Surprise! Another story about John Kasich changing a policy without thinking or even knowing about the reasons it was implemented.

This time it’s snow days (aka Calamity Days) for Ohio’s schools, which Governor Strickland lowered from 5 to 3. Kasich – on the advice of his pre-teen daughters – has proposed undoing the change.

The move to reduce the number of snow days pissed off a lot of teachers and districts, yes, even the “evil” teachers unions that Kasich hates so much. But the Strickland administration received praise nationally for this move to add more days to the school year.

American kids are falling behind their international peers in large part because children in the US spend much less time in school. The goal of this policy was to increase the number of school days and to give our kids the education their need to compete for jobs in the international job market.

And this policy was a way of adding those additional days to the school year without having to renegotiate teacher contracts.

If Kasich had done any research on the issue beside simply taking the advice of a couple of ten year olds, he might also have realized that this plan actually fits in nicely with his belief that teachers are overpaid. Teachers are paid for calamity days even when they aren’t in the classroom teaching so adding more calamity days means teachers are getting paid for not working. More importantly, it means kids aren’t learning.

I do have to wonder what other wonderful education policy choices Kasich plans on making based on the advice of his ten year old kids. No more yucky peas in the cafeteria?

  • Guest

    wow…his kids will be really happy when he launches his longer recesses/less homework initiative.

    In some ways, this calamity days argument is like the “less government” argument that gets thrown around. Sure, “smaller” government sounds like a good idea, until a program you need/enjoy is cut. In other words, more snow days to stay home and watch Oprah and Judge Judy really aren’t good trade offs for a better educated student population.

  • Duckmonkeyman

    Not sure adding 2, 3, or 5 days in June is that effective either way. It is the old quality v. quantity argument. Most teachers I know use calamity days to catch up on grading and lesson plans so the statement they are paid without “working” assumes all work is done in the classroom and nowhere else. Same flawed argument that doctors only work in the examining room or lawyers in the courtroom. In fact, I bet most teachers will tell you the classroom is just the “show” and the outside preparation is key to success.

    A better approach and to not break continuity would be to use technology (i.e. social networks, etc) to have calamity day assignments. And use summer learning time for enrichment, intervention, and those shorter classes that don’t really need an entire semester.

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  • Been there

    Well, gee, yeah, take away the calamity days. Maybe some would RATHER see little kids freezing to death in sub-zero wind chills while waiting for the school bus, which is going to be late because of the weather and having to transport middle school and high school kids first. Side streets in Columbus rarely get cleared, so, yeah, put all those buses out there, and all those teachers in their cars, and just hope they make it to school. Just what our road warriors need — more traffic to work around. As if an added day or two at home, too, is going to make the teachers’ jobs any easier; it merely compounds the pressures they already face in preparing the kids for the state proficiency tests. No wonder teaching is listed in the top 10 careers with high rates of depression!

  • Anonymous

    Um, the schools can STILL cancel the days for the winter, just once you use your calamity days up, you have to make them up later.

    Seriously, if schools need to cancel due to the weather, they still can. It just means they have to make up the days later. Do we really need to give schools a flexible WEEK worth of time that they can cancel school and not make up?

  • Anonymous

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if school days have to be made up, don’t the districts have to come up with the money to open the schools and pay the staff for the extra days? Up here in the snow belt in NEOhio, three days are a joke. As much as I think the supers pull the trigger a bit too quickly when declaring school days, we can blow through those three days with one good Arctic blast of lake effect snow. We are already facing that this year and it’s only mid-December. If we get another storm or two, where is the money to pay for the makeup days going to come from?

    How can Strickland, Kasich, Kasich’s kids, or any of these people in Columbus possibly know the best arrangement for calamity days for all the districts in the state? They can’t. Let the school boards decide this issue based on their funding, local weather, and parent preference.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    HAHAHAHAHAHA this cracks me up — he doesnt understand anything–
    I say he is out to change anything that the democrats did — no matter how small
    Wonder if they had added french fries on the menu would he replace them with whole big potatoes —
    like I always say what a clown

  • Anonymous

    Since most teachers are salaried, I would expect that there shouldn’t be much of an additional cost to keep the schools open. Regardless, I’ve noticed that the schools here have gotten a lot more reasonable with their decision making already. Used to, if we got more than an inch of snow, they’d cancel the whole day. Now, they’re using delays more often.

    The school boards already DO decide the issue, but what they cannot do it take more than three days off for snow without making it up. Where do you draw the line? A month of calamity days? Two weeks? Remember the issue is how many days can a school district be allowed to cancel a scheduled school day and not be expected to make it up later. Calamity days were never intended to operate like a paid vacation benefit where you felt you should use it or lose it. And yet, that’s what a lot of districts have begun treating them as.

  • J-Dog

    for the first time in my life, I have to agree with Kay-suck. There are too many morons who are superintendents who do whatever they can to cut corners. One stupid decision not to even delay one day nearly cost my wife her life. She ended up wrapping our car around a telephone pole. It’s all well and good if you live in Columbus, but out here in the hinterlands, some teachers actually have to drive to school over 30 to 40 miles of shabbily maintained roads.

  • cbusdem

    my understanding is that many states on the east coast don’t have calamity days at all. Districts just build some extra days into their school calendars at the end of the year so that they can make up days if needed. Seems pretty reasonable.

  • ThatDeborahGirl

    Duckmonkeyman for Ohio School Board!

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