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State Board of Education to discuss Wake's waiver request for 2012-13 school calendar

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Will the Wake County school system get permission to only add three and not five more days to the 2012-13 school calendar?

As noted in today's article, the state Board of Education will discuss today requests from this list of 69 school districts and four charter schools for waivers for next school year. Most of the 73 requests are for full waivers, but Wake is asking for a partial waiver.

Under Wake's waiver request, the district would add three days. The other two days would be used as teacher workdays. Click here for Wake's proposed 2012-13 school calendars should the waivers be approved.

If the State Board rejects the waiver, staff would have to come back and develop a new set of 2012-13 calendars.

One of the questions is how hard a line will the State Board take this time on the waiver requests. Almost all the school districts got waivers for the 2011-12 school year because the new requirement was adopted in June just months before classes started.

“The intent of the General Assembly was to have a longer school year so I would think that waivers would be the exception rather than the rule this time,” said Bill Harrison, chairman of the state board.

“We need them to follow the law,” added State Sen. Jerry W. Tillman, a Randolph County Republican and co-chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “The state Board should be very careful about giving waivers.”

The reason being cited by school districts for waivers is the desire to use  some or all of those five extra days on professional development as the state begins implementation of the common core in 2012-13.

Tillman said he doesn’t find the concerns about lack of time for professional development to be compelling enough to grant waivers for next school year. He said that school districts will always be able to find reasons not to add the days if given the option.

“They’ll have to deal with professional development the best way they can,” Tillman said.

Tillman cites the benefits that would come from five additional days, especially considering how U.S. students have a shorter school year than other industrialized nations.

"We just want to enhance student learning, and we think this will do that," Tillman said of the additional school days.

But Wake school board member Kevin Hill argues that student learning will benefit more from the professional development time that teachers receive.

“Professional development is getting killed,” Hill said. “These extra days are coming out of professional development, and I think that has as much impact on student achievement as two extra days or three extra days.”

UPDATE

Based on the talk at the State Board meeting today, it's not looking like school districts will get waivers on Thursday.

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This all makes sense

This all makes sense now...if they are not going to honor the waiver request from each county, then they have to take away workdays...which leads to few staff development days.  We (teachers) no longer need 15 renewal credits for each 5 year cycle...the state informed us about a month ago (give or take few days) that NOW we only need 7.5 renewal credits for each 5 year cycle.  I couldn't understand why the state would want to cut our renewal credits, since its valuable for a teacher to get as much staff development as possible.  I guess since they are going to stick the 5 extra days (which will reduce the number of available workdays for staff development) in the school year next year, they needed to reduce the number of credits we need to renew our teaching certificate.  Nothing like cutting the "quality" of things NC!!!!!!

Specifics on the credits

You might want to check on the specifics of the renewal credits.  One of the main reasons they cut the amount of credits down to 7.5 was due to the fact they are no longer counting each year of teaching as a credit.  That right there knocks off 5 credits per renewal cycle.  With the cut in credits there was really only a cut of 2.5 credits, with more specifics on where the credits need to fall.  If they are adding more teaching days are they adding more pay as well.  I know the private sector people will be all over that comment but look at it this way, if you were asked to work more hours, would you WANT more pay.  Not saying educators will get it, but everyone would want more if they are expected to work more, let's be realistic for a second.

Ah...

I was wondering about this as well...

Why in the heck do they not give us the time for professional development??

Do they not realize that our professional development leads to students performance in the classroom?

Guess not.

Keep electing republican....

morons who don't value education and we will get more of this.

However...

Last time I checked, NC had way over the national average as far as number of teacher workdays. Before the 2004 law, we had 20. Back then, the average was around 6. The 2004 law cut the number to 15, 5 of which were protected, one at the beginning of school, the other 4 at the end of each quarter. Under the new 185-day law, those 5 days lost their "protected" status.  

It's funny - this 185-day law was passed quite hurriedly at the end of last year's GA session. There has been much speculation about why it was pushed through :^)

speculation

I haven't heard any speculation about why. Everyone knows why. After months of being criticized for being anti-education the Republicans whipped this out of their hats as an attempt to show they are pro-education.  Of course forcing schools to operate for 5 additional days without any additional funding is just another unfunded mandate that weakens the public education system.

Food for Thought

This is just the tip of the iceberg as a larger "agenda" is pushed - it's no secret. I quote Arne Duncan from December, 2010 - just one example of many:

 " And so I -- my vision is that schools need to be community centers. Schools need to be open 12, 13, 14 hours a day six, seven days a week, 12 months out of the year, with a whole host of activities..." 

There's even a bill that was introduced in NC last spring with a section that reads, "It is the goal of the General Assembly, available funds permitting, to have a school year of at least 190 days for all students."

 The catch phrase I hear associated with this movement is "in loco parentis", translated as, "in the place of a parent". Just sayin'...

Wake should add the 5 days

Wake should add the 5 days and not cut development days.    If they have to go beyond the designated start/end dates, then make the state decide which is more important, the 5 additional days or tourism (reason behind the required start/end dates).   If they have to go to school on saturdays for year round, so be it.  

WEll..

Unfortunately, there's no way to "make the state decide" -- First of all, it'd be the GA that'd have to decide.  And, if there were some way to actually force them to make a decision, they'd probably still come up with some bizarre answer like "Unicorns."  

If the GA really wanted to get more teaching into the year, then it should have moved EOGs to the next-to-last day of the school year and dropped the retest.  My family's experience, so far, has been that once the EOGs happen, you may as well punt on the rest of the school year.  Of course, the GA wasn't actually interested in improvements -- they just wanted the appearance of improvement.

Yes Sconce

We agree here.  EOG ending = class parties starting.

Oh boy, do I agree with you

Oh boy, do I agree with you on the EOGs.  Very little happens after those suckers are done, at least in elem school.

nobody said it made sense

nobody said it made sense what the GA did or that politicians know anything but at the root of the problem is they made the decision and wake county should follow the law.   If it becomes such a problem due to vacations, testing scores, or whatever else then people can say "told you so" and elect new politicians.    In the end as said, it is merely a PR move that everybody has to deal with.

completely agree

on all counts.

No problem...

... go ahead and add the extra five days.  Just remember, teachers are hired not for a calender year, but for a number of days per year (depending on if they are on a 10, 11, or 12 month pay schedule).  If five days are added to the teaching assignment, then that equals five additional days for which all teachers will need additional compensation. 

Don't forget the extra fuel and driver's pay

Don.

yep, pay teachers for

yep, pay teachers for another 5 days.    they deserve it.   Just another unfunded mandate the GA passed along just like all those from the federal government.   But at least the "The Bev" governor was able to buy a bowtie and make her token appearance whenever they are announcing jobs. 

If they have to take away your spring break

completely,

so be it.

Almost will

One bad snowy/icey winter and there goes spring break.Can't take away teacher work days because there won't be any.President's Day is almost a make up day every year.

I wonder if the add 5 extra school days if they will say for high school you can miss 11 or 12 days per semester when sick etcc.5 extra days makes 5 days of being exposed to more sick people!

If the schools really wanted

If the schools really wanted to force the issue, that is what they would do to get parents to vote the idiots in the GA out. 

great idea

Now that's an interesting strategy mnordberg.  Maybe we could vote in some people who are really education friendly.

this is stupid.

The district ought to be able to decide this on its own without the state getting involved.

And I thought republicans...

believed in small government and that everything has to be decided at the lowest possible level.

So...

Isn't that about what I said?

In general, it's a good idea to push decisions to the governmental body closest to the problem.  I think that's just a common sense idea and doesn't belong to either party. 

Poor Kevin

Sounds like more 'professional development' is going to get killed before the CPA and Angry One can arrive to save him.

And don't forget to add the additional fuel costs to the budget this time Don.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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