Though the N-MUSD has decided to switch to the so-called “Collegiate Calendar,” they are holding four fake meetings to gather community input. They don’t really care about the input – it’s just something they have to do to support their fake policy of being interested in what you have to say.
Anyone who sat through even part of the map selection process knows that this is true. With the calendar input, there is no plan to reveal the results to the community – it will be given only to the 25 members of the Calendar Review Committee and not posted online, which would be the transparent thing to do.
The decision-making process includes discussions with the teacher union to determine its effect on them. For parents and students, there are two major issues, one of which is receiving a lot of attention, one of which is not.
Air conditioning is on the radar. Many level-headed people are wondering why the district would consider starting school at the peak of summer when about half the classrooms still do not have air conditioning. This brings up a key question that I will ask in a few paragraphs.
If you’d like to read about the effect of August heat and its effect on classrooms with and without air conditioning, here is one of many articles on the subject (Los Angeles Time):
The issue that is not receiving enough attention is that of best practices. I attended the community input meeting at CdM High last Monday night and just before the guests were given the opportunity to speak, one of the presenters mentioned that the district had no data indicating whether the new calendar would have an effect – good or bad – on academic performance.
I was so stunned that changed my question to address this. I asked, approximately, “So just to confirm… Out of all of the school districts, local, state, and nationally, there is no data showing that the new calendar will or will not improve academic performance.”
“That’s correct,” was the reply.
Think about that for a moment. All but two districts in the county have switched to an earlier start. There are countless districts in California and in the U.S. that have been using this new calendar for a long time, and yet, amazingly, the N-MUSD could not find a shred of data – nothing! – to indicate that the change is a good or bad idea.
If that is true, then the worst scenario is about to begin.
Oh, they can tell you what they think will happen or what they hope will happen, but they cannot tell you what will happen based on the results of other districts. Without data one way or the other, the N-MUSD has decided to undertake a grand experiment – a roll of the dice.
Would you do that? Would you experiment with the education of our students based on nothing other than hope? No, you wouldn’t. But with the exception of a few readers, you’re not a desk jockey on Bear St.
The N-MUSD has been touting the positive effects of the new calendar on those students in the various Advanced Placement (AP) programs. But here, too, they cannot (will not?) produce any evidence that supports this position. And on Monday night, a CdM teacher may have made the case for retaining the current calendar.
The CdM teacher supports the new calendar and spoke to address the subject of AP performance and said that they had “outstanding pass rates.” I believe this person. But if that is the case, why on earth would anyone want to mess with something that is working so well? I can just hear the conversation on Bear St.
“Hey, guess what? AP pass rates are outstanding!”
“Really? That’s great news!”
“Yes, it is. So I have a idea – let’s make a dramatic change in the school calendar without any idea as to whether it will benefit AP students.”
About that question I mentioned… The N-MUSD has been operating on the current calendar for decades. Now, they want to switch to a much earlier start, without the appropriate level of air conditioning and, more important, without a shred of supporting data. So the question is: Why now? Why, all of a sudden, is this such a big deal that it has to happen at the next possible opportunity instead of waiting for air conditioning and instead waiting while the proper due diligence is conducted to determine whether this will help or hurt academic performance?
Changing the calendar without any supporting data is one of the most irresponsible actions the district will take in the 31 years I have lived in the area. Nonetheless, the school board will vote for the switch.