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District 88 'circling the wagons?'

February 15, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

District 88's decision on the four-day week schedule feels like "circling the wagons," often the beginning of the end. I've never seen an entity starve itself to success; however, I have witnessed strapped organizations prioritize and perform to prosperity.

The major result, reduction of a teacher's student days by 10 per year (-6 percent) and increasing their professional development by 10 days each year (+183 percent) and the disruption of the local cultural five-day work/study week, is not justified by the meager savings ($110,000 or about 1 percent of budget) stated. If savings were the intent, a real four-day week (four days for everybody, 20 percent of budget) should have been seriously considered. The use of the extra 10 days of non-student contact touts projected benefits that will probably vary from professional to professional as in the fall MEA meetings.

Reducing expectations is not the answer - improving the outcomes are. Bold, audacious actions are needed to inspire the District to higher performance, along with the courage to insist on changes that hinder results. Perhaps longer days AND keeping a five-day schedule is what's needed to ratchet up results, attaining exclusive status, not just enough to get by.

Resources will follow results, and vice versa. Public education is too critical to our kids, our community and our local economy to accept less than the very best.

Roger D. Ryberg

New Ulm



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