Calendar Committee’s work flawed, irrelevant
by Pete Borden
September 13, 2012 12:00 AM | 1835 views | 14 14 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was a refreshing change when Cobb Deputy Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Hungerford and District Chief of Staff Dr. Angela Huff, admitted that the system’s Calendar Committee was compromised in the very beginning. As I said before, real investigation died at the hands of pre-conceptual science, based on a flawed statement

According to them, as cited in an MDJ article, it was decided at the first meeting that the No.1 goal would be to have breaks in late September/early October and again in February. The stated purpose of this was to “boost morale, achievement and attendance among teachers and students.” We have seen no supported evidence that adding two weeks of breaks into the school year will accomplish those goals. That statement appears to have come from the same kind of manipulative mind that wrote the ballot language for the TSPLOST vote. It is, in fact, a “non sequitur.”

It would only boost the morale of those teachers who continue to live under the delusion that their job is more stressful than those of policemen, firefighters, ER doctors, and others who handle life and death situations daily, but continue doing their jobs without whining for constant breaks. I believe that these teachers are in a minority and that the majority of teachers do not start the school year counting the days until the first break.

It is my opinion that, even if they get these breaks, it will not satisfy them. They will, in a few years, decide they need another two weeks. They, and the entire educational system, would fare much better if these people found a different occupation. I wish them Godspeed in their efforts to find a job in which they are granted a week off every six or seven weeks.

That evidence is unmistakable that the current calendar is not, nor never was, even in consideration by this subterfuge committee. Any group which acts as a façade for presenting a predetermined “conclusion” can hardly be called relevant. More proper terms for such would range from “window dressing” to “shills.”

In one interview, reported in the MDJ, we learned that one of the resources referred to, and used by some of the committee, was the inane Monkey Survey taken in early 2011. It is sad that anyone is still quoting this fiasco, which has been debunked so many times by so many different people and groups, that it has become a joke. Yet, a drama teacher from Kennesaw Mountain, on the committee, referenced it as justification for the fall break. Kind of makes you shudder to think what other justification this group may have used in refusing to consider the current compromise calendar. When you continually use as justification a survey in which 14,000 teachers all vote for one thing, from a district with only 8,000 teachers, something is flawed.

This issue continues to be misrepresented as a choice between a “balanced calendar” with school beginning the first of August, and a “traditional calendar” with school beginning after Labor Day.

In truth, that is not the issue at all. We currently have a compromise calendar, which has served us well for some time, and it is not even being considered. It has school beginning the middle of August and should be the ideal compromise and one that everybody should accept. Even though folks on the traditional calendar side have accepted it, making no move to go to the post-Labor Day start, those on the other side have not. The balanced calendar advocates are being totally unreasonable and immature, by insisting it has to be all their way.

Since the school board will have new members being seated the first of January, does it not make sense to wait until that time before taking the vote? The push to have the vote now could only mean one thing. They must have the necessary votes committed to pass the balanced calendar. In order for that to be true, one of the Reformer Four, who campaigned for later start dates, must have capitulated. Smart money says, if anyone has, it is probably Chairman Scott Sweeney.

Approval of the calendar is strictly up to the school board, and not reliant on recommendations from any other entity. There is no obligation to accept the recommendations of the calendar committee. They could refuse, and retain the current calendar.

Let’s hope they do and put this issue to bed. Well, at least until board member David Banks starts whining again.

Pete Borden is a retired masonry contractor from east Cobb.
Comments
(14)
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anonymous
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September 17, 2012
Regarding the point about waiting for the next board to vote:

I believe that the current board took input from the community and grand jury and set a policy that says the calendar should not be significantly changed within 12 months of the start date (something along those lines). So, regardless of which/when the board votes on it, per policy I think they really can't be voting on a significantly changed calendar for anything sooner than 2014-2015.

By then, perhaps many of the calendar crazies will have kids in middle/high school, see that they have a full summer of activities, Disney is less attractive, and will no longer want the July 31 start date calendar.
Nail
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September 17, 2012
Pete hits the nail on the head. We need to

prepare American students to once again be well-rounded leaders of a global workforce. Education doesn't Equal School. Well-rounded citizens are developed through summer jobs, summmer remedial learning for those behind the curve, and science/art/athletic camps/family vacations and scout programs.

These programs are designed for the 96% of the students in the country that are not on a July 31 start date calendar.

The problem isn't that teachers aren't getting enough breaks, the problem is that lower economic ranks don't have enough opportunities/means to make effective use of the Summer, family-guided study season.
Georgia P. Burdell
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September 16, 2012
Wow. I've never read something so demeaning about teachers, and for this to even be printed is appalling to me. I'm not a teacher, but I do have children in Cobb County schools. Instead of making a point about the calendar issue, this author only managed to insult those who are dedicated to the education of the future citizens of Cobb County. He should be ashamed. Besides, what does a retired masonry contractor know about the needs of our children or the opinions of our teachers? He probably does not even pay school tax anymore because of his age. so his opinion on this matter is moot.
Space Academy
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September 17, 2012
Apparently his opinion is not moot.

Many teachers agree with his position. Many other teachers are as he describes: delusional about their self worth (see Chicago).

He points out a good example in the simple-minded logic of the drama teacher.

At Georgia Tech, most students get a better grasp of complex concepts - leading to success in the fields they pursue. What gives George?
anonymous
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September 16, 2012
One glaring omission in this editorial is the mention of students and what is best for them. As a relatively new resident of Cobb with a child in his 3rd year of school here, it seems to me that's the problem in a nutshell with way things operate here.
anonymous
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September 17, 2012
Good point, Pete should have mentioned how the "give the teachers more breaks" calendar:

- doesn't support allowing Cobb students to fully participate in the various Summer educational programs scheduled based on the calendars used by 96% of the students in the country (which is not the July 31 start date calendar)

sorry Pete
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September 15, 2012
your column is flawed and irrelevant, there is no point in my commenting further.
anonymous
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September 17, 2012
Pete's commentary is directly on point, yours however is: irrelevant.
Come On
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September 14, 2012
Get real Pete! Two or three 5 days pauses in the

calendar are not nearly as mind killing, in the

academic sense, as an eighty to ninety day summer

has always been. Who are you kidding? Just because

it was good enough to prepare you to write your

broken record column of negativity twenty times,

doesn't mean the "same old" is good enough for

our students today.
anonymous
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September 13, 2012
About 2/3 of the time Pete's columns are dull (along the lines of Judy Elliot's columns) cut and paste rehashes of articles already in MDJ (basically filling space).

The calendar and associated articles are tiresome. Though, this time I think he got to the core of the people issues behind the calendar games. Though, he does miss out on discussion of the continual rants from disney travel agents and legacy park residents jealous of the travel costs enjoyed by neighboring Cherokee residents on the July 31 start date calendar.
Devlin Adams
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September 14, 2012
Anonymous, are you not aware that the School Board is about to ram through the balanced calendar, still with no supporting evidence, by a vote at the October board meeting?

Borden obviously thinks this is wrong. When would you suggest he do something about informing the voters?
Just askin'
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September 13, 2012
Does Pete own a piece of the MDJ? Otherwise, why

why does he get to write the same column over and

over and over...and over again?
E.cobb mom
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September 13, 2012
I was wondering the same thing, it's getting old and serves no purpose other than take up space. Is this the best you can do MDJ?
Devlin Adams
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September 13, 2012
Maybe they are hoping somebody will listen. Obviously nobody has yet.
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