Will Cobb school calendar be more ‘balanced’ with Aug. 4 start
by Don McKee
September 13, 2013 12:03 AM | 1573 views | 4 4 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
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It’s school calendar-setting time again in Cobb County, an annual fall event accompanied by verbal fireworks in the past over traditional and “balanced” calendars. Now it seems the opposing sides are a little battle-weary and the school board is indifferent.

Board members discussed the two proposed calendars for the next school year Wednesday and kicked the can down the road to their Sept. 26 meeting, giving time for teachers, parents and students to have another shot at influencing the decision.

Version A, which is nowhere near the traditional calendars of bygone days, has a start date of Aug. 11, 2014, with the last day of school May 20, 2015. Version B, inching closer to the “balanced” calendar, begins classes Aug. 4 and ends school also on May 20. However, with the earlier start, Version B includes a week’s break Oct. 6-10, 2014.

This year, per the calendar on the district’s website, school started Aug. 7 and ends May 28 with various breaks including combinations of staff furloughs and student holidays, the first on Oct. 3-8, fall holidays Nov. 25-29, winter holidays Dec. 23-Jan. 6, staff furloughs/Presidents Day Feb. 13-18, Spring holidays March 31-April 4.

So apparently, the proposed Version B is closer to the current calendar which would make one side of the debate happy and, of course, dismay the other side still clinging to the hope for a somewhat traditional calendar with more vacation time for the kids and other arguments for a later start date. But the thinking on the school board has morphed from the days when candidates actually ran on promises of voting for a later start date. It seems those days are gone, probably forever, given the trend in education circles in favor of earlier starts and more breaks.

Now the board members, including Chairman Randy Scamihorn, say they have no preference. Neither does Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, who says he just wants to pick a calendar and stick with it from now on. Along that line, after talking it over with Scamihorn, the superintendent said he decided against going through the pointless exercise of appointing a committee to come up with recommendations – even if the committee had more school district employees than parents and people from the community. As Scamihorn observed, the committee was divided on every vote, no doubt reflecting public opinion.

Scamihorn, however, did say that he’s learned from visiting schools that teachers want a calendar with a fall break, which Version B presumably provides. If that’s the case, it seems he would be inclined to go with Version B. As for a no-change calendar, elections can change things, experience to the contrary notwithstanding. The current board’s decisions won’t be binding on future boards. But the early start date trend won’t likely be reversed.

If the Aug. 4 start date is adopted, what next? The camel’s nose and neck are in the tent regarding early start dates, or a “balanced” calendar. Will it get all the way in with year-round school?

dmckee9613@aol.com

Comments
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Decide
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September 13, 2013
One article earlier this week in the MDJ said some parents who live in Cobb are teachers in Cherokee Co & would like the fall break to be the same in Cobb so they could be with their children. No where in these proposed calendars is the Cobb break the same as Cherokee Co, which always takes their break in September.

One thing is for sure, Cobb needs to decide on a calendar and stick with it longer than 2 yrs. A successful household with children is one that is organized as well as loving. Most parents work and more employers are requesting vacation schedules one year in advance. The Cobb County B of E does nothing to help that goal when they are changing school schedules every 2 yrs. Teachers do not want that and parents do not want that. Get it together decision makers!
reasonable change
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September 13, 2013
Certainly there are worse evils in the world than a 4 quarter calendar with 12 weeks of breaks built in. Learning retention

and continuity would be much improved. But, yes, it would be

a big change and, to some people, change is bad. What worked

well 50 years ago just might be a death kiss to the future of public

education.
Guido Sarducci
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September 13, 2013
As long as people keep denying the impracticality of year round school, and making rash statements that cannot be back up, ("Learning retention and continuity would be much improved")instead of looking at what has been proven to work, public education is going to continue to be a joke,
@reasonable change
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September 14, 2013
Ridiculous. When you start school has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the demise of public education. Change is bad when it is implemented just for the sake of change or because your employees and whiny parents want a price break on their Disney and beach vacation. Self-indulgent, self absorbed, disengaged, enabling parents and employees who complain about being over-stressed after being in school for 4 weeks and after being on a two week Christmas break and having been back at school/work for 5 weeks - and not even full 5 day weeks at that. Who do you know in the work force today who gets more time off than a teacher in Cobb County? THAT is what is ridiculous. Stressful? Baloney.
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