Flex time impedes class time

I am responding to the Sept. 21 letter written by Debra Galteland titled, “Cathcart Elementary: Flex time play works well.” She states that she is in favor of flex time at Cathcart Elementary. This is the schedule that has been in place for the past six years. Students are sent home at 1 p.m. every Friday so that teachers can have additional planning time.

Ms. Galteland states, however, that teachers are using this release time to “take care of personal appointments.” As a taxpayer, I resent having public dollars squandered this way. Sick leave and personal leave is currently provided by the SEA contract to deal with this. How can this planning time be effective if the teachers are not at school?

Flex time was supposed to enhance student learning. How can students learn if they are not in school? A look at test scores on the district web site shows that in reading, Cathcart third graders are the lowest in the district. This should be reason enough to restore Cathcart to full-time instruction.

The superintendent has stated that he will not solely use test scores in determining if flex time should be discontinued. Currently, the state relies heavily on ITBS and WASL test scores in order to identify success and failure of teaching programs. Snohomish should do the same. Doesn’t the district have an obligation to fix what obviously is not working?

The district motto is “We place the student at the center of all decisions.” If this is true, then please let Cathcart students attend school full-time. They cannot afford to lose another minute of classroom time.


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