As a graduate of the Cobb County School District and a teacher in Cobb for 11 years I am ashamed of the board's decision to implement a balanced calendar. It is a completely irresponsible decision.
Any decision made concerning education should focus on student achievement and that focus cannot be found anywhere in this decision. People who talk about the children needing a break obviously know nothing about children learning.
Students thrive on routine and consistency. This is especially true of the low-income students and students with disabilities that are not achieving at an acceptable level on standardized tests. The February break, for example will disrupt these students' routine just weeks before the Georgia High School Graduation Test, which not only determines whether schools pass Adequate Yearly Progress, but more importantly determines whether or not a student graduates from high school.
Who was thinking about these students' futures when they made this decision?
I think just seeing the positive comments that involve vacations and ski trips should be enough to show everyone the motivations behind this decision. What about the single parents who work jobs where they are paid by the hour and cannot afford to take a week off, much less go skiing?
Superintendent Fred Sanderson is quick to point out that a majority of teachers supported this calendar. Of course they do. They surveyed the teachers at the end of October when they have been working for 12 weeks without a day off.
Unfortunately, it is also a fact that quite a few of my teaching colleagues went into education in order to have summers off and that group of teachers would be interested in anything that involves more vacations.
For the many teachers who are focused on helping students achieve their dreams this calendar, implemented to give people more vacations, is a slap in the face of all of their hard work.
I am ashamed; ashamed of my colleagues who support this calendar, ashamed of the administrators who did not fight this and ashamed of the board members who put "vacation time" ahead of student achievement. Many of my colleagues and I will continue to do everything we can to help our students reach their dreams. I only wish those who make the important decisions had the same focus.
Director of Bands
R.L. Osborne High School