KC has blogged about proposed changes to the SFUSD calendar over at sfschools.org. The proposed changes have been a big topic on the various school chat groups as well. In a nutshell, the Superintendent is proposing to move the first day of school up several weeks, so that schools would start the second week of August, rather than the fourth week. School would let out in late May, just ahead of Memorial Day.
While there are some arguments in favor — bringing SFUSD’s calendar in line with City College’s, and having the Fall semester end before winter break to give middle and high school students a true vacation — I’m dubious. For one thing, summer and after-school programs have already made their plans for the year. Strange as it sounds, making such a change by summer 2009 would wreak some serious havoc for the nonprofit organizations which run these programs. Second, the change would throw SFUSD’s schedule seriously out of whack with those offered by independent private schools, private preschools, and parochial schools. That would be a hardship to the many families whose children utilize both public and private schools.
So while I’m willing to look at changes to the master schedule that benefit kids and make our schools work better, I question the pace of the proposed schedule change and also whether the benefits are worth the drawbacks. I think this idea needs a lot more discussion and exposure. And if we ultimately decide this is a great idea, then we should give community organizations and families more time to adjust to the change.