Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just One More Example...


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Updates (finally!)

I am the first to admit that I have done a sorry job keeping this site up-to-date. I plead guilty to being out of town doing "summer things" for the majority of the past 2 months. Still - I should have been more diligent.

Secondly, for those of you whose children were shortchanged on their summer vacation (due to the mandating of year-round schools), I have thought of you often, and my heart goes out to you. For what it's worth, I am still determined to fight this issue. It is not over by any means, especially since the Wake County School Board has appealed Judge Howard Manning's ruling.

Last of all (for now), I have some good news about the School Calendar Law of 2004. This law preserves a traditional summer vacation for most families in North Carolina, and was extensively used (to my surprise, quite frankly) by Judge Manning to defend his decision that parents cannot be forced into a year-round situation. Of course we all know how Wake County squeezed around that decision by still mandating that certain schools would go year-round, and leaving parents with a so-called "choice" to opt out for an unknown location.

The 2004 law, which sets August 25 and June 10 as parameters within which local boards can set their own school schedules, is even more important in light of Judge Manning's ruling. Save Our Summers - NC, a grassroots group that I founded and for which I currently serve as president, fought hard to get the law passed, and we have had to fight just as hard to keep it from being "gutted". Below are excerpts from emails that will go out to SOS-NC supporters this week. Many of you are interested in what happened legislatively this year and in how things stand now, so this should answer some of those questions. 


" The 2007 Session of the General Assembly ended last week with a flurry of bills, but thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and the willingness of supporters to get involved, none of the damaging bills introduced dealing with the school calendar were passed into law. This was not an easy feat, considering the North Carolina Association of School Boards, the Association of School Administrators and many other powerful education lobbying groups have made overturning the uniform school start date their top priority. The opposition’s extensive efforts over the past year looked like they were going to come to fruition when, in early April, House Bill 359 Restore Flexibility to School Calendars passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming vote of 77 to 35. Thanks to a quick response by our grassroots coalition and continued strong support in the Senate, the bill that would have returned total control of school start and end dates back to local school boards was not heard in the Senate this year. However, it remains eligible for consideration in 2008, so we are asking our supporters to continue their efforts to make sure this damaging legislation dies again in next year’s General Assembly Session.  

When Virginia passed school calendar legislation, the school boards and administrators spent approximately seven years trying to overturn it. In North Carolina, we have three years already under our belt. With a few more years’ vigilance, we can convince lawmakers and the opposition that North Carolinians are serious about their summers.

Please sign up to receive our notices and alerts so that we can contact you as soon as this bill or any other that would harm the school calendar law begins to move again through the General Assembly. And please continue to spread the word to other parents and concerned citizens who believe in a sensible school calendar - the battle is not yet over.

Lastly, check out how your Representatives voted on school calendar issues this year and take the time to thank them (or ask them to reconsider their position, whichever the case may be) by e-mail or phone. It’s important that legislators hear from their constituents even when the General Assembly is not in Session.

A huge “THANK YOU” to everyone who chose to get involved. Save Our Summers - NC is about preserving a traditional summer and all the experiences that can go along with that for our children, but the movement has also been about letting our government, elected and otherwise, know that North Carolinians can and will stand up for what we believe in, especially when it comes to our families.

Please keep up the good fight, both locally and with the Legislature, and be on the lookout for our bulletins and alerts. YOU made the difference!!"