If you have complaints about the school calendar for Evanston/Skokie District 65 elementary and middle schools, the board has set aside time at Monday’s meeting to hear your views.

Some people think the schools should stay in session for special holidays like Casimir Pulaski Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day and to use that time to educate the kids about the legacy of those national heroes.

Others think that school should end before the summer heat arrives and begin again after the cool fall days have begun, thereby saving on air conditioning.

To help you make your case, the district has attached the calendars for the next three school years to the agenda packet for Monday’s meeting.

The public portion of the meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 1500 McDaniel Ave.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Suggestions

    Why is this article framed so negatively to invite complaints?

    Why not "if you have ideas or suggestions that would make the calendar work better for your family…"

    Evanston has too many ad hominem arguments.  Why invite another one?

  2. The real problem with the school calendar

    The real problem with the school calendar is that it has too few days in school and too many loopholes reducing this number even further.  The State of Illinois mandates the number of school days and also how a school day is defined.  What every taxpayer need to know, if they don't already, is that school days (and all of the various loopholes) are all tightly controlled by state laws that clearly benefit the teacher's union via donations to the state political campaigns.

    Buying the laws that directly and economically benefit a particular group (in this case the great and powerful teachers union) right out in the open has become very acceptable in our country and it is called lobbying.  I would choose another word for lobbying; I prefer to call it what it is: corruption. How else other than describing it as corruption can being able to count the first and last days of school as "full days" so long as there is one hour of school be explained?  In other words, we the taxpayers pay the teachers for a "full day" of school, but only get 1 hour of school for our kids.  Another similar loophole allows teacher training days where the kids are in school for only a ½ day, to be counted as a full day of school.  This is deceitful and just wrong.  After 12+ years, that adds up to a lot of missed hours of classroom time, all perfectly “legal”.  Laws like these clearly shortchange our kids. It is a sham and it has been going on for decades, unfortuately with no end is sight.

    Until such laws are changed, or our local school board get some chops and fights back by having all full days of school, no "tweaking" of the school calendar is worth the effort it takes to swim against the enormous push of (local) teacher's union using their state endorsed political capital.  The reality is that our kids get 176 days (actually less as shown above) no matter how the calendar is sliced and diced.  Our local school board members and state representatives have proven themselves unwilling to stand up to the teacher’s union and give our children the education they deserve and the education that we have paid for.

    1. Misinformation regarding teachers unions and holidays

      Enough with the conspiracy theories revolving around the relationship between the state and the supposed political power of teachers unions.  The IEA and AFT don't even have enough sway to effectively protect pensions or guard against teacher evaluation systems that hurt both teachers and kids.  While teacher-bashing seems to be in mode here on Evanston Now, in the real world it is neither helpful nor accurate.  Do you really think teachers even give a second thought to the number or types of holidays that appear in the school year?  There are real issues out there that teachers truly care about:  class size, standardized assessments, school funding, and safety to name a few.  The State of Illinois makes plenty of independent decisions regarding holidays–many in response to federal law–that are in no way informed or influenced by teachers.  Spend a month shadowing a teacher and then you'll see why school holidays are a non- issue to teachers and how weak the teachers unions truly are to effectively address the issues that concern teachers most.  

      1. Teacher Unions are destroying public education

        Don't confuse bashing Teacher Unions as the same thing as bashing teachers. There is a difference.

        Teacher Unions care about the best interests of  teachers, not parents, kids or school districts.  Anyone who disagrees or who thinks Teacher Unions are not a powerful political lobby are living in a fantasy land.  

        Teacher Unions are powerful, well-funded and well-connected and have consistently blocked any kind of meaningful education reform.

        Last year, the Chicago Teacher's Union walked off the job and went on strike. They opposed an increase in  teacher evalutions based on test scores and wanted a 30 percent pay raise despite the fact the city and state are broke and CPS was facing a $3 billion budget deficit, and that only 15 percent of CPS fourth graders are proficient in reading and just 56 percent of students graduate in the district. The Teacher's Union also rejected adding 90 minutes to the school day.

        CPS is a cesspool and a money pit with a horrendous history and educational record. And yet the average CPS teacher salary at $75,000 is the highest in the nation. CPS is bleeding Chicago dry and so will the unsustainable pensions. Teacher Unions are fighting charter schools – why? Because there isn't a union presence in charter schools. But that's going to soon change soon.

        More than 90 percent of all Teacher Union campaign donations go to Democrat candidates who keep borrowing money and raising taxes to pay the cushy unsustainable pensions that are bankrupting Illinois.

        The government unions are destroying our public schools and bleeding our state dry.

        Learn more go here: http://teachersunionexposed.com/


      2. Not teacher bashing

        This comment is the typical response when revealing the truth in the State School Code (i.e. the teachers are great).  While that may be true, the facts are there for anyone interested fact checking.  It would be nice if the press were to report on it to bring it into the light of day.  These are facts: the first and last days of school may be counted as full days of school if they are a minimum of one-hour.  The half days where the other half is teacher training (the kids aren't there), count as a full day of school.  Say what you may about conspiracy "theories" (how do you think those loopholes got into the State School Code?), but Evanston schools are using these legal loopholes and that is cheating our kids. Period.

  3. Year-round school

    What are the requirements for year-round school? Does a district need special permissions from the state? Is this even something D65 would consider? (Right, first we need all school air-conditioned)


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