Due to TABOR, our elections were held this past Tuesday, instead of next week. The three candidates I supported for the School Board Election went down. (BTW-each of the winners received a significant amount of their campaign contributions from teachers' unions!) Three weeks ago, my neighbor had a community forum with some of the candidates. A little wine, cheese, and school topics chat with the neighbors.
I asked the candidates questions about the Common Core, school funding, and Educator Effectiveness plans in Colorado. I was a minority. Nobody seems to know what goes on in a school, these days. The main question many wanted answered had to do with the district start date. Not all schools in my district are air-conditioned and the kids get really hot in August. Really hot. Boy those little sweetpeas get hot. For about two weeks, it can be over 80 degrees in some classrooms. So yeah, their kids come home sweaty.
Of course start dates are driven by many things, one of which would be the mandated test dates in March and April. What school district chooses to start after Labor Day when the rest of the state starts mid August? Another start date driver is the desire to end first semester before the Christmas break. Which allows us to get out of school by Memorial Day, which allows high school students the ability to get summer jobs, take community college course over the summer, etc.
Back the the whine and cheese forum...
Since it's hot, the classrooms run fans. The fans make noise and it's hard to hear the teacher, so one candidate discussed having seen a teacher using a microphone (you know, like Brittney Spears) and the classroom had speakers in the ceiling. A school I've worked at in the past used such a system to accommodate hearing impaired students. "Oooh", the parent who complained about the noisy fans said, "I don't want to take away from money that might be spent on technology and smartboards in the classroom for that"
So I guess, to many parents' minds, a smartboard trumps the ability to hear a teacher.
When I start to worry about education, I am grateful for our charter school. It's not perfect and we do get complaints, but none of them are about the heat.