The N-MUSD wants to radically alter the start and stop dates for its school year. The date changes are a shift to what is being called the “collegiate calendar,” as if attaching some reference to higher education is going to make it palatable.

According to the districts’s announcement, they are considering it “to more closely align with neighboring school districts and local colleges.”

The new calendar would have kids starting school “up to three weeks prior to the Labor Day holiday and end prior to the winter break.”

Oh, and they want your input, too. More on that in a moment.

Aligning the district is not enough of a reason to make this dramatic shift in schedules. The primary and perhaps only reason to make the change is if there is solid evidence that this new calendar has improved academic performance in similar schools or districts.

That’s it. Every other reason is for the benefit of adults, not kids.

But as long as we’re on the subject, there is a change option in the schedule that has years of proven benefits to students and which could and should be implemented here. (NOTE: It was one of the many recommendations I made during my 2014 campaign for seat on the school board. My opponent, Vicki Snell, made no recommendations.)

That change would adjusting the start of the school day to accommodate the body clocks of kids, which is different from adults. It would mean starting the school day later. As I mentioned, there is ample reputable evidence that this has a positive effect not only on academic performance, but on improved classroom behavior as well.

But wait, there’s more!

A recent study by the RAND Corporation showed that starting the school day later could contribute up to around $83 billion to the U.S. economy over a decade span.

Here’s a link to an article by the American Psychological Assoc.:

https://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/school-start-times.pdf

About that community input… Once again the district is reaching out to the community to get their thoughts on whether this is a good idea. In a situation like this, I wonder why we pay so many district bureaucrats so much money to figure out this stuff if the district is just going to ask the rest of us what to do.

You can read about the schedule here: http://nmusd-ca.schoolloop.com/file/1216762529094/1500179171136/5193663701383195351.pdf

OBTW, the announcement reaches out to the “school community,” whatever that is. Not the “community,” the “school community.”

Prediction: Just as they were with the Area maps, selecting principals, and more, these meetings are all for show. The district has already decided to change the calendar and they are going through the motions to make it look like they care.

If you go, insist on having the district provide reliable evidence that the calendar change is likely to improve academic performance, not in Pigsknuckle, AR, but in a similar district.

But even if you go and even if they can’t give you this evidence, and even if the “school community” objects, the calendar will be changed.

Wait for it.

Steve Smith
N-MUSD Taxpayer

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