Keeping the grass roots growing!!
There will be NO MEASURABLE educational benefit to switching to the BSC. Mr. Lieske admits that test scores or Davison’s school ranking in the county may or may not improve. He does not want to commit to any measurements to determine the success or the failure of his BSC. Nor does he want to be held accountable for not achieving any higher measureable results from switching to the BSC. All that Mr. Lieske says is that studies show (and he does have the data points) that learning retention “loss” due to summer vacation will be lessened. Is this really a problem in the first place? I think not. His only solution to this condition is to go to the BSC. One audience member suggested giving students voluntary refresher assignments to be completed at home a couple of weeks before the school starts. Mr. Lieske did not like this idea; probably because the school would not be in control and it would be inexpensive – leave schooling to the professionals.
All students and parents will lose three weeks of summer vacation/work/travel. The three lost summer weeks will be given back as individual weeks – one in the autumn, one in the winter, and one in the spring; these will be called intersessions. Mr. Lieske does not take into account the experiences students will lose from not working, traveling, and relaxing a bit before starting another intense school year. Mr. Lieske proposes that his data points about summer learning loss are more important than other out-of-school experiences.
The BSC will be expensive. At the forum Mr. Lieske did not have his “Financial Impact” study done. He has been talking about this for over a year and he claims he doesn’t know what it will cost? My conclusion is, Mr. Lieske wants to sell the customers on the product before they learn the cost and before they can decide if they really need it. Regardless of the numbers that Mr. Lieske will eventually offer, here is my rough estimate: The school operates from September until June or about 40 weeks. Three weeks will be added under the BSC so that is an increase of 3/40 = 7.5% in operating costs. Davison Schools receive about $50,000,000 (per DCS’s website) from the state and other sources to operate the 40 weeks. Therefore: (7.5%)($50 million) = $3.75 million additional money is required to expand the operating school year by three weeks under the BSC. Intercessions will be staffed by substitute teachers (until the Teacher’s Union objects), and parents will pay something (less than babysitting costs the school proudly announced). Even if the estimate is divided in half to compensate for these less expensive costs, the cost to operate under a “Balanced School Calendar” would be approximately $1.875 million per year. This money would have to come from increased taxes from people residing in the Davison Community School District.
If you want Davison Schools to control your son’s or daughter’s life and your life more than they already do; if you want to lose three weeks of summer activities; if you want to pay for this with higher taxes; and if you understand that there will be no mearsureable educational benefit from doing all this, well then – Mr. Lieske’s “Balanced School Calendar” is perfect for you.