A balancing act in Cobb: Nation’s top schools and their calendars

The AJC reported that Cobb cleared its principals of allegations they pressured teachers into endorsing the new balanced calendar.

Still, some parents remain concerned about the move to a balanced calendar and its ramifications. Along with the slight shrinkage of summer, they don’t like the week-long breaks in September and February, on top of vacation weeks for holidays and spring break. Other parents like the flexibility of off-season vacations.

A parent from another metro district moving to a “balanced calendar” sent me this piece of research and a brief summation at the end. He looked up the school calendars for the 10 high schools that made Newsweek’s annual best high schools list. (Please note that he only shows eight systems as the Duval and Dallas school systems each had two high schools in the top 10 list.)

What Newsweek’s Top 10 high schools and their systems do:

Basis Charter, AZ: Aug 10 – May 21, Break days 26, 1×2wk, others 1-3 days

Dallas ISD, TX: Aug 24 – June 3, Break days 30, 1×2wk, 2×1wk, others 1-2 days

Palm Beach Cty, FL: Aug 18 – June 3, Break days 28, 1×2wk, 1×1wk, others 1-3 days

Duval County, FL: Aug 24 – June 11, Break days 25, 1×2k, 1×1wk, others 1-3 days

UCSD, CA: Aug 24 – July 1, Break 26 days, 1×2wk, 2×1wk, others 1-2 days

Charleston Cty, SC: Aug 18 – June 3, Break days 28, 1×2wk, 1×1wk, others 1-3 days

AUHSD, CA: Aug 31 – June 16th, Break days 28, 1×2wk, 2×1wk, others 1 day

BSD, WA: Aug 31 – June 17th, Break days 30, 1×2wk, 2×1wk, others 1-2 days

In summary… all the top national performing school districts (according to Newsweek) do not have a balanced Calendar. They all have a 2 week winter break and one or two 1 week breaks. They all have teacher work days distributed fairly evenly throughout the calendars.

56 comments Add your comment

ScienceTeacher671

December 12th, 2009
10:10 pm

http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2009/06/24/state_issues_new_rules_on_missed_school_days/

The link is to an article stating (in part) that in Massachusetts, it’s traditional to have a week of vacation in both February and April:
“Weiss and others said that parents would be likely to resist the idea of settling for only one vacation in March. Eliminating holidays is also likely to result in increased absenteeism, Weiss said. ‘The February and April breaks are pretty traditional breaks and changing that takes a lot of time,’’ said Calmes.”

IIRC, Massachusetts also has some of the highest scores on the NAEP and other national tests…I suspect that opposition to or support of school calendars has more to do with traditional expectations than student achievement.

One might also note that, for instance, Duval County FL has two high schools on Newsweek’s list, it also has some high schools that would be considered at best mediocre, and probably closer to poor.

BurnOut

December 12th, 2009
10:21 pm

One of the reasons the Cobb County School board gave for a balanced schedule, one that had a week off basically every 6 weeks was student burn out. Well, for one, maybe the burn out is from my Middle School Student getting home close to 5pm because of the 9:15a school start time, and 2 hours of homework every night, to include weekends. Maybe if they took more time to teach in school instead of sending all the work home we could have a summer break from June1 until Aug. 24. Incredible. Maybe quit teaching towards the CRCT and become more of a learning institute and get rid of the failed no child left behind mess.

barneyb

December 12th, 2009
10:23 pm

the Cobb invesitgation was such a whitewash………….as always……….

TJ

December 12th, 2009
10:28 pm

Please look at the Cobb County School District Board Meeting online from 12/10 at 57:25 of the Consent Discussion Agenda Board Comments, http://www.cobbk12.org This will tell you much about the community relationship and the coverage of CCSD.

curious

December 12th, 2009
10:40 pm

Maureen – it would be interesting to see a blog topic about the upcoming furloughs planned by the state, especially since Fulton went to a different calendar to save 1.1 million dollars . . .

Reverie

December 12th, 2009
11:21 pm

The Cobb County School Board sold their souls to get elected then played dead for the teachers union. The parents are almost universally opposed to this change, yet the gutless cowards on our school board don’t have the courage to tell them to shut up and teach. If the teachers are unhappy about their schedule, go somewhere else. Otherwise, quit griping about your job.

verge

December 13th, 2009
12:13 am

Reverie, you all amaze me with mess you all speak out here. What alot of you parents want out there is a babysitter.

teacher

December 13th, 2009
12:20 am

I’m a teacher in the CCSD, and thrilled to teach in it. I’m pursuing an advanced degree in the summer out of state, and this next summer is going to really mess up my 6-week session. I’ve not spoken to one teacher in the system who wanted the balanced calendar. I guess allowing teachers to further their education in the summers isn’t a priority.

Just a Thought

December 13th, 2009
2:38 am

Just a word of caution when interpreting the Newsweek results and comparing it to calendar days. The Newsweek rankings are based on the number of AP/IB tests taken divided by the number of graduating seniors. This has little to do with how many days students are actually in school or what the school calendar looks like. The rankings basically tell you which schools in the US are providing students the most opportunities for advanced college prep classes. Being that these classes are often not reflective of a school’s total population, we have to look at these rankings conservatively. A better indicator would be a school’s pass rates on AYP (I can’t believe I am saying this but it’s true) related tests, i.e. graduation tests and end of course tests which are required by all students.

[...] original here:  A balancing act in Cobb: Nation's top schools and their calendars … By admin | category: calendar school | tags: association, director, director-kevin, [...]

Fed up

December 13th, 2009
6:33 am

Watch the Cobb Dec. 10th Board Meeting…. can you say Salem Witch Trials? If you go to this much trouble to cover up something, it must really reek.

Whiz

December 13th, 2009
7:04 am

Somehow, the Cobb County School Board has become stunningly arrogant and non-representative. Under the chairmanship of Mr. Abramson, dissenters are ridiculed, shouted down, and hauled away by the police. Such hubris by elected officials cannot stand, yet it will take time to undo the damage. Fortunately, Cobb County voters are a patient lot, and will prevail (see “SPLOST for Laptops”).

Mike

December 13th, 2009
7:06 am

Reverie, more than half of the parents of Cobb County students support the new calendar. As mentioned here before, I’m guessing you view the system as some sort of government-sponsored baby-sitting service that shouldn’t interfere with your annual trek to Panama City.
Teacher…kudos on your desire to further your education, but truth is many teachers oppose the balanced calendar because it may get in the way of part-time summer employment and vacation plans.
Finally, if I hear one more parent complain about too much homework in the CCSD I’m going to puke. Let your children do their own homework and you won’t find it as troublesome.

Nickie

December 13th, 2009
7:19 am

One of the problems I have with the “balanced calendar” is that the students don’t truly get a break. How many reading assignments, book reports, research papers and whatnot will be due right after the “break”? When I was in high school in the 60’s it was that way (reports due, big tests, etc., after the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mardi Gras holidays), it was that way for my sons and it won’t change with more short breaks. Instead of getting a chance for an off season vacation families will be ferrying kids to the library or study groups. This is not limited to high school. Fourth and fifth graders have group projects and research papers to do.

Working World

December 13th, 2009
7:25 am

Cobb teachers need to stop complaining and work more hours! Teachers get summers off now and are complaining about that! Schools should go to a full year calendar to keep up with the rest of the world. This is not the 1800s with a summer needed to harvest crops.

Road Scholar

December 13th, 2009
7:36 am

Burn Out: Does your child(ren) take out the trash the first time you tell him/her? So, you think your child has a velcro mind; whatever is said or shown once sticks to his/her brain? Homework has a purpose, to refresh and remind them of what, why, etc they are learning. I had a great Calculus teacher whose mantra was “You don’t learn by watching me, you learn by doing!” He was right in addition to being one helluva teacher.

As for the time, I went to a school where I boarded and we went from 8:45 am to 9 pm including meals, classes, PE, and study hall. While demanding, that’s why the school was rated one of the top 20 in the country. Isn’t it your child’s job to learn?

cobb mom/teacher

December 13th, 2009
7:48 am

Working World, as a Cobb teacher I spend 50+ hours a week at school and bring home work on the weekend. I have no doubt that I work more hours than you. As for the breaks, you complainers need to remember that your elementary children are on the bus at 6:30am, before many of you get out of bed. Then they have dance, soccer, football, baseball, etc. when they get home, some games/practice last until 9:30pm. A growing child needs 12 hours of sleep a night, do the math geniuses and you’ll see these kids aren’t getting enough rest. As for homework, a student can’t be assigned more than 10X their grade level, example, a fifth grade student can’t have more than 50 minutes of homework, including the mandatory 20 minutes of reading Cobb requires per night. This teacher has no intentions of giving assignments over the break. My students can sleep late and play outside, or go visit grandparents, non-custodial parents, or take a vacation as the break was intended.

Jennifer

December 13th, 2009
7:51 am

This doesn’t prove there’s a correlation. Why don’t you see which of these so-called top schhols serves pizza every Friday? If there’s a majority….hey! That’s why!

Tim

December 13th, 2009
7:59 am

I am a retired teacher in a local county that has had a balanced calendar for several years and I loved it. My students loved it, and even parents who were originally opposed to it have agreed that it is a good idea. All of the extraneous arguments (day care, etc) took care of themselves-people adjusted. Give it two years and you folks in Cobb will wonder why you didn’t adopt this calendar much sooner. As for test scores; the greatest indicator of students success is parental involvement; be a major participant in your child’s education and it won’t matter when or where your child is in school. Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion on this matter.

Singing to the Choir

December 13th, 2009
8:15 am

I’ve conducted an informal poll of teachers in Cobb County, but only those that live here, and parents on the balanced calendar. While there were some that liked the balanced calendar the majority did not. Granted, I’m in East Cobb so those are the folks that I talked to. If there is truly nothing to hide, then put it to a vote of the constituents. As for the investigation that cleared Cobb Principals, did you not catch that the investigator did not talk to a single teacher? That’s like asking the fox did he steal the eggs but never talking to the chicken.

MS Maniac

December 13th, 2009
8:41 am

It continues to frustrate me that we “tinker at the edges” of school reform or improvement. Annual calendars, daily schedules, extended school days and the like are all attempts to change schools in the areas that are easiest to control. A board or a superintendent or an administrator can make these changes and put a lot of energy into doing it and have lots of meetings. The problems in education are not about time. They are about the quality of instruction and the expectations of learning that we put on students. Although time is a variable that must be considered, it is not the essential component that will improve schools.

KennesawMom

December 13th, 2009
8:47 am

I would think the teachers would like the balanced calendar because over the past 3-4 years, we have seen more and more teachers taking VACaTIONS during regular school hours. This year, 3 teachers took a trip to NYC during the first week of school! What I would like to see is our schedule stop being catered to high school students. IF they could take their mid-terms in January, like the rest of the country, then we could have a later start date (Sept) and go through June, which would work much better in Atlanta where August is so hot.

steven

December 13th, 2009
9:15 am

I’m for the balanced calendar – I am willing to try it. I’m frustrated with the parents who are really throwing up non-issues to try to keep the 1800 calendar. The only valid issue that I have heard against it, is it will makd it more difficult for high schoolers to get summer jobs and they will not be able to make as much money for the school year. Some familes really do depend on that money. But there are many other reasons to try this calendar.

Having said all that – I am embarrassed to say that we in Cobb county have elected bullies to the board of education. How much glee did those board member take in the well orchestrated public flogging of a fellow board member. If there is one person out there who thinks that those board members didn’t “get together” and determine the best way to get Allison then you are not paying attention.

What I witnessed at the board meeting was awful. Those board members didn’t even treat a fellow board member with any respect. I am disgusted!

MrMatt1113

December 13th, 2009
9:16 am

As a teacher in Cobb I am exited to have this schedule. I know most teachers in my school were in support of the balanced schedule as well. The few teachers that weren’t worked other jobs of taught at Kennesaw State which I understand, but in the end I love the balanced schedule. The major topic / complaint that Cobb county should have is not with the schedule, but with the character of the student population. One of the major reasons the “Top Schools” are where they are is the quality of the students and the home life they lead. The schools are trying so many things to parent the un-parented and keep the “do nothings” in school that it is hurting the over all school environment. When I first started teaching the one word of advise I got repeatedly was ” Don’t take the students home with you.” When I first was told that I was thinking ” Duh, really” But what that really meant was to not take their problems home with you. And i have found that was so hard to do. When you try to teach someone who has no parental support and no self worth it takes time and energy. The problem in Cobb is that those student populations are growing. CRCT, Advisement, every type of meeting on earth will not change the fact that some parents SUCK. Everyday I try to teach that no matter how the students home life is they can always make it better for themselves and their future children. Maybe when I teach my students children we wont be having this conversation.

Some Stuff Different Names

December 13th, 2009
9:27 am

Once again CCSB ignores the parents and the community and does whatever it pleases. I should be stunned but I am not that they admitted having no clue what this change will cost. These are the same people who shamelessly cut budgets throughout the school year and have their hand out to parents for the most basic supplies like paper and ink. The lack of any kind of forum that would have allowed open discussion was a disgrace along with the behavior of these grown adults who are drunk with power and act like a bunch of bullies. I agree we are a patient bunch and these yahoos will be gone soon enough. In the meantime, ECC schools will continue to thrive due to committed parents who support the schools and teachers with time and money. Imagine what we could accomplish if we had a school board that was collaborative, transparent, and open-minded.

gwinnett teacher

December 13th, 2009
9:47 am

Once again we do not have a teachers union in Georgia!!!!

Cobb Taxpayer

December 13th, 2009
9:54 am

Once again, the Cobb School Board defies stakeholders, makes decisions that they cannot defend with facts, honest debate, and offer zero empirical data or studies to support their votes and look and act totally foolish. How did the good citizens of Cobb elect such baffoons ?

Philosopher

December 13th, 2009
10:10 am

@BurnOut..finally- someone other than myself speaks out about the day in the life of a good student! Where were you when the teachers were bashing me for agruing against this unbalanced calendar? I could have used you :)
@Cobbmom/teacher..I don’t know where these rules about homework came from or if any teacher I know of has heard it, because it just doesn’t happen. Or perhaps the teachers think this directive is for each subject. My daughter begins her homework at 4p.m. and often has homework in all subjects, finishing at 10:00 or later. May I send my daughter to whereever you teach….PLEASE?
@Road Scholar: you must be a teacher. This is NOT about using the school for childcare- bogus argument..quit using it. It’s about a schedule that makes sense for all the people affected, not just public school employees. Also, as a teacher, you get to keep your kids home with you, so it’s no skin off your nose. Arguing that parents shouldn’t complain about childcare issues is bogus, too. Show us the benefit to the STUDENTS, only, if you can..no one else has been able to and I personally don’t care if you need a break..I am SICK of teachers bashing the concerns of parents and children as if they had no merit…it diminishes your professionism.

ATLNative

December 13th, 2009
10:46 am

I really don’t care about the calendar issue one way or another but the parent’s analysis in this situation does not prove her claim for numerous reasons.

1. The parent is assuming correlation leads to causation which is a very dangerous assumption. There are many many other reasons why these schools may have high performance. Some of them are selective; many are small, etc.

2. Logically, most schools right now are under a non-balanced calendar. So, we would expect that most schools on BOTH the best and worst performing lists would not have a balanced calendar.

3. The Newsweek scores are based on AP test participation, which is not influenced by a calendar system. If anything, based on my conversations with some neighbors with over-achieving high school children, I suspect that schools under the calender may see a gain under the Newsweek system because the pace of courses won’t be as fast, thus encouraging more student participation.

4. A better way to evaluate this would be to ask, of the schools districts that have a balanced calendar, what percentage of their schools are in the top 100, 200, 500, etc? How does this compare to districts that do not have such a calendar? This statistic has far more meaning than a question asking what calendar schools in the top 100, 200, 500 have because of the aforementioned reasons.

Philosopher

December 13th, 2009
11:14 am

@ATLNative: That sounds all very logical except we don’t have the luxury of depending on such fine distinctions here. We are at the bottom academically! Why would we need to make these drastic calendar changes when there is NO evidence it will help academically?! Let’s start somewhere where there IS success and go from there. Georgia has been fighting educational changes for years, constantly bending to the will of one political persasion or another but never advancing steps that actually improve our academics. We don’t need to make stupid moves that have no proven merit(e.g.,the “balanced” calendar). If we can’t do it on our own, let’s look at who’s doing really well go for it…we certainly can’t do any worse!

pay attention folks

December 13th, 2009
11:18 am

I’d love to know how many of these top highschools are on block scheduling.
Block scheduling brings with it the need to start school so early in August (so the semester can end by the holiday break.
Further, students on block who take an AP course in the fall do not take the exam until the spring…..that doesn’t sound like the best strategy.

Lookie, lookie!

December 13th, 2009
11:43 am

Look – not one of those schools starts AFTER Labor Day – the other big fact people like to tout as being critical to success (like it’s the calendar that makes a difference, and not the demographics – please).

Look – there’s no true teacher’s union is Georgia – the minute someone throws that in their comment, I immediately dismiss anything else they have to say as being uninformed and ignorant.

Look – teachers work the days they are paid for (which is shrinking as we speak). Teachers will be paid for 190 days no matter how they are spread out unless the community wants to pony up more duckies for more days – I don’t see that happening in this economic climate – do you? Teachers do a lot during those unpaid breaks – don’t assume.

Look – there ARE some parents who look at school as nothing more than childcare – and their kids are usually the ones disrupting YOUR child’s education.

Look – NCLB is a federal mandate – it’s not Cobb county’s idea and it can’t just be gotten “rid of” so easily…

Look – the 10 minutes per grade level HW suggestion is a guideline, not a formalized rule, although some principals enforce it more than others – it gets thrown out the window if your child is taking Honors & AP classes. If you are concerned about the amount of homework your child has, you need to do three things – one, talk to your child’s teachers – how much of the supposed “home”work is actually unfinished classwork, that your child had a chance to do in school but chose to do something else instead – do the teachers work together to try not to assign too much in any given night? Second, talk to your child – is your child doing only homework, or is s/he IM’ing and multi-tasking while trying to do homework? Why is it taking him/her so long? Are ts/he unorganized and spending an hour of that time just trying to get started? I ask that as a parent of a child who had about a half hour of homework that regularly took two until I intervened. Some parents get mad if their children have too much homework – others complain if they get too little – it’s a no-win situation.

Lookie, lookie!

December 13th, 2009
11:49 am

philosopher – Cobb is NOT on the bottom – no matter which test you look at (ITBS, SAT, etc)) Cobb scores ABOVE the national average. I agree with the tendency of buying into the cure du jour, but don’t lump CCSD in with the rest of the state (which is based on something the SAT itself says is an invalid use of its results).

The balanced calendar has been shown to help students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds, of which Cobb has increasing numbers. I’m not necessarily for it, however, I grew up in the aforementioned Massachusetts, and that February break was welcome! On the flipside, we went to school until the third week of June – even the fourth if we had a lot of snow days.

Philosopher

December 13th, 2009
1:09 pm

@Lookie, lookie!…I apologize for not being clearer on that one. I wasn’t speaking of Cobb County specifically, but of all of Georgia. This is the standard M.O. of schoolboards…bow to whoever has the power to demand what they want, regardless of whether it is evidence-based improvement, practical, or not. It’s time for Georgia do what is right for the KIDS, for education and for the taxpayers. There is NOTHING wrong with being concerned about how calendar changes affect parents(taxpayers)and their childcare problems, either, because, after all…the parents pay the taxes that give teachers the jobs.!

ScienceTeacher671

December 13th, 2009
2:12 pm

….as if teachers aren’t also parents and taxpayers….

chuck

December 13th, 2009
3:04 pm

Interesting comments. I am currently studying year-round schools for my dissertation. Of course the premise in the initial post concerning the “top ten schools” is hopelessly irrelevant as several have pointed out. There are some interesting correlations that ARE relevant. First there is a very strong correlation between year-round schools and teacher job satisfaction. While this may not seem like a benefit for kids, trust me it is. To understand it better you’ll have to wait until your kid is stuck in the class of a dissatisfied teacher. Another important correlation is that of discipline. There is a strong relationship between year-round schools and fewer discipline problems, which of course benefits students in a number of ways. Finally, there is evidence to suggest that students benefit from the year-round calendar with better math scores and ESOL students perform better on Reading and Language Arts Assessments.

I find the most interesting opposition to be those who claim that the unbalanced calendar in some way BENEFITS STUDENTS. I wish that one of you would enlighten me. I have not found a single study in the literature that supports that. I just don’t see how laying around in bed until noon, playing video games and watching tv 10 hours a day has any kind of benefit for students beyond a week or two to refresh themselves. Beyond that it really just leads to laziness and lack of motivation that sometimes takes weeks to break at the beginning of the school year. It seems to me the only people inconvenienced by a calendar change are parents of younger children. You can bet that daycare providers will make any adjustments necessary to continue making a living.

chuck

December 13th, 2009
3:51 pm

why is my former comment being held hostage?

Singing to the Choir

December 13th, 2009
3:55 pm

Maureen, please delete the comment from “Cobb Emp who was there”. The comment is not relevent to the blog and could be slanderous. Bloggers should stick to the topic.

high school teacher

December 13th, 2009
4:00 pm

Wow, talk about beating a dead horse… are we discussing the Cobb calendar catastrophe again?

Cobb Emp who was there

December 13th, 2009
4:26 pm

“Singing”, the post should remain because:
1) the reporter’s past assertions are based on credibility & behavior, traits he himself allegedly doesn’t portray.
2) no slander is made because no individual was named and it is an allegation to be looked into, not just swept under the rug.
3) reporters incur a credibility hit when one of their own misbehaves on the job!

Cobb? YUK!!!

December 13th, 2009
5:29 pm

Cobb clears it principals for a lot of evilness inspired by those above the principal. Cobb wanted everyone to think they did very little teacher layoffs, but the truth is the principals were directed to target their staff who had not made tenure and do an all out hatchett job on them by any means necessary. I’m sure they were told that the higher ups had their backs…and they did.

Principals forced newer teachers out of the system by making up inadequacies, giving them living hell, then giving them the infamous ultimatum to “resign or be non-renewed.” Yep, CCSD is a cesspool of hellish maneuvers that need to be exposed.

chuck

December 13th, 2009
8:24 pm

As one who is studying year-round schools, I thing there are some Interesting comments. I am currently studying year-round schools for my dissertation. Of course the premise in the initial post concerning the “top ten schools” is hopelessly irrelevant as several have pointed out. There are some interesting correlations that ARE relevant. First there is a very strong correlation between year-round schools and teacher job satisfaction. While this may not seem like a benefit for kids, trust me it is. To understand it better you’ll have to wait until your kid is stuck in the class of a dissatisfied teacher. Another important correlation is that of discipline. There is a strong relationship between year-round schools and fewer discipline problems, which of course benefits students in a number of ways. Finally, there is evidence to suggest that students benefit from the year-round calendar with better math scores and ESOL students perform better on Reading and Language Arts Assessments.

I find the most interesting opposition to be those who claim that the unbalanced calendar in some way BENEFITS STUDENTS. I wish that one of you would enlighten me. I have not found a single study in the literature that supports that. I just don’t see how laying around in bed until noon, playing video games and watching tv 10 hours a day has any kind of benefit for students beyond a week or two to refresh themselves. Beyond that it really just leads to laziness and lack of motivation that sometimes takes weeks to break at the beginning of the school year. It seems to me the only people inconvenienced by a calendar change are parents of younger children. You can bet that daycare providers will make any adjustments necessary to continue making a living.

Cobb Teacher

December 13th, 2009
9:00 pm

The investigators didn’t have to interview us in our school regarding our principal, because every teacher in the school signed a letter stating we weren’t coerced in any way. The board member that accused the principals of coercion isn’t even representative of the schools that she accused, refused to say what teachers did it, and couldn’t back up her claims with any sort of coherent fact.

Singing to the Choir

December 13th, 2009
9:14 pm

Maureen,

How about a blog on the ethics of the school board, then Cobb Emp Who was there can post relevant opinions. To Cobb Teacher, Alison Bartlett did not disclose the teachers or principals, get your facts straight. I can tell you several teachers did not sign anything. Not sure where you teach but it isn’t one of the East Cobb ES.

This doesn't make sense

December 13th, 2009
9:57 pm

I’m one of those that didn’t want the new calendar but I also don’t think we should be wasting any more time dwelling on the issue. I took Bartlett’s allegations seriously but the investigator that did this investigation does have a credible record (she investigated the North Cobb principal and went against Abraham’s recommendations then).

I’m actually quite concerned that Bartlett did very little to assist in the fact-finding. If there’s going to be an investigation, without actual teacher names, all the investigator can do is interview random staff members and if they find no problem, then they can only conclude no proof of wrongdoing, wasting our taxpayer dollars. Realistically, what other outcome can you expect?? I’m also concerned as are many others in our community that Ms. Bartlett is purporting to speak for teachers that she herself does not represent based on emails that she has yet to reproduce. At the very least, she should be able to release the content of the emails with the identities with-held. Making general allegations without sufficient proof (and this is what I’m concerned about) is not ethical conduct either.

Tired of this issue

December 13th, 2009
10:01 pm

Ok, this is ridiculous. I’m a Cobb parent and I honestly hate how this issue is being sensationalized by the media and a few vocal East Cobb parents. The board voted, some like their decision and some don’t. It’s time to move on! And I will add that Bartlett is my representative and I am INFURIATED that she’s apparently out representing parents in other parts of the county and wasting our tax dollars on investigations over allegations that she either can’t or won’t produce sufficient evidence for. There are schools in this part of the county that could use some of the attention being devoted to the calendar.

Do your job, Alison!!!!

Philosopher

December 14th, 2009
8:44 am

@Tired of this issue..if this calendar had as negative an impact on your life as it will on so many other parents’, you wouldn’t be so quick to tell everyone to just suck it up and take it. This is one of the things that makes being an American so great…the freedom to follow what stinks to its source. THAT hasn’t yet been done here.

PO'd Taxpayer

December 14th, 2009
8:58 am

To Tired of this issue — Alison is the ONLY board member that is representing her constituents and looking out for the children throughout Cobb County. Listen to her words carefully. She made comments that spoke to whether the survey was fair… considering it was not anonymous. She brought forth comments that were made to her. She did not make allegations against schools and their principals; she chose to respect the confidentiality of the people who contacted her. CCSD made those allegations and (I suspect) they picked two prominent East Cobb HS and one MS knowing that those parents would get riled and come out to defend their principals. Very clever ruse on CCSD’s part, but it will eventually backfire. I am one of those parents and a group of us know the principals were lied to. Elections can’t come soon enough.
To Cobb Employee that was there — you should be very careful whom you slander. The AJC might want to consider that caution as well. The reporter in question was treated for a diabetic incident. He was not drunk and saying so only demeans yourself. To others on this blog that don’t understand the mean-spiritness that CCSD would go to, I will tell you that while the reporter was suffering from a sugar imbalance, I was told that a CCSD area superintendent and the camera person hired for the CCSB meeting were both taping him stumbling around. They also could be heard laughing about his inability to walk straight. No compassion. It was absolutely disgusting and proves to me that CCSD and CCSB have no business educating kids.

Silent Majority

December 14th, 2009
10:03 am

As I see it there are three separate issues here.

1. The purported benefits of the balanced calendar. My take: it won’t influence achievement either way. Has pros and cons depending on parent and isn’t worth bringing up again and again.
2. The blog’s posting about the top high schools. My take: shows correlation but not much else.
3. Alison Bartlett’s allegations of teacher coercion. My take: Given the gravity of her allegations, Ms. Bartlett needs to open up and give more evidence for her claims. This is a serious allegation and not one that should be levied based on anonymous emails, I am disgusted at her unwillingness to release these emails (even when offered the opportunity to leave out the senders’ names), thereby costing taxpayers a small fortune. Any third party that can’t obtain evidence would be rightly skeptical. Bottom line – Ms. Bartlett’s conduct is unethical because she is either 1. Impeding an investigation that could show wrongdoing by with-holding evidence or 2. Levying false allegations.

This deserves an investigation

December 14th, 2009
10:21 am

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one scratching my head as to why we had to conduct an investigation on teacher coercion without a shred of credible evidence. Bartlett refused to discuss either the contents of the emails or provide any other proof besides insisting coercion occurred. How are the investigators supposed to find wrongdoing when their efforts are stonewalled by Bartlett herself?

The AJC should investigate the suspect circumstances regarding Bartlett’s claims. Common sense tells us we should NOT be spending money investigating every time a board member opens his or her mouth.