on how much it impacts their lives…so why the big rush to change to something that hasn’t been shown to to have concrete, measurable benefits to either education or the economy???? Something is fishy in Denmark!

April

November 25th, 2009
12:30 pm

Philosopher – you are right. Something has always been fishy in my mind about the balanced calendar. There is not research to support that it is beneficial in any way. It is just another straw to grasp at in order to deflect attention from the real problems in public schools.

ScienceTeacher671

November 25th, 2009
12:38 pm

A little odd that people are so upset about rearranging the 180 days students will be in school, but apparently not at all upset about new calendars that reduce the number of days in school while increasing the minutes/hours per day students are in school.

flipper

November 25th, 2009
12:52 pm

The balanced calendar does effect the summer industry here in metro Atlanta and in Georgia overall. Education advocates keep saying that schools aren’t in business to promote Georgia’s economy. They forget that Georgia’s economy affects their pocketbooks. When businesses, such as Six Flags, beach resorts, etc., make lower or no profits, Georgia coffers suffer.. and guess what… school funding is cut, folks.

So here we are adopting a completely unproven calendar that will hurt the summer industry in Georgia… which will in turn hurt funding for schools.

Wake up folks.

Hopefully, the state legislature will fix this once and for all.

flipper

November 25th, 2009
12:58 pm

Here’s a link that explains the problem further….

http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ssd/

flipper

November 25th, 2009
1:04 pm

OK, last post… here’s one more link… Any state politician that promises to introduce a uniform start date bill gets my vote….

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/aug/24/delaying-start-of-schools/

Philosopher

November 25th, 2009
1:53 pm

ScienceTeacher671; I would be concerned about a calendar that decreased the amount of education time… IF it were impending and IF it didn’t have any academic benefit for the kids. One thing at a time.

Singing to the Choir

November 25th, 2009
1:55 pm

We all know that David Banks sleeps through most of the School Board meetings. Many people already had plans for the first week of August – boy scout convention, USATF youth T&F meets ect. At a time when we know budgets are tight and other counties are looking to save money (reduce number of days but lenghten them) Cobb elects to keep the 180 days and moves 2 weeks into one of the hottest parts of the year. I don’t need an indepth analysis to know that will cost more money. Compare your own August utility bill to May. Maureen and others are correct, many states start later and out perform GA, Cobb County and yes Walton HS on all testing. Therefore, I don’t believe the start date will have a positive or negative impact on scores. Not to ruffle feathers, but many teachers live in other counties, I don’t really care what their vote on the calendar was. I truly think the school board likes to tick off the voters because they can.

flipper

November 25th, 2009
1:59 pm

Singing, contact your state rep. The only way to get some sanity here is with a state law. I hate to see the state control local school systems, but occasionally they just get too nutty and someone who can see the bigger picture needs to get involved.

Gail

November 25th, 2009
2:14 pm

I live in a county that has had this calendar for 2 years now and I cannot stand it. I work in the school system and the kids are wild before the break and then it takes a week to get them back on task after the break. The ONLY people I know that really like it are the ones that have money to vacation! AND you guys are right about August! It does not even feel right being there it is so HOT!

danicool

November 25th, 2009
2:18 pm

I teach in a county that has a balanced calendar and in response to the post regarding the only benefit being teacher rest breaks, I would like you to know that I spend almost every single day of every break grading student work and preparing for the next week. In fact, I have just spent literally 48 hours grading AP essays and am planning on grading from now until Monday. This is not a complaint, merely fact. In summers, I complete continuing education for my certificate renewal as well as my own subject area interest. Further, my principal requires us to be available in the summer for at least two-three full days of meetings past the regular calendar.
If you think teachers are resting during the breaks and on weekends, clearly you have not spent time as a teacher, especially as a high school teacher.

East Cobb SAHM

November 25th, 2009
2:27 pm

I don’t think the new calendars will impact student achievement either way. But I support it because as a parent, I know that my high school children will benefit from having breaks in the middle of the school year more so than they will be hurt by shorter summers. When my children get less than 5 hours of sleep every night because of schoolwork, sports, clubs, community service, any calendar that slows down their pace will have my support.

Also, it is not the state’s business to get involved in local matters just because a vocal minority of residents oppose a recently passed policy.

Singing to the Choir

November 25th, 2009
2:55 pm

East Cobb Sham, glad your kids can rest during breaks, my daughter always had a project assigned before spring, Thanksgiving, and winter breaks. I wouldn’t say it’s a minority in Cobb that doesn’t want the balanced calendar. If it was then the board would have agreed to letting the voters vote on the issue. And to flipper, we tried to have a law passed last session on mandating later start dates. I guess we will have to try again. Other states have this already.

Edugator

November 25th, 2009
3:36 pm

OK, i’m having a slow day here, there’s no football game on, the relatives haven’t arrived yet, and the traditional Thanksgiving brisket is cooking, so here goes.

I looked up the US News and World Reports top 100 schools and checked out school calendars for the top 5. Here’s what their districts do:

Fairfax County VA 9/8 – 6/22
Anaheim Union CA 9/3 – 6/16
Monmouth Co NJ 9/3 – 6/18
Dade Co FL 8/24 – 6/9
Bloomfield Hills MI 9/8 – 6/18.

This is by no means scientific and I may have misread something, but the message is clear: high achieving school systems do not find it necessary to drag kids off to school in early August. From north to south and coast to coast, they recognize that for a myriad of reasons, July and August are best served away from the school house. The negative economic impact may be the most telling reason.

I’m no fan of state regulation, but when it comes to really important issues it is a necessity. This isn’t a matter of local control, it’s a matter of local arbitrary whim and fancy. Georgia needs to get in line to benefit the students, the families, the environment, and the economy, and do the right thing with regard to school calendars.

Allowances could be made for schools to deviate from the norm either by creating magnet programs for those balanced calendar fans or requiring a vote of the parents with something like 75% requesting a calendar waiver from the state norm.

I think the driving force behind the balanced calendar comes from teachers without kids who want lots of nifty vacation weeks, parents who own time shares at a ski resort, and superintendents who think that by starting school a few weeks earlier they’ll somehow get the jump on other systems and show higher test scores, thereby saving their jobs.

No calendar is perfect, and the first priority is to protect a minimum 180 day school year for students. But with that intact, let’s move to a calendar that makes sense.

ScienceTeacher671

November 25th, 2009
3:44 pm

Philosopher, there are several counties in the state that have cut instructional days due to the state budget cuts. They claim not to have cut instructional time, because they’ve added 10-20 minutes on to each day, but yes, there are counties doing this now, just not yours, apparently.

Singing to the Choir

November 25th, 2009
4:05 pm

One more thing on the balanced calendar in Cobb County. School Board member Alison Bartlett stated that she received calls from teachers at various schools that were coerced into voting for the balanced calendar. Fred Sanderson admitted that they could track the votes of teachers. Whether you like the calendar or not, these antics are wrong and should not have been used. And Cobb County still received their accredidation from SACS. Makes one wonder how dirty you have to be to lose accredidation.

Philosopher

November 25th, 2009
4:36 pm

ScienceTeacher671: curious…I have heard that Fulton is considering it…where has this been implemented already?

seriously?

November 25th, 2009
5:05 pm

Vivian,
I am sorry, but this still is not clear:
“The request was answered and the district produced 400 emails to Mr. Banks during this time period and on the subject that I requested. 400 emails were produced,out of the 400, as I said discounting anyone for or against that admitted to being a teacher, 180 were for the balanced calendar.”
Does this mean that you received 400 total, and then you discounted teacher emails? If so, how many did you discoun? If you took teacher emails out of the 400, then 180 for the balanced calendar is certainly not a minority, because it would not be 180/400, but rather 190 out of some smaller number.
Please clariy.

seriously?

November 25th, 2009
5:08 pm

Philosoher- Murray County is down to a 160 day year.
There is one other—-I think it might be Peach County, but I’m not positive.
Also, Fulton has formall adopted a 177 day year for next year.

seriously?

November 25th, 2009
5:09 pm

My post above should have said…
“….but rather 180 out of some smaller number.”

Philosopher

November 25th, 2009
5:25 pm

seriously? In those counties, are the number of instructional hours changed?

Teacher's Opinion

November 25th, 2009
5:46 pm

I too am a teacher in a county that has the balance calendar. The breaks are good for the students and teachers. It gives the students the breaks they need and unfortunately, even though the teachers are given the break, it gives them a chance to catch up on work. All the state’s mandates and paper work keeps us at school at least a couple of hours past “quitting” time everyday and then taking things home and still can’t complete them. Put it does give us the time to keep from “drowning” in work. When teachers are not as stressed it results in better education for your students. I do not like having to go back so early but it beats the alternative I guess the thing that blows my mind is when people use the excuse for regular calendar by saying it is interferring with little league ball tournaments. Give me a break, which is more important, school or little league ball? But there is a valid arguement about the heat in August and hot school buses but when I went to school we did not have AC. So it goes to show that there are pros and cons on both sides. Whatever Cobb County decides to do,support it in front of your children so the teachers won’t have to put up with attitudes and non parent support when the situation is out of their hands. I t does taking getting used to and I have been in a county that has been doing it for several years.

Devil's Advocate

November 25th, 2009
6:06 pm

Teacher…as it has been stated on several occasions, these breaks are NOT breaks for most the kids. Mine have been given huge projects to work on over these “breaks”, The younger children are still dragged out of bed to some childcare arrangement and back home at 6.pm, too dark and /or too cold to play or have outside fun. I guess you forget that if you are a teacher because you get to stay home with yours. I have seen NO improvement in teachers demeanors after these breaks…generally, they load the kids up with even more work to “catch up”. How like a teacher to solve the problem by saying sit down, be quiet and play nice and we’ll all get along fine….nah…doesn’t work for me. I want my kids to understand that wrong is wrong and everyone’s concerns should be heard and respected. KIds need to see their parents willing to stand up for their rights. If we lose the battle, it won’t be for lack of trying…and THEN, we’ll sit down and play nice.

chuck's helper

November 25th, 2009
6:28 pm

To China_Chuck-

Contact a Department of Defense Dependent School. Got to http://www.dodea.edu – I know the ones in Okinawa offer Chinese language courses. You can video chat w/them and not worry about the time difference.

d

November 25th, 2009
6:35 pm

Flipper, just a question about your summer industries argument. Can’t we go to the beach and Six Flags in June instead of August? Frankly, with the temperature about 10 degrees cooler in June, standing in line then is much more pleasant.
Devi;’s Advocate, what’s wrong with projects (as long as it’s the kids, not the parents doing them)? More hands on learning. Frankly, schools are filling up summer with summer reading and tests the first day or two back so what’s so bad about the project over a week-long break? I have pacing guides that really limit my ability to do a lot of that during class time because I have county-mandated benchmark assessments (call them mini-standardized tests) that I have two or three day windows to administer and report back to the county. Forget about having time to reteach a concept if kids don’t get it, keep to the schedule, that’s my county’s philosophy. Fortunately, I will buck the county if it is necessary for the education of my students, but still, the paperwork caused by 25% of salary being in the central office is frustrating. I just remember who I do it for. I just ask that parents quit treating me like a babysitter.

Vivian

November 25th, 2009
6:37 pm

To Seriously, there were no more than 10 emails from anyone that admitted to being a teacher. Therefore, I omitted no more than 10 emails. This still does not make a majority. We can argue till the cows come home about percentages, but the fact is that the majority of parents voices were heard on this issue loud and clear at the ballot box. We voted in four (the majority) on the school board that promised to support later school start dates. So aside from that, just say we base this whole thing on a teacher vote. The district produced the teacher vote which by the way was 4315 for the Balanced calendar and 4216 for any other calendar. Not an overwhelming majority there and as was said earlier Alison Bartlett said the she knew of teachers from FIVE different schools that said they had been coerced into voting for the balanced calendar. The point is the lies and deceipt from our elected officials and administration in Cobb is beyond the pale and yet no law enforcement or oversight group SACS will lay a hand on them. What are the rights of the voters, all we have is the candidates promises and word when we go to the ballot box. What recourse do we have when they blatantly lie without one iota of remorse or reason why. Just I changed my mind.

Philosopher

November 25th, 2009
7:09 pm

OOOH d…Thank you! One of our points exactly! It IS cooler in June…and the air quality considerably safer. So why put kids on boiling buses for hours at a time, have them stand out at hot, smoggy bus stops and then go to school where they can’t even get out to play? Not to mention, because it is so much hotter and more humid in August, the costs are higher! These issues keep circulating round and round and said over and over. The breaks were touted as breaks…they are NOT breaks for the kids. As D.A. stated earlier, for most parents they’re very stressful..finding someone and paying them to watch, in daycares that are completely out of control those weeks, or leave them home alone unsupervised. If they go to daycare, kids have the stress of STILL having to get out of bed before the crack of dawn and deal with the unknowns of childcare. You at least can sleep in for a week. As for projects, these weeks were sold as VACATIONS- clearly stated…no homework…HAH! Why can’t the kid at least be assigned to read a book of their choice? Something pleasurable?! The point is STILL…nothing benefits the parents or kids, education is not improved, parents were NOT given equal representation, our representatives took a stand that got them voted into office, then caved to pressure from as yet unproven sources and betrayed their constituents. THAT IS WRONG!!! Period. I don’t think of you as childcare- that’s bogus. But if you want to rearrange my calendar in a way that greatly burdens me and my kids, have a legitimate reason for doing so!

Philosopher

November 25th, 2009
7:19 pm

Edugator’s post- the first of the day, the first paragraph, sums it up better than anywhere else. The public is being scammed…and they hope we will just wear down while they wait for the smoke to clear… I, for one, hope it doesn’t happen. Keep the pressure on, keep the heat up and hold them accountable..for as long as it takes to expose whatever is behind it.

David

November 25th, 2009
11:15 pm

In a time when the budget is tight and more cuts are coming, I am disappointed that school board members would approve a calendar without even knowing (or caring) about the financial impact. Especially when they use phrases like “could improve student achievement”. Come January it will be hard for me to feel any sympathy when I hear the central office complain about the General Assembly cutting their funding.

ScienceTeacher671

November 26th, 2009
7:45 am

Philosopher, there are districts all over the country reducing instructional time, most notably in Hawaii. In Georgia, the counties I can find in a Google search so far are Barrow, Bartow, Franklin, Fulton, Madison, Murray, and Peach. I thought there were several others but I can’t find them right now. Since the state has passed the new law allowing flexibility on the school calendar, if more furloughs are required next semester I would expect to see more of this, but maybe that’s just me.

[...] here:  Cobb board member defends reversal on balanced calendar | Get Schooled By admin | category: calendar school | tags: answers-critics, board-member, david, [...]

dp

November 26th, 2009
8:55 am

Does this mean that the summer reading assignments in Middle School and High School will stop, or will the kids get cheated out of even more of their summer break (Can’t call it a vacation any more, it’s too short!).

And if your doing this to cut cost, maybe your not counting the costs it takes to air condition the school buildings during the hottest period of the summer (the month of August). It would seem that you’d extend school past Memorial Day, when the heat hasn’t really set in.

steven

November 27th, 2009
8:28 pm

vivian – David Banks is right – there are plenty of us who love this calendar – you just won’t believe it. The only people I know who hate it are people who run summer camps – and you will adjust.

I’m excited about the calendar – thanks David Banks!

A note to Steven:

November 27th, 2009
11:27 pm

So glad you “love” this calendar. It means you will love the negative effect this calendar will have on our fine Cobb County marching bands who have had stellar programs in past years. And yes, thanks David Banks. You’ve dealt our schools a devastating blow. You should be very proud.

d

November 27th, 2009
11:51 pm

Philosopher, so standing in line at Six Flags in the cooler weather is better than being in the air conditioned building during the same time? Pollution is usually not quite so bad in the early morning hours that kids are “standing” at the bus stop. I don’t know of many kids that stand at the bus stop after school, they usually go home. How do parents find someone to watch kids during the summer? Schools are not day cares, but they are treated as such…. oh gee what will I do with the kids if we have a week off in February? Oh gee, not the school’s problem, they aren’t child care centers. Be parents and figure it out. When I was in high school before we moved the end of the fall semester to before Christmas, I had projects every Christmas break. You’re suggesting that learning can and only should take place during school and in the school house. I don’t know about other teachers, but I’ve been up early this entire Thanksgiving break and have projects I need to and will grade — and doing this on a furlough-reduced paycheck

steve2

November 28th, 2009
12:06 am

Banks ran on the promise that he was against the balance calendar, and that he wanted to start the school year later in August. He says he changed his mind. Well, many of us who voted for him did not change our minds about the school calendar. Just one more example of another small-time, arrogant, local politician who loves the power. Remember Cobb voters, 3 board members are up for re-election next July. We get to change our minds at the ballot box this coming summer.

Teacher

December 10th, 2009
7:25 am

The whole problem started when the GA DOE changed from quarters to semesters. Schools could no longer get a clean break before Christmas. Either you had the end of the semester at the end of January, or you start school almost a month ahead of the traditional start date.

One of our stellar leaders from 10 years ago had to make the change. It didn’t make sense then and its more than obvious now. Another ignorant move by our ignorant BOE. Its time to get Glen Brock out of his psuedo educator role. He and his law firm are money grubbing scumbag attorneys.

DMCM

December 10th, 2009
8:00 am

I support the balanced calendar. I wrote in an email to the board members that I support it. I think having a shorter summer break and more breaks through the year is better for kids in that they get the breaks they need, but do not fall as far out of their school routine. My guess is that there are many more of these, but in this kind of situation, you usually only hear from those who did not get what they want, the very vocal minority. Just because you are not hearing as much from those who support the balanced calendar do not assume we are not out here. We just do not feel as compelled to speak out because we are happy with the outcome.

T

December 11th, 2009
6:29 am

For everyone defending the new calendar…. You, along with the school board members, need to start donating to a fund to help pay for all of the court costs and attorney fees for custodial parents who will be unable to comply with their court orders. I’m not worried about paying for a week or two worth of child care, as my son is almost 16 years old. Even if he were at an age where he needed child care, it still would not be an issue. However, I am very worried about how this is going to interfere with a court order, which divides a 10 week summer in half giving 5 weeks to my son’s father and 5 weeks to me. My son goes to visit with his father for two weeks in June, two weeks in July, and the first week of August, as stated in the custody order. So my son will miss the first week of school, which may or may not be excused, lose any chance at a perfect attendance or I deny his father visitation, pay hefty court and attorney fees, a possible contempt of court fee, and risk having my child taken from me? Before my child has to watch his mother and father battle out custody in court, he will watch us team up and file a law suit against the school board for violation of our parental visitation rights and custodial interference. If there is not a precedence already set, then my case will be the one to set it. How much money is the school district saving now? You want to change something that is going to have that much impact on so many families, you might want to poll the families… NOT the teachers… and allow for a transitional period should the change be made… otherwise be prepared to spend a whole lot more money than you plan to save.