Students Oppose Schedule Change
Cartersville High School students began an online petition and Facebook page in hopes of remaining on a block schedule.
A group of Cartersville High School students have taken to the Web in opposition to a change system administrators say will better prepare students and save money.
Cartersville City Schools Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse more than two weeks ago told Cartersville Patch the change is necessary due to the state's adoption of common core curiculum and new performance measures set to take effect in 2014. He said the move from a four-by-four block schedule to a traditional six- or seven-period plan would give students more instructional time over the course of a school year.
At least 53 people have signed an online petition started by the students and in disagreement with the proposed change. In addition, at least 78 people "like" the group's Facebook page, "Save Our Schedule," which urges parents to attend the meeting in opposition.
Among the students' concerns are juniors who may fail to meet graduation or college-entrance requirements.
Junior Carter Brown said classmates who planned to take two foreign language classes during their senior year are in a state of panic.
"I believe that those of us that have not taken a foreign language will be either taking a summer class or taking a class after school in the spring semester, but I am unsure," he said in an email to Cartersville Patch.
Students fear the problem could prohibit seniors next year from participating in graduation ceremonies.
"[The change would] cut out seven-plus teachers, and destroy some chances for students to walk at graduation," said Cassi Tibbetts. "This has been met with great complaint from students, parents and faculty alike. However, these complaints fall on deaf ears...."
Another hardship, students said, could be an increased amount of homework with more core classes at one time. Currently, students normally take two core classes and two electives each semester.
"Seven classes of homework will lower the grades of the average student, but think of the athletic students who are required to stay until 7 p.m. at practice," Brown said. "Those students will either A) lose sleep, B) drop grades, C) perform poorly in their sports or D) all of the above."
The majority of those yearlong classes would be core curiculum, students said, which could mean less electives from which to choose. Students are especially concerned an already "limited" arts program would dwindle.
"Students are going insane at this ludicrous claim of how much better it will be and how change is 'hard,'" said Jessica Branton. "Change happens all the time, but it is the good kind of change that should happen. Students [are] screaming for petitions, teachers are scared to death of losing their jobs and for what? Yearlong classes? Better reading skills? Ask someone, take stand and realize what this school is asking."
System administrators have said they believe normal attrition would achieve expense cuts necessitated by higher insurance premiums for classified employees. In other words, they don't expect teacher layoffs.
More than 1,000 students attend Cartersville High, which employs about 65 faculty members.
For the full opinions of Brown, Branton and other students, visit "Save Our Schedule" on Facebook.