The school board seems to have met to discuss the issue of “Kaizen Thursdays,” after a storm of criticism erupted from many parents who felt that they hadn’t been consulted, or even informed. And I think that Rick Guiness, the reporter from the Herald who covered it, read my post, though he doesn’t name the blog specifically:
In a blog posted on the internet, one parent complained of poor communication between the district and parents over the shortened day.
According to the posting by the parent of one 5-year-old received, a letter from the superintendent explained that Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life and that “We know this places a burden on you and that it reduces instructional time for your children.”
Pretty sure that’s me. (The only 2 google results for the quoted sentence are my post and the Herald’s article.) Of course, Guiness only quotes me quoting the letter, but that’s ok.
Anyway, the latest news is that the school board has approved the idea of shortened Thursdays . . . because of budget cuts. Here’s Guiness:
Citing budget cuts, the Board of Education announced Monday that as of Sept. 18, the district will have shortened days on Thursdays.
If it’s true that budget cuts are the reason, then parents are being sold a bill of goods. At the public meeting, the superintendent made very clear that the reason to adopt shortened Thursdays was quality control: it would promote common planning among teachers, more individualized instruction, and a variety of other worthy goals. (All of which I support.) But if the reason to go to shortened Thursdays is money . . . that’s not good. Because assessment and common planning are *expensive* to do well. You can’t just wing it when you’ve carved out a spare hour or two. If money is so tight right now, then this is the wrong year to implement shortened Thursdays.
Also, I do think that there were interesting concerns raised in the meeting which need to be explored further. I heard several parents say that there were no options for once-a-week early afternoon daycare for the youngest children. Some public statement about where they might go would be useful.
Pragmatically, this decision doesn’t affect my family at all: The boy’s in half-day kindergarten*, and so the “half-day” concept doesn’t apply.
In other news, a school board member resigned in protest . . . though not over this.
*Apparently this week the kindergarten students had the concept of “lockdown drill” explained to them–during their designated library time. What a depressing concept–and one born almost entirely out of media, parental, and bureaucratic/lawyerly hysteria. Plus, the boy has a job!