Local Politics

Groups Clash Over School Calendar, Summer Break

Posted March 28, 2007

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— Three years after state lawmakers approved legislation setting public school calendars, the debate over a longer summer vacation returned to the General Assembly on Wednesday.

The 2004 law forced traditional-calendar schools to start no earlier than Aug. 25 and end no later than June 10.

Various school groups argued Wednesday that they need more control over the calendar, however. The current schedule creates havoc for students looking to take classes at community colleges or take Advanced Placement exams, they said.

"They don't get to take their exams until after Christmas. So that Christmas break, one, has not only been shortened, but they now have to spend their time during the Christmas break studying for those very high-stakes exams," said Leanne Winner, director of governmental relations for the North Carolina School Boards Association.

Meanwhile, the group Save Our Summers wants to hang onto the guaranteed time-off for students for which they fought in 2004. Longer summer breaks allow for family vacations and teenage work opportunities, they said.

"Constituents trusted their representatives to stay committed to this cause and to support this law. And especially now when the issue of trust is on everyone's mind, these people across the state are going to be watching," said Louise Lee of Save Our Summers.

12 Comments

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  • clayl654 Apr 4, 2007

    I'm a high school student. I don't see why they are taking away part of our summer. School just keeps on getting harder and harder. More homework, new goals we have to make, new tests we have to take. We can't just pass an exam now, we have to score "proficiency" on it. Oh yeah, we get credit for the class, but we cant get our diploma until we ace these exams. Guess what now? Oh yeah, I almost forgot, now our summer is getting SHORTER. We are human beings, not just STUDENTS to a school. Pretty soon, I'm guessing that school is going to be our life for our K-12 years. THANKS A WHOLE FREAKIN LOT, now part of my life is gone.

  • Just Once Apr 4, 2007

    Medicteacher - Is it about quantity or quality? You sound like you are one of the good ones.

  • Just Once Apr 4, 2007

    Medicteacher - I think it does not good to complain. They will tell you these are "instructions hours" that must be met. What a laugh.

    I agree that you should not have to pay for materials. I do not think it should take 2-3 hours to prepare for an effective class time of 30-45 minutes. I hear a lot of homework gets done in class. Meetings stink. Most are useless.

    On the coaching point...I coach softball. I know softball. I could do a better job than any middleschool coach I know. I support three teams and spend 30 hours a week on ball and I haven't seen a penny yet. Do it because you can and know what you are doing. My point is it has nothing to do with the classroom - other than philosophy.

  • medicteacher Apr 1, 2007

    To 'Just Once'. If you were so upset your kids were watching movies for the last two weeks of school, why did you not do something about it?

    Also, it generally takes 2 to 3 hours prep time to prepare for a one hour class. Coaching does not even come close to paying minimum wage and we have to put up with the abuse from parents who think they know more in the stands but never show up to help on parent volunteer day.

    And workdays...well we have meetings, grade papers, plan lessons, have more meetings, check out new textbooks, learn new labs (which we often have to spend our own money on to get supplies), etc... By the way, we also only get paid for 10 months, go ahead and cut two months of your salary and see how you like it. PS. Before you criticize teachers, be a sub for a few months.

  • medicteacher Apr 1, 2007

    I taught (note the past tense)at the high school level for 15 years, coaching for all of it, as well as when I student taught. I left teaching a year after the calender change as this was one of a series of last straws of frustration and sickness over education. All the politicians mentioned in the article will tell you they are for "education" and a friend to teachers. We teachers began to push for a shift in the calender to finish the semesters before the Christmas break so our kids would do better on our EOC's. This was in response to the state holding us teachers more 'accountable' for the kids scores. We also wanted it so our kids could succeed, be able to start college early, or to allow ourselves time to take college classes. At least our motives were kid based...those that want the calender left as it is or moved later are in it for one thing and one thing only....money. They don't care one bit about kids being successful, just about having the beach houses full.

  • nsanity Apr 1, 2007

    Amen, NC TEACHER, Amen...Only someone that is not a teacher would make an ignorant comment like that. I don't know a teacher who has "play days"... My spring break "vacation" will be filled with researching new and creative ways to reach and teach my kids, so everyone that thinks that teachers don't earn their pay can go to ___.

  • NCTeacher Mar 31, 2007

    cont...

    And don't forget about all of those trainings and meetings we have to go to on a Workday.

    And yes, I do coach. And I certainly get paid extra for it. That whole few hundred dollars for something I put hundreds of hours into. That's big money. And yes, I mean that literally, a few hundred dollars. By the time they finished taxing it, it was the same as my monthly paycheck. Just because my salary is paid from tax money, I should work for free?

  • NCTeacher Mar 31, 2007

    I don't know about other teachers, but I do in fact work an eight hour day. Try more like 10-12 hour days, usually 5 a week. And it is so much more than preparing to teach my classes. It is keeping up to date on the subject I am teaching. It is putting together 46 portfolios because someone told me I had to have them done in 2 days to meet a new county requirement. It is planning, mountains of paperwork, and calling parents to praise their child or ask for their help in the childs education. Teacher Workday is not the same thing as a play day, I can assure you. I get more done when I spend my Saturdays at school because there is so much more to do.

  • Just Once Mar 30, 2007

    This whole thing burns me up. For the last two weeks of the "school year" my kids watch movies. Do absolutely nothing.

    How about the teachers work an 8 hour day? How about some statistics on these "Workdays"??? How many are even there? How much prep should it take to teach 5 hours of class? Wanna coach? They are already getting paid for it. If they are being compensated extra it should be after regular hours. Extra time, extra pay. That is the real world.

    I think some of our teachers are out of touch with that concept.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Mar 30, 2007

    But you dont get a choice on which school your child goes too so how is it up to them to dictate when and how long the child goes to school? Right now the state is on a similar calendar.

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