our way in 2015
A newly-formed political coalition is only one force that will
imperil the NC School Calendar Law in 2015. Read the news release
below from Save Our Summers North Carolina President Louise Lee
to get a preview of what is to come...and what you can do to help
preserve a reasonable traditional school calendar for North Carolina's
public school students and teachers.
DECEMBER 22, 2014 (with update on March 4, 2015)
Since North Carolina's school calendar law went into effect ten
years ago, cries of "return local control" have resounded
in the halls of the NC legislative buildings. In a few weeks, those
voices will be heard again, louder and in greater number, due, in
part, to the formation of a new coalition opposing the law: Let
Our Calendar Authority be Local (or "LOCAL" for short).
Local control to this group is defined as "school boards and/or
superintendents," which, by the way, still establish their
own district-specific calendars in compliance with the tenets of
the law. When SOS-NC takes a stand for "local control,"
we are referring to the very grassroots meaning of the words: parents,
students, teachers, etc.
Before the NC school calendar law existed, concerned citizens went
to their "local" education leaders for years and years,
pleading with them to stop the "calendar creep" that saw
most school systems across North Carolina beginning school in early
August. Only when they continued to be ignored and/or treated with
total disrespect did these citizens turn to the General Assembly
for help. They saw no other recourse. Now, their story has been
grossly misconstrued and distorted.
Various organizations of superintendents, school boards, and teachers,
as well as powerful lobbying groups, have succeeded in their efforts
to remove individual citizens of NC from their definition of "local."
They have convinced many new legislators, who don't know the background
of the school calendar law, that they should toss out the hard-fought
efforts of those who make up the heart of the "local"
level, and instead give in to the demands of those who claim to
be the local level, that is, school boards and superintendents.
Claims that are made on opponents' websites are often misleading
as they pick-and-choose which facts to share. Here are some examples.
- While referring to the revisions made to the law in 2013, they
mention that "school would start as late as August 29 in
some years!" We would add that schools could also start as
early as August 23.
- They also play up that provision for educational waivers originally
included in the law were elimiated, which erodes local "flexibility."
What they fail to note is that waivers were eliminated largely
due to documentation of blatant abuses of this provision.
Here is just one example. In April 2012, Warren County applied
for, and received, an educational waiver for two of its high schools,
clearly stating the purpose as, “An alignment with our community
college area is absolutely essential to ensure the success [of]
providing a quality education for our students.” When would the
two high schools begin the 2012-2013 school year? August 8. Bottom
line – Warren County high schools started on August 8, 2012 to
“align” with Vance-Granville Community College, which did not
begin classes until August 15th!
- They sometimes fail to mention altogether the major change implemented
in 2013 from requiring 185 days of instruction to requiring 185
days OR 1,025 hours, still covering "at least nine calendar
months." That "or" offering opens the door for
much more flexibility, especially in establishing make-up time
for hours missed due to inclement weather.
Now is the time to start contacting your legislators to let them
know that you oppose changes to the current school calendar law.
At the very least, unbridled calendar control by superintendents
and school boards could lead to an end to summer as we now know
it. Just take a look at the past.
Updates to this site are an ongoing process, so for now you will
find contact information for General Assembly members here: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/representation/whorepresentsme.aspx
As always, SOS-NC treasures your support because YOU are the true
"grass roots" force that has brought sanity to school
calendars across the state of North Carolina.