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Cobb Parents Start School Calendar Petition Drive

Opponents of switch to traditional schedule gathering signatures to keep 'balanced' school days.

Cobb parents upset with the Cobb Board of Education's to revert to a "traditional" calendar starting in the fall have begun a petition drive to get the decision overturned. 

The signature-raising effort, which can be accessed here, is simply called the "Petition for the August 1 Calendar." That's the date Cobb schools would have begun the 2011-12 school year with a balanced calendar. The school board vote pushed back the first day of school to Aug. 15.

Opponents of the calendar change vowed immediately after the vote to mount a recall campaign against the four board members who pushed for the traditional calendar. 

One of them is newly elected Scott Sweeney of Post 6, which covers the Walton and Wheeler high school districts of East Cobb, and who campaigned on switching to the traditional calendar.

One school board member who voted against the calendar change is lashing out at those four colleagues. 

Post 5 representative David Banks, who represents the Pope, Lassiter and Sprayberry high school districts of East and Northeast Cobb, said in his online newsletter this week that the decision is a "disregard for the will of the majority." 

Banks, one of the four holdovers on the school board, said he received more than 1,200 e-mails prior to last week's vote, claiming that 72 percent were in favor of retaining the balanced calendar. 

"In politics, arrogance or vanity is very obvious when one fails to listen to a majority of their constituents or holds fast to a campaign position rather than admit that position is not supported," Banks wrote. "When a large segment of the public is telling you they do not want what you are espousing it’s time to reassess or suffer the political consequences. One truism in life is that all choices have consequences."

Holly February 23, 2011 at 06:19 PM
No! School should not start on August 1st. Do these parents and teachers not remember the heat of last August? Buses that don't have air conditioning. More days that schools are run in full force cost our County more money. Not to mention, what about all the people who have children with special needs. Do you realize that the constant stop and start of schedule caused by the Balanced Calendar is no good for a child that needs to be on a regular schedule. The week in September and February is disruptive, unneccesary, and causes a hard ship for any family that does not have money to take their cushy vacations. The Balanced Calendar is a bad idea and does not promot better academics.
Vanessa February 23, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Holly, Thanks I forgot the temp goes from 98 to 78 in those 15 days.. Thanks for the reminder Also, this is not just about a calendar, it about bullies, no one like bullies!
Vanessa February 23, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Ps, I am a mother of a special needs child, yes the need a constant schedule, but the also need down time and for him, going right to Christmas is going to be a nightmare at my house!
Vanessa February 23, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Yes! I signed the petition and if anyone ask I will also sign to recall Kathleen Angelucci!
Jenns February 23, 2011 at 08:08 PM
The balanced calendar was a horrible idea! Cobb County is the only place in the area to do it, so what are working parents supposed to with them? Either they take time off, which takes away from time they can spend with their children at holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, or the children must stay home alone. In addition, the constant weeks off disrupt the flow children's learning. Many regional events, such as Science Olympiad, are scheduled at this time because other counties do not observe this heinous schedule, so important members of the team are missing because they go on vacation. As a result, Cobb County teams are hurt and do not do as well. Finally, starting school at the beginning of August is just plain ridiculous! School should start in September, when the weather is beginning to cool. Some camps last all of July, like the one I go to, and so school starts just when I come back, and there is no time for me to rest. The current calendar is clearly the better choice. --A Concerned Student
Vanessa February 23, 2011 at 08:49 PM
@Jenns, Paulding and Cherokee are in the area It funny that you mention Christmas- considering the new calendar has school on Dec 23, 2011, which by the way is a STATE OBSERVED HOLIDAY for Christmas- but you will be taking finals and then next day Christmas eve...that I think is very sad! http://www.gms.state.ga.us/employees/holidays.asp Also where do you stay the first week in January? You can not stay there in Sept? You are correct about the science olympiad, parents should not plan vactions if a child is participating in such an actvity. It is my understand and why I do not know ( and keep trying to find out) that school must end in May. The only rumor I heard was it had to do with High School Graduations?
Elizabeth February 23, 2011 at 09:34 PM
A few more facts and a little less opinion.... Our neighbors in Cherokee have used a balanced calendar for years, and their academics are soaring, not "hurt" or "disrupted" (http://portal.cherokee.k12.ga.us/Documents/CCSD-Achievements.pdf). I haven't researched the data to know whether the calendar has had any impact on their success or not. The difference is I wouldn't say that it had unless I knew it to be true. Masquerading uninformed opinions as fact, like "the balanced calendar does not promote better academics" or "the constant weeks off disrupt the flow (of) children's learning" only serve to inflame this debate. I actually prefer the traditional calendar and do not have disposable money to take "cushy vacations", however, it is less expensive to vacation during off-peak times so those breaks are beneficial to anyone of any income level who ever intends to vacation. Also, I must provide childcare for my son, and it is still needed whether during the first 2 weeks of August or for a week each in September and February. Despite my personal preference for the traditional calendar, I recognize that my personal opinion has no place in the decision-making unless the board wants to base the decision on the preference of their constituents, which they clearly do not. Having to witness the political maneuvering surrounding this issue, and the misuse of power by our elected officials is only causing great divisiveness in our county. - A Concerned Parent
Jack S February 24, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Have the people who support a balance calendar lost their collective minds? This revisiting of the calendar debate is a waste of our elected Board members' time. Time that should be spent on more important issues like raising achievement scores, returning to the traditional math curriculum, eliminating block scheduling, and finding an competent Superintendent. The calendar is a done deal and the whiners need to get over it. I am an avid supporter of the traditional calender and commend the new board members for sticking to their campaign promise and, NOT flipping on the issue like some on the previous Board. The switch back to the traditional calendar was a return to sound judgment and has now become a political issue pushed by a disgruntled former Board member, a couple of old Board holdovers, and the teacher's union. Where is the evidence to support the advantage of a balanced calendar over the traditional calendar when it comes to improving grades? Instead of parents pushing for bettering education through consistency, they complain about not being able to go skiing in February because December break is full of family and the lack of snow by April break. I really don't think any sane "working" parent appreciates a three week on, one week off school schedule. Lastly, a petition to recall? I hate to tell you but there are not any legal grounds for a recall; look it up.
Jack S February 24, 2011 at 04:38 PM
Hang in there. Cooler heads will prevail.
Todd February 24, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Father to father, I too am very tired of this rampage. There are more serious issues at hand to focus on. The calendar has been voted on and passed, let's move on! Yes, I have three kids in the public school system (none in elementary) and yes they like the balanced calendar just for the breaks so they can hang out. However, being a parent I don't. I see and hear about units of curriculum being passed over or simply hit upon so the teacher can get in the unit before the breaks. I also see and hear about the days after a break where my kids are re-taught the same information that took place before the break. In my opinion we are wasting too much valuable education time with this balanced calendar. I realize not all are going to agree but we really need to move on!
Vanessa February 24, 2011 at 07:49 PM
@ Jack, I agree with you 100% about there being bigger issues, they should have focused on that, not the calendar.... But the newly elected decided that the calendar was their first priority. Why the rush?? Also, please, please find me an interview where Kathleen Angelucci states that her first, main and only prioirty is changing the calendar for the 2011-2012 school ?
Jack S February 24, 2011 at 08:11 PM
I don't always question the wisdom of our elected Board. There are probably deeper reasons for the change that the public hasn't been made aware of; otherwise, how could such an innocuous thing like start dates and number of vacations whip up such a frenzy? Im just saying that there are a few disgruntled people that want nothing to do other than stir up trouble. I'm not in direct communication with Angelucci so I cant tell you when she first decided, but I'll bet it was something she felt strongly about from the onset of her campaign. I think there has been a lot of mud slung collectively against the new Board. Let's not forget that David Banks (my rep) opposes the balanced calendar when he ran, then he and Abraham flip-flopped. You can find me on twitter if you want to chat more about this.
jay February 27, 2011 at 12:31 AM
What he said, and: Have been surprised to see how tired the children (elementary) are when they start back after the new vacation weeks. More than anything, disgusted that a minority of teachers have proven to be so unprofessional. RIF-bait
jay February 27, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Could not have said it better. thanks
jay February 27, 2011 at 12:34 AM
I'm disappointed to hear that Kathleen Angelucci states that her first, main and only prioirty is changing the calendar for the 2011-2012 school. Where did she say that?
jay February 27, 2011 at 12:37 AM
Vanessa (I mean einstein), Holly is trying to point out that shifting 15 days moves those days to lower temperature days. Not a big deal, but for younger children and children with health issues - shifting 15 days out of the prime heat/smog days is important. But this isn't really about the children, is it.
Vanessa February 27, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Jay, Yes, agree as mother of a child who has asthma, I had major concerns about the heat in August! But, much to my surprise, the schools because of the earlier start date they schools and bus drivers allowed water on the bus. My so was fine and properly hydrated. He had his inhaler with him and the bus driver was aware. Also, I went through the same thing in April of 2010 when the temp was over 90 and in May. and the first August he rode the bus. In Georgia we can have 6 months of temps in 90's so to base a calendar on two weeks in August, is a concern, but should not be the only reason we change it. Maybe next time there is a SPLOST vote, we can ask for A/C buses... One can dream right? Ps. My IQ is not the same as Einstein, he beats me by two points!
jay February 27, 2011 at 03:02 AM
Glad to hear that you know Einstein beat you by precisely 2 points on an IQ test. My understanding is that Einstein never took an IQ test in his life. Really interested to know: what test did you and he take and what was the score. Good to learn stuff here on the chat board!
Vanessa February 27, 2011 at 03:17 AM
@Jay...really, nice of you to stay on topic.. I now understand why you like the three new members, they are bullies, just like you.
jay February 27, 2011 at 03:37 AM
No need to narrow your focus to a single topic for me. I'll try to keep up! Borrowing one of your favorite phrases on this board: "You yet to answer me, what test was it that you took and what was your score again??" LOL
Vanessa February 28, 2011 at 02:04 PM
@Jay-you win, you are creeping me out-
thad peterson February 28, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Where do I sign?
Bryan May 12, 2011 at 09:15 PM
As a student in Cobb County, I feel that having a balanced calander is very importent! When it is the summer, I want to go back to school, so I don't understand why we should extend summer 15 days when all the kids are bored, sad, and want to see there friends again. I love having the break during February and September. It feels like no-one is listening to the real people that matter, the KIDS. The adults arn't the ones sitting in school for 81/2 hours 5 days A WEEK for 180 days. The breaks give us a chance to have a little fun during the year. I would much rather have breaks than 15 more days of summer! And yes, when you are getting bored you don't learn as well. Also, the terachers want to leave also. At Allatoona, we are so ready for the summer it is crazy. And no we arn't asking for CUSHY VACATIONS, but a break from school taking up our lives. How could you say that we don't deserve it? Before you say anything about us not knowing what we are talking about, I will invite you to come and take my spot at school for 81/2 hours 5 days a week. Be my guest. It's not about the adults, its about the kids actually in school.
M. Fresh May 12, 2011 at 11:45 PM
Bryan, Re: KIDS. The adults arn't the ones sitting in school for 81/2 hours 5 days A WEEK for 180 days. That's right, they are typically work 8.5+ hours a day, 5+ days a week, ~50 weeks a year. Buying groceries, paying bills, managing a household. Take a look in the mirror and you'll get a view for why the country is "softer" and less competitive than it used to be.

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