Tuesday, December 23, 2008

more evidence on the "tyranny of the (education) monopoly"

As I have documented often, there are concerns with quality, cost and choice when one deals with a government-run entity that has tremendous monopoly power.

Here's Antoinette Konz in the C-J on an example of attenuated choice: year-round school vs. traditional school years. I understand Berman's choice, given that so few schools remain on year-round. But it also points to the limited choice provided by the government monopoly. Presumably, many people would like something other than 9 months of 8 AM - 3 PM, whether year-round or 8-5 or something else.

Launched 14 years ago to boost student achievement, the once-popular year-round schools will likely become of thing of the past soon in Jefferson County Public Schools.

Four of the district's six remaining year-round schools -- Dixie, Rangeland, Breckinridge-Franklin and Roosevelt-Perry -- have recently decided to return to the traditional school calendar for 2009-10, saying the year-round calendar is too costly to maintain.

That leaves Jacob Elementary and Liberty High on the year-round schedule, and Superintendent Sheldon Berman says he wants them back on a traditional calendar, too.

"I don't believe having a year-round calendar is the most effective system out there," he told board members at a budget work session Wednesday night.

Berman said that returning all schools to the traditional calendar will save the district approximately $400,000 in transportation and professional development costs, which is why he has included it as one of 53 proposed cuts to make up for an expected $45 million budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1.

Students at the district's year-round schools attend classes for 45 days, followed by 10 days off....

Across Kentucky, there are about 180 schools offering a year-round calendar, according to California's National Association of Year-Round Education.

The association's Web site says it focuses on reorganizing the school year to provide more continuous learning by replacing the long summer vacation with shorter, more frequent breaks....


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