Cobb axes balanced calendar. Did system move too fast?

The Cobb board nixed the system's Aug. 1 starting date Thursday night, returning to a mid August start. (AP Image)

The Cobb board nixed the system's Aug. 1 starting date Thursday night, returning to a mid August start. (AP Image)

Unpacked the car, put in the first load of wash and patted the dog  Now, it is time to catch up on all the news that occurred in my five-day absence — due to my school system’s adoption of a balanced calendar that shortens the summer and imposes week-long breaks in September and February on top of the holiday and spring breaks.

Cobb was on the same schedule — until a lively school board meeting last night.

Looks like Cobb acted with lightening speed to revert back to the “traditional” school calendar.  And upset some parents in the process.

Without addressing the merits of the vote, I confess to surprise that any school board would move this quickly after less than a year with the so-called balanced calendar. I thought this would be one of those study committee things that took at least three months to come to a final vote.

But according to the AJC, Cobb will now start school on Aug. 15, rather than Aug. 1, which is when my kids go back this year. (As far as I know, there is no movement here in Decatur to switch back.)

According to the AJC:

More than 20 parents, teachers and students spoke about the calendar at the board meeting, and dozens more held signs and listened. Most were in favor of keeping the current schedule. However, board members who voted for the traditional format said it would save the district millions in summer utility bills.

“I was very concerned about academic achievement and the budget, and that’s what we’re looking at,” said Kathleen Angelucci, who represents the North Cobb area.

According to an online survey conducted by the district, 77.2 percent of one-time respondents supported keeping the Aug. 1 start date, while 14.7 percent voted to start Aug. 15. The remaining 8 percent supported an Aug. 17 start date. Officials estimate about 38,500 people responded to the survey, some voting multiple times.

Parents who spoke in favor of the balanced calendar said walking away from the schedule would be disruptive to the system. Some pleaded with the board to stop debating the calendar and focus on other issues, such as the budget and the superintendent search.

“The legislators are in session — there are going to be budget cuts. This will affect how we can deliver the quality education our system provides,” said Karen Hallacy, who spoke to the board. “I hope you can move on from the calendar discussion and work on the academic achievement of our students.”

The balanced calendar was approved with the intention of a three-year trial period and the goal of improving student achievement by providing time for students to rest or get extra academic help. Supporters said it’s too soon to tell if it has had a positive effect on test scores.

“There is no new data we have to consider. We haven’t completed a single school year under the balanced calendar,” said Dara Fairgrieves, who spoke to the board. “Only when we have the facts can we make a firm decision and have an intelligent debate on the factual and not the emotional.”

Those who feel passionately about the traditional calendar said it is a better fiscal choice. Some board members even campaigned on a promise to nix the spread-out school year.

“Voters went to the ballot box,” said Vivian Jackson, a parent. “We do not want this experiment to continue another year.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

51 comments Add your comment

East Cobb Mom

February 18th, 2011
9:27 pm

There is nothing “traditional” about an August 15th start with Christmas break beginning on December 23rd and last day of school before Memorial Day. Of the 3 new school board members, one ran unopposed in the general election and the others ran against very weak opponents. Voters did not vote against the Balanced Calendar in November, there were just no good candidates. Two of the three were funded by the “Georgians Need Summers” that is a special interest group that lobbies for Six Flags/White Water. Ms. Angelucci, one of the new Board members, stated so in an email to multiple people questioning her position on the issue. Parents, Students, and Teachers have voted overwhelming in two surveys in favor of the Balanced Calendar, but this Board chose to disregard their constituents.

wannabeteacher

February 18th, 2011
9:27 pm

Kathleen Angelucci, one of our new CCSD board members who turned her back on her constitutents, said this after she was elected:
I want my tenure on the school board to be very collaborative. It is time to mend the relationship that the board has with the community, with our teachers, with our legislators and with parents. With their input, we will be better prepared to deal with the challenges we currently face in Cobb County – and those that may come our way in the future.
The irony of this is unbelievable.

East Cobb Mom

February 18th, 2011
9:39 pm

Mr. Sweeney is also a new CCSB member who said on his campaign website: “Citizens, when sensing their voices are not heard and their desires are not acted upon, will fail to support new initiatives put forth by the Central Office and members of the Board of Education.”
“Every action taken by the Cobb County School District should have to pass one simple test. Is what we are about to undertake “definitely” going to improve the scholastic achievement of district students? If the answer is no, there must be overwhelming and compelling evidence to justify the action.” More irony….

Dr. John Trotter

February 18th, 2011
9:41 pm

Maureen, Welcome back. This story on the Cobb calendar has been hashed and re-hashed since you have been gone. Let’s let it die a slow death now. On to the real story…about how Michael Bowers, et al., spanked the heck out of the top brass in the Atlanta Public Schools for actions which essentially border on witness tampering and/or obstruction of justice. Now this is the story.

A tired Cobb teacher

February 18th, 2011
9:43 pm

Another slap in the face to the teachers. Morale will be lower. Tired of people blaming teachers and thinking we are greedy and thankless. Please..come sub for a few days in our high schools, in our regular ed classes of 30+..experience the volume of chaos and lack of support, experience the administrators who are overwhelmed with discipline issues..why can’t you examine these issues rather than the calendar? We are going to lose dedicated teachers because we are simply exhausted. It is time to hold students accountable; why is it my responsibility to make a child be respectful? If I didn’t have this break right now, I think I would find myself in a mental institute. It is bad enough that most of my colleagues are seeking medical help, i.e. anti-anxiety medication and depression medication to survive! Public school is failing..charge for school and then maybe parents would really step in and discipline their kids.

AJinCobb

February 18th, 2011
9:46 pm

This flip-flop is irrational and disruptive. Having voted for a three year trial, the board should have followed through on that plan and gathered enough information on the experience to make a rational decision. As it is, the preferences of the students, parents and teachers, who surely ought to be the principal stakeholders in the system, apparently count for much less than commercial interests. Is this democracy in action?

Dr. John Trotter

February 18th, 2011
9:50 pm

Tired Teacher: We feel your pain, but basically the AJC, the politicians, and the policy-makers don’t want to hear about the lack of discipline or to even address this smelly 800 pound gorilla in the parlor.

Do you want a job?

February 18th, 2011
10:19 pm

Do you want your breaks, or do you want a job? with a state losing revenue daily, and a Governor and legislature about to cut funding yet once again…. how exactly do you want to save 25 million? Personally, I love the breaks, but if it saves teaching position, yes, I’ll be there Dec. 23rd….

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Neil Sullivan, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Cobb axes balanced calendar. Did system move too fast? http://bit.ly/eBNMpc [...]

Cobb Co. Teacher and Parent

February 18th, 2011
10:43 pm

Petition for the August 1st Calender
http://www.petitions24.com/
Also join the petition group on Facebook.

Cobb Teacher 2

February 18th, 2011
10:56 pm

@Do you want a job?

UMMM…do you really believe that this calendar switch is going to save money? If we were really interested in saving money on cooling costs, we would move the start date to after Labor Day. Why do we insist on starting school in August?

d

February 19th, 2011
1:24 am

@Do you want a job – actually state revenues have been up for 8 straight months. Also, we’re looking at a lot of trade-offs here, but the two I’ve seen come up most often – 1) the money used to pay for utilities has been offset by teachers not being out as much – I believe Mr. Sanderson said 8,700 fewer teacher absences compared to this time last year (and btw, students do learn a whole lot more when the regular classroom teacher is present as compared to a substitute teacher)…. 2) What to do with the children and childcare during September and February weeks off? Well, now you have to figure what to do with the children during the first two weeks of August instead. This wasn’t two additional weeks of child care anywhere.

Do you want a job?

February 19th, 2011
4:41 am

d- do you really think the legislature is going to fully fund education? Deal has already stated there will be cuts to education. If the decrease in sub pay offset the utility costs, why did Mr. Sanderson refuse to provide those utility costs to the board or distribute them to the public?

Cobb Teacher – I agree a post Labor Day start would go even further. Watch the state cut funding to education by cutting the days we are in school 180- 175? 170?

No faith in politicians

February 19th, 2011
5:32 am

Here in lies the problems with the vote Thursday night:
1) Don’t ask for our opinions and then disregard them. If you as CCSD Board members already have your minds made up, don’t ask us!
2) Before you offer alternative calendars to choose, please look at all of the calendar dates. The problem with the two alternative choices was not the two different start dates but the ending date for the Fall semester for high school students who have to take Final Exams. Both alternatives offered a Dec. 23rd ending date. We will have numerous students absent for finals which will cause all kinds of problems with making up finals when we return after the holiday break and getting final grades set for transcripts.
3) We have not even completed a year on this “balanced calendar” so we do not conclusive test data to say that this calendar does not improve student achievement.
4) Don’t approve a school calendar for three years, post it on the website, have parents, teachers, and students make plans for sports camps, weddings, vacations, etc. based on these calendars and then change it. When you as Board members cause me to lose precious money that I have invested in trying to plan ahead for my kids and family, especially in this lousy economy, you will hear about it when the ballot box rolls around again.
IDIOTS, IDIOTS, IDIOTS!

justin

February 19th, 2011
6:53 am

So, what are the numbers? Can somebody PLEASE be specific and tell us the numbers?

d

February 19th, 2011
7:37 am

@Do – No, I know they’re not going to fully fund education, I was merely pointing out that the state is not losing money as you stated. At this point, I think they’re rebuilding the “rainy day fund.” Not what I would like to see happen of course.

ABC

February 19th, 2011
8:11 am

d: about childcare. There are WAY more options for the 2 weeks in August than in Sep and Feb. Older kids can keep their summer jobs 2 weeks longer. Younger kids have a plethora of camps and alternatives. This also affects divorced parents: it’s way easier to dealer with summer breaks than who gets the kids in Feb and Sep.

Hey Teacher

February 19th, 2011
8:33 am

ABC — I don’t know where you live, but in my area there is not a “plethora of camps and alternatives”. Most of the lesser expensive camps run early in the summer, leaving parents to scramble for the rest of it. The week before school starts has always been a problem for teachers (who are back at work) because there are so few camps open at that time.

Childcare has always been a headache, no matter what calendar we have. But IMHO, the balanced calendar was not given a fair chance to work.

Hannibal Hamlin

February 19th, 2011
8:50 am

The Gang of Four do not care about the parents, teachers, or the students! Bartlett called a special Board Meeting Friday afternoon to discuss her Superintendent search. Only 7 people from Georgia even bothered to apply. Help us all!

EC Mom

February 19th, 2011
9:47 am

Three different calendars in three years. It is embarrassing that Cobb has spent so much time recently debating school calendars that vary by a couple of weeks at the most. My biggest problem is that the four who voted against the calendar did not have the courage to stand up against having a survey since they clearly were not concerned with the results. Some people were naive enough to think the survey results would matter. Ignoring that a majority prefer to keep the balanced calendar made things even worse.

I don’t really care which calendar we have. I prefer to start school the 2nd or 3rd week in August, not August 1st; but the added breaks have been beneficial for my children, and not because we went skiing or to the beach. Not everyone in East Cobb can afford vacations during every school break – shocking, but true! I see pros and cons with each calendar.

Some of the arguments on both sides of the issue are silly and overly dramatic. The whole off season vacation argument is weak. Either homeschool or pull your children out of school and deal with the consequences if you want off season vacations. This is not a reason to change the school calendar! I do, however, see how the breaks can make for happier and more productive teachers and students. I also don’t buy the argument that starting school two weeks later will save millions of dollars. It’s not like schools are not completely shut down with the AC turned off during the summer. And does anyone remember that we had temperatures in the 90s during the September break? AC would have been running full blast and kids would have been sweating on school buses had they been in school. Oh, and let’s not forget the childcare issue. How do people cope with snow days and sick children if they can not deal with replacing two weeks of childcare during the summer with two weeks during the school year.

For all of you who strongly support the balanced calendar, I suggest you start looking for potential school board candidates who will campaign in favor of it. That is what the “Georgians Need Summers” people did. Scott Sweeny’s campaign manager was a co-founder of the group. I hate to see a vocal group that does not represent the majority get their way, but they helped get board members elected who were against the balanced calendar and that goes a lot further than survey results.

catlady

February 19th, 2011
10:18 am

I’d like to see a 160 day calendar, and fewer bus stops. Our system is large (space-wise) and rural, and each kid gets picked up at the end of their driveway. Near my house there are 5 stops in 100 yards–crazy.

When I have made the argument for centralized pickups (like at churches–we have hundreds of them) I am told parents won’t send them to school if they have to take them to a centralized spot. Well, that is handled through the court system. We need to be requiring parental investment, not doing everything but catching the babies as they emerge from the womb! These same kids made it to centralized summer feeding spots, on time.

While on that, I find it hard to understand why we are feeding kids 5 days a week, year-round. What happened to parental responsibility? In addition, we send home backpacks with food in them every Friday so that kids will have food over the weekend. I’m sorry, but did I miss something? And, in addition to this, and food stamps for those who are willing to apply, we have 3 places that people can go for food, and one place that provides a hot lunch to anyone who shows up, 5 days a week.
Yes, we do have poverty, but we also have huge amounts of land that can be used for a garden. We even have a community gardening program. But it is so much easier to stand under the “No Smoking” sign, smoking and waiting for someone to give you something.

Time to have some stepping up to the plate. Enabling this lack of parental investment is a totally wrong move–it carries over to lack of involvement in so many things in the children’s lives.

How does this relate to the topic? Not sure, except that a common theme is parents not wanting to be responsible for their kids.

Oh yes, I'm the great pretender......

February 19th, 2011
11:18 am

Schools in Georgia “should not” start before September 1st……period. Most everyone of you commenting here have that “entitlement mentality” so prevalent across our great country. You want something because “if I don’t get it, it’s gonna spoil my family’s vacations” or “I’m gonna have to stay home from work to take care of my kids”, etc. (don’t have ‘em if you can’t take care of ‘em). You know, us old folks used to get along just fine with a later start……we made it, our parents survived it and you can too……all of you are just so used to getting your own way and now you’re passing it on to your children…….the future scares the hell out of me.

catlady

February 19th, 2011
12:12 pm

great pretender: In fact, if you have mastered the subject, taking an exam on it after Christmas break should be no problem! So that is a specious argument as well.

wannabeteacher

February 19th, 2011
12:17 pm

East Cobb mom and I both pointed out irony. Let’s call it what it really is–hypocrisy. Both Angelucci and Stultz (I’m not sure of the other two) are Republicans. I can only imagine that when Obama and Congress passed Obamacare against the wishes of the American people (and not with nearly the 71% mandate that Cobb County expressed), these two were probably frustrated and angry; yet they chose to disregard the people of their own communities.
And Dr. Trotter, you can say it’s been hashed and rehashed all you want, but we are the ones who have to live with school on Dec. 23rd. I’m not finished yet.

ABC

February 19th, 2011
12:19 pm

Oh hey, I am ALL about starting school after Labor Day. I think that’s a GREAT idea. My biggest issue with the balanced calendar is being is school in August! For some reason, people here in GA have this thing about school starting sometime in Aug, and I believe it has NOTHING to do with exams after the Xmas break and it is ALL about the football schedule.

I point out the childcare issues because I know lots of people have them. I DON’T. I own my own business and my schedule is very flexible. But this isn’t (shockingly) all about me. It’s about hundreds of parents that have to work. I wouldn’t have so much of an issue with the “balanced” calendar if it didn’t include being in school in August which I think it’s just a nightmare. This year, it was even too hot for the kids to be out at recess!!!! Seriously???

EC Mom

February 19th, 2011
1:51 pm

Can we please all get something staright? Starting school before Labor Day has NOTHING to do with a balanced calendar, which provides more breaks throughout the school year. It has to do with completing the first semester before winter holidays. Even Scott Sweeney is on record as to being in support of ending the semester prior to winter holidays. This requires a mid-August start date whether there is a balanced calendar or not.

The only way to have a Labor Day to Memorial Day school calendar is to have very few breaks, as in a couple of days for Thanksgving, a week for Christmas and a couple of days at Easter. How many people would like to give up spring break and that second week of winter break? Maybe some would, but I bet most would not.

I have many friends and relatives who live up north. Many of them start school after Labor Day and do not finish until MID TO LATE JUNE. A February break plus a spring break is pretty common for northeastern schools, by the way. I could not care less if Georgia schools shift the school year to start after Labor Day, but I can assure you people will then complain about school not letting out until mid-June. It does not matter what calendar we have, some will complain about it.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJC and drerinryan, Victoria Drew. Victoria Drew said: RT @ajc: #Cobb schools axe balanced calendar. Did system move too fast? http://bit.ly/gxsYtr [...]

Oh yes, I'm the great pretender......

February 19th, 2011
5:31 pm

Catlady – Please refrain from using words I have to look up. Thanks!!!!! :)

Robin

February 19th, 2011
6:05 pm

If you oppose the calendar — sign the petition! http://www.petitions24.com/ccsd_calender

CCSB – Who do you think you are? You simply can not just do as you please! You have gone against the votes of your parents, students, teachers and administrators TWICE. You would not even listen to your superintendents recommendation to keep the balanced calendar. Fellow Cobb County Parents and Friends: Spread the word and sign the petition. IF they are allowed to get away with this just think what they will do next!

Nona

February 19th, 2011
7:18 pm

We keep re-electing different people to our school board expecting different results, and perhaps one day, voters will be fed up enough to quit pretending that this system will work if we put the mythical, non-existent “right people” in office. Every few years we end up with a new panel of yahoos and incompetents who have no idea how ridiculous they look and no clue of the damage they do to our kids’ education. Schools are no longer about educating students, so why would we expect education to be the No. 1 priority of our school board? The whole system needs to be torn down, chucked, and re-designed.

Oh, and BTW, the purpose of schools is to EDUCATE OUR KIDS, not to provide babysitting service for parents, so if you have to rearrange your vacation plans or pay for childcare because the the EDUCATION schedule doesn’t work for you, well, it’s your responsibility as a parent to deal with it so that your kid ends up with a better education than you apparently have.

My heart and enduring respect goes out to honest, dedicated, well-meaning teachers who are purgatory-bound between clueless parents who vote and obtuse board members and administrators obsessed with keeping their jobs. The only surprising thing about this entire situation is that such creatures still exist and are still willing to work in such a ridiculous, humiliating, pointless environment.

Judy

February 19th, 2011
7:21 pm

Can anyone tell me the cost of the survey they never had any intention of taking into account?

Herve Muller

February 19th, 2011
7:30 pm

The main problem with the new calendar is not so much the start date or the additional breaks during the year. The main problem is keeping the kids in school until December 23 and then prolonging the winter break until January 8. Letting the kids off school on December 23 will make it almost impossible for any family to get out of town unless they force their kids to miss school. If you have ever tried to book airline tickets the day before Christmas, you know it is going to be super expensive and you risk never getting there with seasonal weather disruption. I think a good proportion of families do travel out of state for Christmas and this is really going to be disruptive for them.

PsychMom

February 19th, 2011
8:52 pm

As long as no more school days are cut, any schedule is fine by me. Although, I don’t see how the balanced calendar is any more beneficial than any other. I find the surveys laughable. They are not remotely valid. Anyone can take them, and lots of people know how to stack them. Obviously, those without internet access or those who don’t speak English or read English are not even taking part in the survey. I’m guessing it is not a representative sample.

As someone who has only lived here a few years, I find it interesting that there are 2 week breaks anywhere in the schedule. Two week breaks are a week too long, IMO. Everywhere else I have lived, kids were off 2 days for Thanksgiving, winter break began on the 24th and returned right after the New Year, and there was a 1 week break in February and 1 week in April. That schedule was always fine by me.

A tired Cobb teacher

February 19th, 2011
9:39 pm

Dr. Trotter:
How do we address this? This seems to be a major issue. Secret cameras in the school? The bands of students wandering halls who only seem to come to school to have fun, get a lunch, and sell drugs? Ask a teacher in my school and they will say, “No way, my child will never be allowed in this school!” What does that say about our school system? I’m ready to give up my secure job because it is unethical for me to continue this farce. I do have some wonderful students, but it is embarassing to not be able to rid the class of those who destroy my minimal chances of educating those who want to learn. Who remembers going to a large gathering in Perry,GA where even Perdue visited and we discussed how we should offer other avenues besides college prep for students? We were told that Georgia is desperate for graduates who were work-force ready and yet we continue to force unwilling students to pursue a college track. If you are not IB or AP, you are regulated into a large class and for those of us who are in the trenches, little needs to be said. As one sub said recently, “I’ve given up..I’m sick of the disrespect..I just let them be and get my check.” So, are we just a warm body that is daily abused? Or, do we want to do something?

Cobb_Dad

February 19th, 2011
9:56 pm

@PsychMom, It’s good that the schedule you’ve had other places is “fine” by you, but it is not fine by us. The Cobb school board and their village idiot Fred Sanderson told us the new calendar would be for three years and now new board members have decided to vote that down even though the majority want to see how the current calendar works for at least a couple of years! The Georgians Need Summers lobby spent a lot of money getting those folks elected so thatr Six Flags and White Water could rake in some more dough. Nice to know that our kids are being looked after…oh wait, they don’t care about the best interest of the kids. They have made that very apparent.

Mimi

February 19th, 2011
10:37 pm

The problem is not the calendar, but the decision making ability of the board. They have just set a precedent that they will do whatever they please, whenever they please. What comes next? As long as they can conjure it and get 4 votes, it is done. No input considered. Barlett, Angelucci, Stultz, and Sweeney have their own personal agendas. This was only the first tick mark on their list of un-doing and re-doing. The public be damned, full speed ahead with the personal agendas! SACS, are you watching? With this board, accreditation hearings will be in CCSD’s future. God help anyone who thinks they want to be superintendent under this board.

lie

February 19th, 2011
10:47 pm

the cobb board lied—it was supposed to be a 2 year plan for the balanced schedule. They should be fired.

another comment

February 20th, 2011
12:15 am

The Votes were made in November for this schedule. We voted Holli Cash off and elected Tim. Fred Sanderson used the scam of the Monkey Survey and only sent it to the teachers last year not the parents. The balanced schedule screws high school students. They are not able to obtain summer employment, who would you hire a Cobb Student or a Fulton or Private Student. Not a Cobb Student. Cobb Students can not go on foreign exchange programs they are 8-10 week programs. I went on one, it was one of the best things in my life. But the balanced schedule would screw my daughter out of this opportunity. The balanced schedule does not allow High School students to paticipate in University Summer programs that last until mid August. The balanced schedules do not allow students who participate in Varsity sports in to take advantage of the breaks, because the games are still held during these breaks. So these breaks are just a vacation for the teachers.

It is absolutely a line of bull crap that teachers are only paid for 190 days. Unless you have another job, that is your annual salary, unless you are claiming unemployment for the summer months and the breaks, which I bet most of you are. I know that the cafeteria ladies and the bus drivers do. If they don’t they don’t play it right.

My guess is the teachers have figured out they can make a gold mind out of being paid daycare for the 1 week Sept and Feb breaks. I have seen the signs at my daughters school. Lets see $175 student x 14 students x2 teachers or 28 students at the school. Or $200 x 4 or 5 students at your house, then its tax free.

The reality

February 20th, 2011
6:49 am

to another comment: Is it necessary to use the choice of words that you have used? What in the world are you talking about? Teachers don’t get paid for days not worked. Teachers may get paid ON days they don’t work, but not for days not worked. Extremely few students (per capita- YOU may need to look up the term) go on foreign exchange trips. Please,explain how teachers make a gold MIND by taking September and February breaks. How many teacher do YOU know that do this? Oh, and teachers DO NOT, CAN NOT claim unemployment. unless they are laid off.

Please tell us the ratio of students to total student body play varsity sports. There is a fact. It is that teachers are paid for 185 days per year- period, not 190. It used to be 190. On another note, for me, I have made a decision NOT to bring my children to amusement parks with many roller coasters, and I won’t bring them to amusement parks with a lot of water activities. I don’t think I need to say names. Most people who really get it already know what I’m talking about.

The reality

February 20th, 2011
7:13 am

I would think that if those that if people voted multiple times for the balanced calendar, why would this not be true of those who want to increase the number of absences among teachers and students, er..I mean those that are pleased by the results? Regardless of what you want to say, the fact is that absences among teachers and students has decreased tremendously. That saves more money than starting on August 15th.

Cobb Co. Teacher and Parent

February 20th, 2011
7:35 am

Another comment – when are you moving to Fulton? I bet all of the teachers at your child’s school would be glad to help you pack ( since you think they have nothing else to do).Although I doubt you will be happy with teachers there – you obviously have no respect for those who work in the field of education and have no idea what there job involves and the hours that are required to do it.

justin

February 20th, 2011
8:39 am

@ another comment,

So, how come so many students actually supported the balanced calendar? Please just speak for yourself. You are entitled to any OPINION you want, but don’t make it sound like it is supported by actual data.

justin

February 20th, 2011
8:41 am

@ Mimi,

It’s not the board will do whatever they want. I think they set the precedence that a loud minority can basically dictate the spineless board to do whatever they want. Another precedence is that no board policy should be taken seriously since it can change within a year. Why should we follow the policy they set from this time on?

Cobb Co. Teacher and Parent

February 20th, 2011
8:44 am

correction their

Cobb History Teacher

February 20th, 2011
8:46 am

If the poll was derigged and 72 % of respondents voted in favor of the balanced calendar why di the board vote agains? This smacks of dictatorship and personal agenda’s. If parents can cry about childcare issues waht about teachers who live in different districts and for the fist time their kids schedule was the same as theirs. i.e. Paulding and Cobb.

PsychMom

February 20th, 2011
9:18 pm

How could they “de-rig” a Survey Monkey poll? Only if it comes from the same IP address can they get rid of duplicate responses. I’m just saying that it is almost certainly not a representative sample. What it says is that 72% of responses were in favor of the balanced calendar. Responses being the operative word.

It is like giving high school students an on-line survey to elect the student-body president- and they have to do it at home on their computer. If your child was running for school president, would you find that method valid? Why or why not?

I don’t disagree that board members vote for their own agenda. But people voted them in on those agendas.

Manny

February 21st, 2011
8:16 am

So my wife have some friends on various school boards in Cobb County. She used to be on a local school board and that’s how she got these relationships. She said some things that were very interesting:

1. Moving the date up or down saves very little, if any, money. The rates doesn’t change. Use changes very little. The amount of money saved can’t save one teacher job.

2. Having the breaks during the year negates money being saved at the front end. Again, very little money saved.

3. The bottom line isn’t money being saved, but a few parents that felt that having the breaks were placing an undue burden on them in terms of babysitting and paying for daycare. Most of these parents have small children. All of this other business is a smoke-screen.

It is unclear whether or not the balanced calendar did any good. Personally, I think that it helped our kids, but I can’t qualify it. All I know is that the March board meeting is going to be interesting.

Jackie T.

February 21st, 2011
11:20 am

@ PsychMom,

You are correct about the Survey Mokey – but we knew that’s the case, and what exactly was the Board trying to gain through the survey? They completely ignored the results – they didn’t use it in any way to influence their thinking at all. I think they mis-led, if not lied to, the people.

Most of these people run on a variety of sets of items on their agenda. Unfortunately, we must select them based on whose agenda as a whole come close to our own – and usually there is no one with whom you agree 100%. So, “people elected them” argument isn’t that strong, either.

jarvis

February 21st, 2011
2:58 pm

Great point Jackie T., I voted for Sweeney but not because of his views on the calendar.

CCSD teacher

February 21st, 2011
6:45 pm

The start date of school doesn’t really matter. I’m tired of people thinking the reason Northern schools perform better on standardized tests is because they start after Labor Day. It really doesn’t matter what 180 days you are in school-it’s what happens during those days that matters. The reasons Northern schools perform better is teachers have more power to suspend students (less discipline problems), they have more traditional programs (grammar books), and not all students take the SAT.