A Little Jolt with Ken Balsley

Balanced Calendar comes unbalanced


I would have bet anything, that the North Thurston School District's flirtation with a "Balanced Calendar" would have resulted in a significant and major change in our local educational system.

The proposal to extend the school year, while not changing the number of days students were in class -  looked fishy to me.  But with the state superintendent of schools funding a major study, and local school districts biting on the "free money" provided by the state, I was certain the students and parents were in for another shock in our public schools.

Boy, was I wrong.

Recently, based on a recommendation by the committee studying the issue, the North Thurston School Board decided to take no action. Our public school calendar is safe once again.

Last week the 50-person committee studying the issue reversed course and recommended to the North Thurston School Board that it take no action. Assuming the board concurs with their own committee, our public school calendar is safe once again.

More than 5,000 comments on the proposal were heard by the committee and 55 percent of them were negative.  While it isn't being said, the teachers union took no position, stating that the 2022-2023 school calendar had already been set.  Without the support of the union, the school district can do very little.

The idea sounded like something coming from Chicago or New York City, where under-served populations lose some educational skills they lose during the 11-week summer.  For the most part, studies found that cutting the length of summer vacation had little impact on learning loss.

But, the idea sounded right to the state school superintendent, and using "free money" from the Feds, funded several study groups around the state.  Let's hope that they too decide that the disruption of a school year isn't worth it.

And, a pat on the back for the Lacey schools and their school board.

P.S.  Olympia School District is actively studying the idea now, too.  Wonder what they’ll do, now that North Thurston School District is abandoning the idea.

Ken Balsley is Thurston County's longest-serving journalist. He writes every few days on his blog at  kenbalsley.com and hosts "Coffee with Ken" every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. on  KGY 95.3 FM.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here