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Piece of Mind: Could this impact board election?

June 22, 2011|By Carol Cormaci

What’s your opinion of the La Cañada school board’s recent approval of four additional pupil-free days for teachers? Apparently three such days were not deemed by instructors to be enough, so the board agreed to increase the number to seven.

I’m curious to know how the rank and file teachers feel about the change. Do they believe they’ll emerge from these four additional enrichment days as better educators? Will their students reap benefits that doubters can’t yet see?

It’s my understanding that at LCHS, the meager number of minutes added to daily classroom time to make up for the additional four-day shortfall will, by the end of the 2011-2012 school year, actually result in a net gain of a few hours of classroom time for our young Spartans over this year’s schedule. But will those couple of minutes tacked onto courses each day be put to productive instructional use? I’m inclined to suspect it will just give the students slightly more time to gather up their things before heading off to their next class or activity, but I could be mistaken about that.

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There is a financial component to this matter, too. Although our child graduated from LCHS several years ago, I can tell you that — even before the economy went south — we sometimes struggled to find the cash to make sure she could participate in the wonderful programs that our schools offered. (I remember how much we debated about whether or not we could afford to send her on the weeklong, fifth-grade Valley Forge trip. She went; we ate beans.) So I can relate to those parents of elementary school kids who worry about paying for child care on those extra four days next school year.

Some parents who object to this recent LCUSD development are circulating a petition in the hope of convincing the school board that its decision should be rescinded. I really need to have a better understanding of how the teachers and district administrators believe it will improve education before making any pronouncements in favor of rescinding it or endorsing it, but you can probably guess which way I’m leaning.

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