For the last two years I have been asking for some kind of justification as to why our superintendent promotes a school calendar that is counter-productive to the primary responsibilities of both the board and the superintendent…providing the best education possible for our children.
During a long telephone conversation with a board member, I was told no less than 20 times that “we can’t do that!” The “that” is to begin a transition to a different shape of school calendar (a trimester calendar). Our traditional calendar guarantees the loss of up to one-fourth of all learning from the previous year, as well as producing a corresponding waste of eight to ten million dollars spent educating students the previous year. Students go into the summer break with a “full tank of smarts” only to begin the process of forgetting up to one-quarter of all they were taught. John Hopkins University has joined the ever-growing body of educational research pointing to the traditional school calendar as the single cause of “summer learning loss.”
The board of education (BOE), according to Georgia law, is the only body authorized to change the school calendar. “We can’t do that” appears to be an incorrect statement, but that is exactly what the BOE believes. They have turned their backs to the “summer learning loss” problem. The wasted tax money doesn’t seem to concern them and they proceed to approve an inefficient, ineffective and counter-productive school calendar without so much as a belch.
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