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LAUSD adopts earlier academic calendar

A controversial plan to begin the academic year two weeks earlier for Los Angeles schools passed Tuesday.

December 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A controversial plan to begin the academic year two weeks earlier for Los Angeles schools passed Tuesday.The early-calendar start passed by a vote of 6 to 1, and will begin districtwide in the 2011-2012 school year, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

All single-track elementary, middle and high schools will begin on Aug. 15 and end on June 1. Traditionally, the school year has started immediately following Labor Day.

As part of a test run for the proposal, 18 LAUSD schools began operating under the advanced schedule this year.

School district officials said the earlier schedule would be beneficial for students since they would finish their first semester and be done with their final exams before winter break.

The proposal does not add extra school days - the academic year is just moved up by 15 days.

Officials also said the advanced calendar would give teachers more time to cover more material, which would better prepare students for the California High School Exit Exam and Advanced Placement tests.

"I think it's good education. Having been a teacher, I understand what happens when you end school and the semester is not over and then you come back and restart again," said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

Cortines also said he supports the new calendar because it reflects the schedules of colleges and universities.

"This is not something that's just been sprung on people. I have talked to all the principals several times for the last two years and this is a recommendation that came from them," he added. "I'm making the recommendation. I'm standing by it. It came from the field of educators."

Opponents of the proposal say that starting school in mid-August would cause problems at schools that have little or no air conditioning - especially for campuses in the San Fernando Valley.

Cortines said that most of the schools in the district have air conditioning and with more funding, all schools will be equipped with air conditioning by 2013.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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