The long awaited report from the much ballyhooed 21 member committee is in. Surprise! Surprise! There were no surprises! They offered a number of options, all with one thing in common. You see, the committee was “pre-tasked” to recommend a calendar which provided, in the words of the head of the committee, Dr. Angela Huff, a lot of breaks. Therefore, the calendar options considered never included retaining the current “compromise” calendar, a result of what might be called a “one-sided compromise” (if such a thing exists) and which has school starting the middle of August. It came about in an effort to appease both sides in a battle over whether to start school the first Monday in August or the Tuesday after Labor Day. Unfortunately, only one of the sides was willing to accept the compromise and move on.
During the last meeting, we learned that the committee recommended at least two calendars, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa presented a third, board member David Banks, to nobody’s surprise, offered a fourth and veteran board member Alison Bartlett presented a fifth. They all had one thing in common. Practically nobody liked them other than the one or ones proposing them. So, at this time, we have no calendar which is popular with a majority. Is that surprising?
With a certainty of one, and possibly two, new board members in just three months, it really would be unethical indeed, if not illegal, to vote now on this issue, which has little to do with anyone who is leaving the board. The only real reason to push for the vote now is that someone feels they have the backing to produce their desired result with the present board. The irony is that, unless someone switches sides in defiance of their campaign promises, having the vote now will result in retaining the current calendar, which still appears to be the middle ground between two forces.
Dr. Hinojosa suggests a one year calendar, so that the next one to be set would not be an election year issue. That is a reasonable suggestion. A better suggestion would be to stay with the current calendar for one more year, and take that time to do some real research into what the high achievers do. You would be surprised.
Recently, I went online and selected, at random, four school districts in different parts of the country, all in high ranking states educationally. After checking their calendars, I found that one started school in late July, one on the Tuesday after Labor Day and the other two after the middle of August. I suggest that an in-depth study of the successful school districts would be of great benefit to the CCSD.
Several facts need to be kept in mind. First, the school board, in agreeing to the formation of the 21-member committee, assumed no obligation to abide by its recommendations. The setting of the school calendar is the sole prerogative of the school board. The board is under no obligation to please the superintendent, the parents or the employees of the district, including teachers. Their sole responsibility is to set a calendar that will enhance and facilitate the education of our children.
Secondly, references to what the committee wants are ludicrous because it has already admitted the purpose was not finding a calendar which complemented the stated responsibility of the school board. It was simply to provide a calendar with a lot of breaks.
Third, references to the Monkey Survey, taken some time back, are equally as ludicrous. It has been pointed out, time and again, that people voted multiple times from different computers, people from outside the county tainted the results, and the most damning of all, somewhere around 120 percent of our teachers voted.
Little of what I have said here is new. However, it appears nobody is listening, so it bears repeating until someone does.
We have a calendar that works, that gives adequate breaks and allows for ample time to teach our kids. As my Grandpa would say, “Then why in the Sam Hill are we trying to change it?”
Pete Borden is a retired masonry contractor.