What works in fighting school calendar change
Experiences around the nation show that a group, even a small group, of well-organized and well-informed parents can effectively influence school calendar decisions.
This section offers information and advice from grassroots groups and individuals successful in stopping or containing the year-round calendar in their communities. This is a three-part section:
10-Point School Calendar Survival Strategy
Form a group.
3) Prepare information packages.
4) Map out and launch a public information campaign.
Develop contacts with decision makers.
6) Monitor school board meetings and workshops.
Keep a professional demeanor.
8) Demand facts and figures
Offer alternative solutions to calendar change.
10) Seek allies.
...from Worthington, Ohio
The following tips and advice come from Patti Benninger of Worthington, Ohio, who was a co-coordinator of a grassroots effort that successfully countered aggressive year-round calendar proponents. You may contact Patti at (614) 885-9436.
EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES USED BY , OHIO,
1) Form a school calendar monitoring committee.
if one of you can sit on the school committee that is discussing the
2) Form your own community meeting.
the school meetings have been structured to give the “pro” view,
organize your own community meeting to present literature and
presentations for the opposition.
3) Organize a LETTERS TO THE EDITOR campaign.
a steady flow of letters to the editor
supplied to your suburban newspaper and the city
4) Get students involved.
students who are opposed to the calendar to write letters to the editor in
the community newspapers or to school board members.
5) Get teachers' unions involved.
the teachers’ union and discuss steps for approval of this calendar. .
6) Send out a bi-monthly newsletter.
updates are critical.
7) Arm yourself with research and resource information.
and organize literature which opposes the year-round calendar.
8) Make information and Web site resource kits.
Monitor school board agendas.
10) Make sure your group and its views are included in any calendar presentation.
a calendar presentation is to be made to the school board, meet
with the appropriate administrative contact to request that a member of
your group be on the panel.
11) Communicate with school board members.
members of your group and those on your mailing list to write or call
school board members to register their opposition. Group
coordinators should keep in touch.
12) Attend school board meetings.
any school board meetings in which the calendar will be discussed.
Organize parents to speak in your public comments section.
13) Be available to work with the media.
to have a spokesperson interviewed by any reporter.
14) Consider doing your own survey of teachers or parents.
the school keeps referring to their surveys of teachers and parents
concerning the school board calendar, either ask for a review of the
actual surveys or do your own survey.
15) Network with other grassroots groups.
in touch with parents from other districts that have discussed the
year-round calendar to share information and get ideas for additional strategies.
Above all: DON'T
GIVE UP HOPE!
Above all: DON'T
GIVE UP HOPE!
. . . some ABCs of fighting calendar change
is for Auburn
They built a website http://www.auburn.edu/~enebasa. They chipped in $10,000 for a war chest to get their message across, which included hiring a plane with an anti-year-round banner to fly over a major football game at Auburn University. Bumper stickers and yard signs were made and distributed. Parents went house to house to talk with anyone who would listen about the fallacies of school calendar change. Here are some tips from members of their group.
Bumper Stickers & Yard Signs
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stephen C. Kempf)
"Ours looked like the typical red Stop sign with 'STOP YRS' in the middle, "Stop Year Round School" printed below the sign, and the address of our web site. Another idea would be a 'No Smoking' sort of symbol with the cigarette in the circle replaced by YRS with a slash across it, 'NO Year Round School' printed below it, and your website address.
"We also had bumper stickers made up with our symbol, the 'STOP YEAR ROUND SCHOOL' statement and web address. These were made up with the new adhesive that allows the bumper sticker to be removed later on without damage to the bumper finish.
"These sorts of things, of course, cost money. We were
fortunate in Auburn to have a number of supporters with deep pockets. You
Strategy in a nutshell
From elton@Eng.Auburn.EDU (David Elton):
Asked his advice to those fighting calendar change, here's the response from David Elton, an Auburn University professor who was a central figure in the successful defeat of year-round school in Auburn City Schools:
"My advice: Get the facts first, and be sure you want to fight YRS; be very
vocal in public meetings; get the newspapers on your side, advertise, spend money, make a lot of noise; always use a lot of facts; hire Billee
Bussard. Be prepared to be very public in your campaign."
is for Broward
On September 14, 1993, the committee issued a formal "Memorandum on the Social and Community Impact of Year-Round Education." It focused on the following:
Lack of Community Support - Survey results showed overwhelming opposition to the year-round calendar.
City Resolutions Against Year-Round Education - Names were provided of a number of Broward County cities opposed to implementation of YRE because of resulting increased taxes, declining real estate values, community desirability and quality of family life issues.
Family Unity - Arguments were made to show the year-round calendar will make it harder for families to spend time together.
Court Ordered Visitations - "Many courts have established legal visitations that take the school calendar into consideration. There is no track that allows for children to spend the summer with their non-custodial parent. Forcing single parents back into court to renegotiate visitation rights is extremely intrusive. It also results in additional legal fees to the parents involved."
Social Fragmentation - "With neighborhood children on different tracks, the cohesiveness of the neighborhood is disrupted."
Community Sports - "Community sports programs are greatly affected by a multi-track calendar. With 20 percent of the children on vacation at a given time, there can be no consistency in the teams."
Religious Organizations - The year-round calendar will make it difficult for children to participate in vacation Bible schools and other organized church educational events where a quorum of students is needed.
Employment - Some parents take jobs based on school calendars, day care arrangements and employers who will accommodate parents during vacation breaks. An employer will find it more difficult to work with a school schedule with numerous breaks throughout the year. Employers with summer jobs will be less likely to employ students or parents of schoolchildren who can't work the whole season because of the year-round calendar.
Child Care - The year-round calendar swells the number of latchkey kids.
Increased School Taxes - Because year-round education costs more the outcome will be either increased takes or education curriculums that are cut, shortchanging children.
Increased Municipal Taxes - Parks and Recreation - Recreation programs incur higher costs of operating programs to accommodate the 20 percent of multi-track students who are off-track or are on intercession breaks, and ultimately those higher costs are passed on to the taxpayer.
Increased Municipal Taxes - Crossing Guards - The budget for crossing guards is increased 25 percent under a multi-track calendar that expands school days and school capacity, resulting in higher costs to taxpayers.
Truancy, Juvenile Crime, Gang Activity - "Information on the relationship between intercessions, truancy, gang activity and juvenile crime rates varies from one multi-track location to the next. However, the same concern exists here as does with Double Sessions. Whether the figure is 20 percent out of school, or 50 percent out of school, when students are unsupervised there is a concern about neighborhood vandalism and gang-related activities."
Real Estate Values - "Less than 2 percent of our nation's schools are on YRE. Most families are very reluctant to move from a traditional district to a YRE district. Even though the YRE community may have accepted the concept through intensive marketing of the idea, those moving form the other 98 percent of school districts have not had the inclination to do the same. A YRE community is not commonly viewed as a desirable community in which to buy a home."
Business Community - "Camps, recreational facilities, seasonal businesses, and retail businesses are all affected by the change in school calendar. Businesses anticipate the summer vacation syndrome and have built their activity levels and marketing around that assumption. There is a cyclical nature to many business activities."
C is for "coming soon. . ."
is for Others
Educate the education
Pass out business cards with web
Learn about The Delphi Technique
"I didn't know anything about YRS, so everything I read
Get the Daddies Involved
page last updated August 30, 2001