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Educators List Many Four Term School Troubles

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The disadvantages outweigh the advantages. This is the succinct appraisal of most educators and administrators of the "quarterly" plan of 12-month school operations proposed recently for Ann Arbor by School Trustee William C. Godfrey. According to the professional educators, a large number of problems have been found to be associated with the quarterly plan throughout the years. To back up this point of view, they point to a host of cities and towns which have initiated - and then abandoned - the fourquarter plan since 1904, when it was first put into operation in Bluffton, Ind.. These places include Bluffton and Gary, Ind.; Mason City Ia.; Eveleth, Minn.; Omaha Neb.; Newark, N. .J; Albuquer que.JN. M.; Ardmore and Tulsa Ma., Nashville, Tenn.; Amarilo and El Paso, Tex., and Ambridge and Aliquippa, Pa. The problems most often mentioned: parental opposition, administrative confusión and increased costs instead of expected economies. The parental opposition has stemmed from the fact that children would be home from school for 12 - week vacations during unconventional seasons of the year. (According to Godfrey's "quarterly" plan, each child would spend approximately the same amount of time as under the traditional n i n emonth year, but vacation periods would be staggered, and only one-quarter of the students would have their vacations during the snmmer quarter. The rest would vacation during the spring, fall and winter.) In Aliquippa, Pa., "the out standing disadvantage of the all-year school wasthe refusa of the public to accept the plan. Vlany families claimed th a t ;heir vacation plans v e r e ruined," said one Aliquippa official. (Proponents of the quarterly plan, on the other hand, argue ;hat one of its advantages is that vacations can be scheduled during the less hectic "off seasons" of the year. They also contend that different types of family vacations can be scheduled, such as trips to the south in the winter or to the north for winter sports.) Concerning administrative confusión, a 1964 National Education Association report found that "the burden of administration and supervisión is greatly increased; a complete rescheduling is required four times a year and additional records of vacation periods for each student must be kept. Equalizec enrollments, balanced staff and Eunctional curriculum aresome of the other administrativell problems." Possible increased costs constitute perhaps the most surprising p r o b 1 e m mentioned, since economy is usually listedl as a big advantage of the sys-l tem by its backers. According to the NEA and Dther studies, however, the cost of operating an all-year school is often greater than the cost of constructing and operating a nine or 10-month school. Why? Because maintenance of the school plant becomes more difficult with the schools constantly in operation, forcing cleaning at night or on weekends, at overtime pay. Maintenance costs also necessarily increasè since the schools are in steady use, along with increased replacement of textbooks and other materials because of constant use, the studies show. Increased teachers' salaries,! and the cost of air-conditiomng the schools for summer use also might offset any economies realized by year-'round schools, according to these studies. A number of other disadvantages have also been listed in the 1964 NEA study in a 1960 report of the American Association of School Administrators, and in a report given to the trustees last week by Dr. Ray E. Kehoe of the University's Bureau of School Services: I 1) The división of the student body into four e q u a 1 parts would be difficult to achieve. 2) A 1 1 e n d anee boundaries would have to be changed, and children transported from other schools, in order to keep all schools full and operating at top efficiency. 3) Summer academie and recreation programs, as well as camping, scouting and summer vacation activites, would have to bft cancelled for all but oner quarter of the students. 4) Teachers might not be able to adjust to the strain of teaching 240 days per year, with no long vacation periods and with no time for additional college courses or travel. 5) The coordination of extracurricular activites would become very difficult with onequarter of the students out of school each quarter. For example, what about a football player whose vacation is sclïeuled for the fall quarter? 6) Juvenile delinquency could be increased unless community facüities and services were opened to the students whose vacation was during the fall, winter and spring quarters. 7) It would be difficult to adust pupil transfers from outside the school dstrict and for pupils on the quarterly plan to transfer to a nine-month school district. 8) In-service training and spe cial activities for teachers would be difficult to schedule. 9) Married women who teach might leave the profession if they are unable to be at home with their families during the summer. 10) If the four-quarter plan is tried and abandoned, how will future school sites be acquired if the land was already bought during the time of experimentation? 11) Many students f i n d it more difficult to study in the summertime, even if the school buildings are air-conditioned. 12) Truancy might increase since the one-fourth of the pupils on vacation often tend to influence those in school to "skip" classes for various activities. In short, most professional educators seem to feel that, of all four types of all-year plans (the other three will be detailed tomorrow), the ter plan presents the most obstacles. Or, in the words of the NEA report, "regular school on a ... rotating four-quarter plan has been tried and has proven to be more disadvantageous than advantageous." This appraisal does not mean, however, that all cities have found the four-quarter plan to be a complete failure. Aliquippa, Pa., for instance, found the plan was economical, but abandoned it largely because of parental opposition to. the unseasonal vacations. D e s p i t e the ' disadvantages which have been listed, however, interest in the four-quarter plan has been increasing lately as school boards and administrators attempt to find a way to make Mier use of school building and school personnel. As mentioned in the second article of this series, for example, the four-quarter plan will begin this fall in Atlanta, Ga.