At the Wednesday morning work session, much gloom and doom ado was made by Post 1 Board member Lynnda Eagle about some letters that angry teachers were writing to the SACS accreditation committee because they’re mad the board reversed last year’s vote (by the previous school board) to go to an August first start date with multi-ple weeks off during the school year — and they believe it somehow endangers the system’s credentials. Hogwash.
This labor issue has been disguised for years at the CCSD as some kind of move towards giving the children time to rest and recuperate from their arduous studies. This school year, I think the only month kids have gone so far without a lengthy break was in October. And that’s much more serious a problem than some board members in their second month of service who made good on a campaign promise.
There is no crisis here. The calendar next year will be almost the same as it’s been for a decade. The traditional people didn’t win, or we’d be starting after Labor Day. The early start people didn’t win, or we’d be heading to school on August 1. What we have is a compromise on the calendar.
If anything, the crisis we should focus on is the trend of very vocal, angry public employees going outside their chain of command to take over parent meetings, such as Ms. Angelucci’s Tuesday night meeting at North Cobb High School. They have overstepped, targeting individual board members for harassment in some cases and writing public letters to their students and parents disparaging them. How fast would they last in the private sector if they did that?
Most egregiously, some of their behavior has been encouraged by the balanced calendar advocates on the board, Banks and Eagle, as well as their principals, who it seems are looking the other way.
At Wednesday’s Executive Session meeting, Banks read a prepared statement re-asserting that the Feb. 17th vote "compromised the trust and respect of the board." (maybe he meant for the board?)
He claimed yet again with no facts to back it up, that is costs more to heat a facility than to cool it, which flys in the face of experts who say certainly the cost of cooling the schools in August far exceeds any savings by having a week off school in February. Of course, Superintendent Sanderson could lay this utility argument to rest almost immediately by releasing utility bills in accordance with Ms. Angelucci’s repeated requests. But he doesn’t seem to want to do that.
Meanwhile, Banks’ e-mailed newsletter claims without proof, yet again, that he and other board members have "received over 2,000 e-mails with over 72% in favor of the balanced calendar." Yet he fails to produce those e-mails for scrutiny. If board members have indeed received that many letters, are they from teachers, which would confirm that this is a labor issue, or are they in fact from parents? Why all the subterfuge, Mr. Banks? Let’s see your proof.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Banks insisted on revisiting the calendar, with no more facts available than the board had previously. Addressing Sweeney, Angelucci, Bartlett and Stultz, he accused, "The four of you have come in and overturned that vote. The community is incensed."
Once again, Banks is wrong. It’s the teachers who are incensed. And the new board members are fully within their rights to change things. That’s why they were elected.
Yet Banks continues to manufacture a crisis, disparaging the newest board members, berating and condescending and even threatening them at this public meeting and through his newsletter.
The great myth on this school calendar issue is that parents, constituents, are for the August first start date. The reality is that this is a labor issue between teachers and their employers, disguised in a bunch of rhetoric that having a week off every month is somehow good "for the children."
The pressure brought to bear on the new board members has been intense. So far they’ve held up remarkably, keeping good on their promises to the citizens who elected them. It’s a heck of a way to begin your public service, and they are to be commended for hanging in there.
And this manufactured crisis, ironically perpetrated by so-called Republicans Banks and Eagle, is a tactic worthy of a leftist playbook. As Yarbrough said last week, it’s time to move on now, and focus on education, not vacation.