Wednesday, June 18, 2008

School calendar

I read with a little bit of horror both the news story about State Superintendent Kathy Cox requesting that local school districts push back their start dates and the ensuing "suggestions" posted online from sometimes well-meaning readers.

First, I don't know about all the other moms out there, but I have made arrangements for child care up to the day school is scheduled to start. Push back that date, and I'm left with a certain amount of time to scramble for child care. Now I'll agree that in Houston County we seem to have been inching toward year-round school for some time. I wish we'd just get on with it and adopt a year-round calendar. I'm ready to take the hits for being in a minority there.

Second, there was a lot of chatter about going to a four-day school week. Now I know all the sound financial arguments for that - it would save a fortune in gas and electricity and school lunches. But as a working parent, again I'm horrified. You think my boss is going to let me go to a four-day workweek simply because my kid is out of school on Mondays? Or Fridays? Not a chance. So again I forsee a large number of parents scrambling for childcare. That is, unless some enterprising teachers band together to offer child care. But it can't be at the schools, can it? Because that defeats the purpose of "saving money" by not using the building that day. And frankly, if I'm a teacher and get moved to a four-day week of classes, I'm going to spend that extra day off grading papers, filling out the required paperwork (there's a mountain of it), studying for my own continuing education classes so I can stay certified, and so on. I'm not likely to take on a child care job for my students' parents.

So Superintendent Cox's request left me, and apparently a lot of readers, with much to think about. If you care to continue the discussion in the "comment" section below, be nice, don't tear down anyone else's idea, and don't make personal comments like "so and so doesn't know what they are talking about" and don't bash teachers (that's my own personal pet peeve).



Liz said...

Hi Misty,
The proposed change would take effect August of '09 so you wouldn't have to worry about the child care scramble until next year. That might be some consolation.

Misty said...

You're right, that does set my mind at ease. How did I miss that in the story?

Anonymous said...

That being said, I am a Macon native living in Raleigh, NC, and in our school system we have many schools that are on the year-round calendar. We initially applied for and "got in" at our assigned year-round, and then our base school was converted. We adore the year-round program, and while the studies may be debated, etc, I am convinced that my rising 3rd grader is smarter for not having the entire suumer off. She is in school for 9 weeks, then off for 3. That provides a welcome break for her and for the teachers, who I find are more refreshed and on target whe they return from break too! My husband and i work full time, but the YMCA here is incredible, and has track out programs that make me want to go back to school! In addition, all of the local art groups, theaters, skating rinks, tae kwon do companies offer track out camps. When you get the entire communtiy involved and rallied around it, year round can be a beautiful thing! (don't let me fool you, we have our detractors too, but they are more un-informed than anything)

Good luck!