Don’t change school calendar without overwhelming support

March 24th, 2022 by Ken

For the most part, I care very little about school districts moving to a “Balanced Calendar.”

But, I’m a Traditionalist.  I don’t think we need to make change just for change’s sake, or to follow the newest trend which will soon fade away with the next generation.  That’s what I think is happening with the idea of changing the school calendar.

The Only rationale for changing the time frame for educating our children is the idea that “some” children suffer a learning loss with a summer vacation of 11 weeks.  Several studies have shown that poor children, primarily minority children suffer some loss of learning over that period of time.  That learning loss is confined to young children in the primary grades and only a few of them.  Those studies have also shown no loss of learning for children beyond the sixth grade.

Several studies have shown however, that districts which have adopted a Balanced Calendar have returned to the traditional school calendar after having seem little or no change in children’s learning, or because of the significant cost of making the change, or because of parental backlash.

While the Olympia and Lacey school districts are studying the concept and hope to bring a recommendation to their respective school boards later this year, bear in mind that a coordinated effort to stop the districts from doing so is currently underway.  They argue that 35 of the 50 members of the North Thurston district’s committee studying the idea are school employees.  They argue that the consultants hired to do the study have a pro-bias towards a balanced calendar.

Recently the Thurston  County (Olympia) chamber endorsed the balanced calendar concept.  The parents pointed out that Deb Clemens, the North Thurston school superintendent is on that chamber of commerce board of directors.  And, while she may have refrained from voting, she didn’t refrain from the discussion.

The parents opposed to a balanced calendar say that all of the information being given favors a balanced calendar and that information opposing such a move is either not presented – or is ignored in the final analysis.

They also say that the school districts are down-playing the financial impacts of the change, not only for the school districts, but for all of those impacted by the change.  They also claim that the North Thurston district is planning to submit its recommendation to the school board at a future meeting and asking the board to vote on it at that meeting without allowing comments from parents.

As a Traditionalist, I say, changing the school year must have over-whelming support from the community.  I would prefer a vote of the people, but the district knows that such a vote would fail.

My solution to the learning loss – – Summer School.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, The Real News

(comments are closed).