One of the great things about reporting on education is there’s never a shortage of interested readers. No matter the topic, someone will have a view. In Chicago, that’s kind of a given when you have 330,000 kids, plus their parents and about 30,000 educators in a school system — not to mention private and suburban schools.
So it was easy to predict the amount of strong, vocal — and, detailed? — opinions about Chicago Public Schools’ new academic calendar that starts classes Aug. 22
, the earliest in a long time at a district that’s used to post-Labor Day starts. It’s a mundane topic on any other beat. A government institution announced a schedule for the next year. But tell that to all the parents and educators in my inbox.
In the past week I’ve seen a thorough analysis of historical temperatures the last couple weeks of August versus the last couple weeks of June. I’ve seen tallies of the number of days for summer break. Complaints about vacations that have already been planned. Stories about little to no productivity the last few weeks of school. And arguing about testing.
It’s normal for there to be such passionate feelings about CPS and kids’ education, and the calendar is no exception, especially when the district is moving from something it’s done for as long as we can remember. But I hope we can all step back from time to time and appreciate — and maybe even laugh a little — that pretty much any and all issues at CPS will trigger intense arguments from all sides.
Let me know what you think of the new calendar. It’s one of the topics the Board of Education will be discussing at today’s monthly meeting. Check out our Sun-Times education page
for coverage of the meeting later today. And in the meantime read our latest stories below.
Until next week,
Nader Issa, Sun-Times education reporter
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