Letters to the Editor
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:44AM
I am opposed to the recently announced plan to start classes in District 86 “early” (Aug. 14, 2013 for 2013-14).
The stated motivation for the proposed early start is the desire to have high school fall final exams prior to the winter holiday. Thus, while such a change will potentially provide a benefit to some students in grades 9-12, it is not clear if there will be a net benefit on average to grade 9-12 students. And, no evidence has been presented to support such a conclusion. Furthermore, such a change will indisputably adversely affect many students and families in kindergarten through eighth grade (as well as some in ninth through 12th grade).
There are many adverse consequences of the proposed policy (loss of vacation time during best outdoor weather periods, loss of dedicated time for athletic practices and other extracurricular activities in August, logistical problems with feeder district calendars, spring final exams immediately after Memorial Day) that are too numerous to be discussed in detail here. Moreover, it appears that there has been a total lack of comprehensive analysis done in regard to this issue (no quantitative analyses of costs/benefits are available from District 86). I attended one of the community forums April 17. Parents in attendance expressed almost uniform opposition to the proposed change in calendar for a variety of sensible reasons, including those noted above.
Based on the information available, the adverse effects of the proposed change in calendar easily exceed the presumed benefits.
Early school start not warranted
Are District 181 parents aware that District 86 is considering starting school two weeks earlier in 2013, ending mid-May, and that this could end up affecting them too?
District 181 may or may not align itself with this schedule. If not, families with kids in both districts suddenly have a logistical nightmare on their hands for two weeks in May and two weeks in August.
I strongly oppose this proposal. The reason cited for the shift is to administer final exams prior to winter break so that AP classes have additional time for preparation prior to the May exams. The shift in schedule is therefore geared primarily toward one group of students. If District 181 follows the schedule, all students kindergarten through 12th grade would be shifted to benefit the relatively few AP students. I don’t believe that makes sense.
While I support the district’s efforts to give AP students the best chance to prepare, I don’t believe the cost is worth it. The children stand to lose two of the best weeks of the summer in order to take exams before winter break. In addition, December would go from an enjoyable month of holiday preparations to one of tension and stress cramming for exams.
District 86 has done very little to solicit opinions on this matter. I urge the members of the community to make your opinions known to the District 86 Board members; and I urge the board to avoid making this decision in a vacuum.
Show teachers your appreciation
As we embark on Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11), an encouraging new poll conducted by Everest College indicates that young adult Chicagoans do, in fact, hold educators in very high esteem.
A majority of the 500 Chicago students and young adults polled – 53 percent – said at least one of their teachers made a significant difference or contribution to their success.
Few other professionals touch as many people as teachers do; and when young people can say a teacher has been a major, positive influence in their lives, it dramatically reinforces why educators should not only be appreciated for their efforts this week – but all year long.
I’m grateful to my fellow educators, for all that they do to educate and inspire today’s students.
Their contribution to our community is invaluable.
Everest College – Burr Ridge
Hickey learns from experience
I am disappointed about the results of the Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District, but I do not think of it as I lost the race, for I gained the knowledge and experience to prepare me for my next run.
I would like to personally thank everyone who worked on my campaign, donated to the cause, and to the thousands that bestowed me with their confidence and their vote. This is not the end of my political career, but just the beginning.
Like Abraham Lincoln stated during his numerous political losses, I shall continue to work hard, study, prepare, and perhaps my time will come in the future.
I will always continue to work for the underdog, the little guy and the working family. I truly believe that the working class needs to have representation in Congress.
I would like to congratulate Bill Foster; and let us hope and pray that Foster will help the working class.
I would also like to congratulate Juan Thomas on his efforts; and I wish him much success on his future endeavors.