I think the Sylvan district and its teachers union are on the right track. ("Sylvan talks to parents," Feb. 7, Page B-3). "Quarterbacking" our curriculum and instruction can only serve to improve the education provided to our students. However, the plans being discussed have two serious flaws:
The plan that seems to have the most traction for the elementary schools is "shifting time." Simply put, in this plan time is accumulated by increasing instructional time about 15 minutes four days a week and then using the accumulated hour on the fifth day for collaboration. This amounts to an increase of only 15 minutes per day for teachers. Remembering that the contract-defined teachers' day is a maximum of 310 minutes (5 hours,10 minutes) and that the teachers are contractually required to spend such additional time as is necessary to carry out professional responsibilities, why hasn't a professional learning community plan simply been implemented?
Officials state the importance of collaboration across the grade levels. So where is the Modesto High School District in this conversation? Development of coordinated curriculum and teaching strategies for K-8 students is inadequate. This process should include the full K-12 public educational process.