June 16: What's Jen Clicking on Between Newscasts?

"School's out! Oh wait.. we screwed up.

There is no better time of year to be a kid than now.  If you're not out of school already, you have a countdown going to that last bell that sets you free for the whole summer.

Teachers try to act cool about it but trust me, I know enough of them to tell you ... they're giddy for three months off too.

Summer is the rite of passage, the justification for all those long hours bent over books and math problems, broken pencil leads and snacks traded at recess.

So imagine, if you can put yourself in that 4th graders frame of mind, finding out that your school kind of screwed up on the math, and you have to stay in school until July 31?

That's what's happening at two schools in Chino, which announced they will have to keep students in class an extra 34 days to make up for an administrative mix-up.  The alternative is to lose $7million in state funding, according to this story in the LA Times.

Rolling Ridge fourth-grader Sean Cornish said the extended school year would interfere with his plans to spend time with family and swim in his family's backyard pool.

"Oh, mannnnn," said the 10-year-old, adding that the subject has been a frequent topic of conversation among his classmates. "They think it's dumb, that they have to go to school for these extra days because some lady messed up."

So, to say it simply, the kids have had enough classroom time, but got caught in a loophole that says the short days they had didn't count at all.  The story on our NBCLA.com website says "The unexpected summer session will feature extra arts, music and science and will give students a head start on next year's curriculum," but it's still a bummer for kids who would rather be outside doing nothing.


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There was a movement afoot last month to work it out so the students could make up the time next year.  A story dated May 19 on Education Now, a website for elementary schools in the Inland Empire, State Assemblyman Curt Hagman is a former Chino Hills mayor and was trying to pass emergency legislation to prevent the extended school year.

It was in the district's best interest, as well as the kids', Hagman said, because there's no guarantee kids will actually GO to the extra days.

"With proposed budget cuts to the school district, if kids don't show up to school (during the summer), the district loses (daily attendance) money on top of it," Hagman says in the article; "It's a terrible situation. I'm hoping we can help find a way to a solution."

The story on Topix.com generated some lively responses:

"I would just not send my kids to school for the rest of the time and vote out the Board members. They are ultimately responsible to the citizens of the district."  -John

"My kids attended Dickson Elementary before we moved out of state a year and a half ago. We were so fed up with how California was becoming and reading this story makes me even more glad we moved. I would be absolutely livid."  -CAR

"This is outrages!!! What about families that had planned to take vacation time with their children for a month or two and had pre-arrangements including fees that had to pay for a trip, just too cancel for this. So these Families along with the children have to pay the consequences because both schools/district were too dumb to calculate. Come on!!! CVUSD need to step up, its ridiculous." -Disappointed

"How totally unfair to the poor kids and even their parents. It seems to be not only the district/schools being unfair, but also the state itself.
Personally if the state would not reconsider their position on this, I as a parent would have to tell the district that they need to find another way to pay for THEIR mistake, it is not my problem that they screwed up and I would be ill pressed to try to explain this unfair treatment to my child." -Speechless

"What do you say to that one? The poor kids, teachers and parents. Why do they have to make up the days? I understand making up the time (minutes0, but it sounds like the district is just going for funding. F that. I'd transfer districts."  -Holy Cow

And it's just the 4th, 5th and 6th graders at Doris Dickson and Rolling Ridge Elementary schools who will have to pay up with their time.  This story has made its way to websites and blogs all over the country ... one website from Pittsburgh says one of the district's associate superintendents ("some lady," apparently) is taking responsibility for the error and plans to retire this year. 

Maybe they should make her stay after?

Editor's Note: I'll show Jen... I'm going to embed a link to her column in my story, setting off a never ending cycle of coat tail riding.

See what else Jen is clicking on...

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