Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home


Good to Great: A Commitment to Using Time Differently

Posted: 2005-03-02

Below is the text of Dr. John Hodge Jones' address to the 36th Annual National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE) Conference in San Diego California on Feb. 5-9, 2005. Dr. Jones is the former chair of the National Education Commission on Time and Learning and is a former school superintendent and member of the school board in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. But first some background is in order. This commentary is by Billee Bussard, indefatigable researcher on issues surrounding year-round schooling.

Billee Bussard

Wait long enough and wolves in sheep?s clothing will reveal themselves. So it is with one of the prime promoters of the year-round school calendar, a school reform that sounds innocent and benign, but in fact fits in with the larger self-serving corporate agenda.

Dr. John Hodge Jones, the same man who chaired the federally funded Prisoner?s of Time studies (released in 1994), urges calendar change at all costs in his keynote speech at the annual convention of the National Association For Year-Round Education (Feb. 5-9). Jones? end-justifies-the means approach includes pounding opponents hard and using, among other things, bait-and-switch tactics to shove school calendar change down the throat of a community.

Jones, a former superintendent of Murfreesboro, Tenn., schools, is also the man who said in a Tennessee newspaper interview that kids should go to school in shifts like factory workers (which no doubt was an attempt to accommodate Japanese and other car makers that had moved to Tennessee, including one near his school district.).

The Prisoner?s of Time study recommended a longer school year but failed to provide an all-out endorsement of the year-round school calendar. Nevertheless, the report prominently featured a number of ?model? year-round schools, nearly all of which have since returned to a traditional school calendar.

Despite recommendations for a longer school year pushed in that study and by the Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs from financially and politically powerful corporations, the year-round school movement was stagnant as it entered the new millennium. A big setback for calendar change agents was damning testimony in the Williams vs. California lawsuit, which cited the year-round calendar among the education detriments disproportionately imposed on minority children. California has housed the lion?s share of year-round schools, but an out-of-court settlement includes moving schools to a more traditional school year.

The February 2005 speech by Jones, who now sits on the NAYRE board, is frightening for all the things it says between the lines and how in fits the larger corporate trend of demanding longer workdays and workweeks--moves all designed to limit the number of jobs, lower wages and avoid costs of paying health and other benefits incurred to expand a workforce.

The following is Jones?s speech, with comments inserted to provide background and perspective on the implications of school calendar change, a move that fragments the school year, shortens the summer break and limits opportunities for family leisure and childhood learning experiences outside the school walls.

Jones concludes by implying that God Himself has mandated that he save us all from our own stupidity.

A Tennessee parent who read Jones speech had this to say:

?We are still dealing with the John Hodge Jones legacy. It all started in 1994 with Cason Lane Academy, a school that was supposed to seal JHJ's place in history, but ultimately helped lead to his downfall as Superintendent of the Murfreesboro City Schools. The man is incredible. He is trying to sell some of the same crap that started him on his path to the exit as superintendent:

1. Flex time - Teachers had flex time at Cason Lane. It was discovered that mid-day assistants were manning some of the classrooms during the mandated school day while certified teachers were present at the optional I-OPT program. A big No-No. Flex time was trashed.

2. No busing - Cason Lane was a "choice school" and no transportation was provided. This resulted in lower income families not even bothering to apply for admission since they knew there was no way they could get their children to the place. The socioeconomic balance was so out of whack it was pathetic, and it still is. After about 2 years, a very respected former educator and minority advocate screamed bloody murder and buses to Cason Lane appeared. Too little, too late. though.

3. Site-based financial management - I believe there was trouble here. One board member started asking the tough questions about financial management and JHJ acted as if he were sitting on a well-heated branding iron. I enjoyed watching him squirm. Site-based financial management went the way of flextime and no buses and soon afterward our buddy was heading for the door. In my opinion, his resignation landed just ahead of the axe falling, but we'll never know for sure.

After reading all of JHJ's plans, it seems to me it would be easier to just have parents birth the children, get them out of diapers and then hand them over to the school system until they're 18. It seems that the concept that children are a part of a family is being pushed farther and farther away.

My hands start curling into fists whenever I think of the man.

Good to Great
A Commitment to Using Time Differently


Your presence at this conference indicates you are professionally good. Do you want to be great? Do you want to be a time reformer? Do you want to advance a balanced school calendar emphasizing academic, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth for all children? Do you want to stamp your professional image upon time and eternity? If so, I want to lead you this morning in the direction from Good to Great! Jim Collins, in his book with this same title states, ?Good is the enemy of great. He also ask, ?Why should we want to make it great, isn?t success enough?? He further states, ?With this attitude you?re probably engaged in the wrong line of work.?

Together, let?s create a futuristic model, not a Utopian model, or a never-never land model. But as a matter of expediency, let?s develop a practical, workable and financially feasible model that can be implemented in most school districts across our nation. I do want you to go home with an achievable dream and pursue it with all of your vision, strength, and persistence. If you are diligent you can change from good to great and turn your school and or district into an education lighthouse for our nation?s schools.

Problems with Our Current Time Model
Before we get to the strategies let?s ask, ?What?s wrong with our current calendar and school day?? There is much that can be said that is good. I?m not here to bash K-12 education, but the good can become better, the better best and the best great! Again, Collins suggests that we must confront the brutal facts and these facts are as follows.

Little attention has been given to time reform. No one is more disappointed than I since I chaired the National Education Commission on Time and Learning. The Commission conducted a thorough study. We held twenty-two meetings and hearings across the USA, Germany, and Japan. Some of educations most recognized leaders and researchers, including NAYRE, testified. Other business and community leaders contributed to our study. There were numerous site visits made by all or some of the commissioners. The Commission made its report, Prisoners of Time, to representatives of Congress and the Executive Branch in May, 1994. More than 50,000 copies of the report were distributed throughout the USA. The report had some positive impact but, impatient me, I can?t wait another 50 years to see its full results.

In 1993 at this conference, I referred to my growing up days on the farm. Nostalgia brings back many memories but I still see the agricultural school calendar and school day as the prevailing time model. Yet the world is quite different with multiple changes in our society. Isn?t it strange that we?ve not made time changes in education to match changes in society? Isn?t it strange that the clock and calendar still drive learning rather than learning driving the clock and calendar? The Prisoners of Time report stated, ?The current school day and year should be relocated to a museum and become an artifact of our education past.? How long will we allow our children?s lack of readiness at any grade level to set off a downward spiral of frustration and failure? How long will it take us to utilize all of our resources for the growth and development of all children?

What are some specifics that reflect the lack of attention given to Time Reform? These are the brutal facts!

1. All levels of government - national, state and local - have failed to address the issue of time as a systematic whole. When time is addressed, it appears in tangential projects. Also, the standards movement has done nothing to create a new time environment that could allow goal attainment. Accountability and assessment assume all minds can grow to full maturity at the same pace and in the same climate.

2. I have also observed that attitudes of ?professionals? in our schools are not changing; there is much evidence that time is designed and used for the convenience of ?professionals? rather than the learning needs and welfare of children. Many districts experience an ?ex-superintendent/ principal virus? which erodes any progress made in time reform when changes in leadership occur. Many times this is caused by the vested interest of those of us in the profession.

3. Tradition remains a strong barrier against time changes as indicated by the fact that charters, vouchers, independent and private schools, and site based schools have done little to implement fundamental time reform. One loud protestor at any governing level squelches the best ideas of ?mice and men.?

4. Large monetary investments are being made in school facilities, campuses, athletic facilities, equipment, materials and especially technology, but utility, accountability and different approaches to teaching, learning, and scheduling are slow to change. Time is rarely made for FULL student involvement in after school activities, including sports; but competitive athletics, participated in by a few, remains the dominant driving force in most communities. Did you notice recently where one area of our country is building $25 million dollar football stadiums for high schools?

5. Research and what we know about how the brain learns and the framework for learning are largely ignored. Time is used inefficiently at the beginning and ending of each school year. The last three weeks are spent ?closing down,? while the first six weeks are used to review and ?get acquainted.? Little, if any new learning is taking place during those nine weeks.

6. Reliance on grants is an illusion and may be counterproductive. Project continuation and replication are not sustainable based on one-time revenue sources. Better utility of current resources and sustainable funding coupled with strong, creative leadership are lacking. We will address this point in depth when we discuss funding.

Note below the clever strategy to get the public to buy into school calendar change. Make it appear schools are doing parents a favor by being opened year-round and for longer hours. Overworked parents will be receptive to this idea as the business sector demands more from workers, including longer workdays and workweeks. Opening the schools year-round as a ?reliable? child care provider will actually make it easier for industry extend the workday and workweek.

7. Little effort is made to bring all youth services under one roof in order to provide well-coordinated academic, enrichment, athletic, and recreational activities for children. We have turned the fun things over to other agencies. No wonder so many children ?hate school.? In spite of taxpayer protest against an increase in taxes, there appears to be little awareness that schools could be more efficient and serviceable by developing schedules that fit with the home and workplace.

These observations may sound extremely harsh, critical, and at best cynical. Nevertheless, they are realistic. We cannot yet say ?Mission Accomplished!?

The section that follows is the most insightful?and frightening?because it shows how year-round school fits into the overall school reform marketing scheme that will result in children being robbed of their few precious childhood years and time with parents, especially working parents.

Jones offers school calendar change as a cure-all that will meet the needs of:

? ?all learners,? as if school time on task is a one-size-fits-all solution.

? ?the home,? which in actuality will be in shambles because of the overtime demands from employers.

? ?the workplace,? which will be able to demand more of its workers, perhaps half of them parents, because schools will take care of them.

? ?society in general??you just can?t have all those latchkey kids running he streets while their parents are working 12-hour days.

The Goal
Let?s get to our goal and build a feasible model for Time Reform?a model which meets the needs of ALL learners, the home, the workplace, and society in general.

The Model
Let?s look at the model. Don?t get excited about how it may affect you and how it can be implemented. We will discuss this later. The following may vary slightly from state to state or district to district but it illustrates a reasonable model to meet our goal.

No matter how he tries to disguise it, these extended hours essentially offer free childcare via the public school so employers can demand working parents put in longer days. Let?s call the longer school days what they are: childcare.

The School Day

1. Provide 6:00-8:00 early morning educational activities for children whose parents choose this time.

2. From 8:00AM? 3:00 PM continue to meet the state?s minimal time requirements.

3. From 3:00 PM-5:00 in the afternoon provide extensive recreational, academic, enrichment, vocational and other support services.

4. And, from 5:00 PM-7:00 PM continue all services mentioned on a smaller scale. The School Year

Love the bait-and-switch advice here: make incremental moves to a year-round then switch them. First, get your foot in the door one way or another. Get the schools to open year-round with summer programs, even if a traditional schedule remains in place. Later you can use strong-arm tactics and just tell communities year-round school ?IS? going to happen, like it or not.

Provide an additional 16 weeks of learning time during summer and school breaks for recreational and educational purposes. This can best be done with a year round or alternative calendar but can also be accommodated with a traditional calendar. Don?t allow the issue of year round education to stall your reform efforts because it can come later or visa versa.

This scenario calls for a 6 AM to 7 PM day, 5 days a week, and 52 weeks a year. In essence, the school is available for educational, recreational, and in loco parentis services all day and all year.
Now here?s an idea of the nightmare that will follow school calendar change: Schools will be open weekends and into the week hours year-round assuring industry can snap its fingers any time it want to call parents into work because they can dump kids at school on the way to the factory/office.

Won?t it be lovely? ?Just in time workers? to go with other ?just in time? strategies that are geared for maximizing profits at the great expense to everyone but the industry power elite. My question is if the Japanese like Jones? ideas so well, why haven?t they adopted this schedule and why are they now trying to emulate the traditional schedule American public schools use?

Second Shift and Week End Schools
It may also be feasible and in the realm of reality to provide a second shift school (3:30 PM--1:00 AM) to match parent?s work schedules when they work the second shift. Your model may also include a week end school to match parent?s Saturday and Sunday work. Children should sleep when parents sleep, play when parents play, and be at school when parents are at work. I suggested this model at a hearing in Japan. After a small Japanese group discussed in their language for fifteen minutes they stated through our interpreter ?we fully agree with you and furthermore you should come over and be our Minister of Education.? Remember our goal?to match the needs of the learner, the home, and the workplace.
Here is the scheme:
Call it one thing (Call the model comprehensive time reform.... ?reform terminology may meet less resistance?) while knowing the objective is entirely different. Recall, this is the man who headed the Prisoner?s of Time study that never once mentioned American workers put in a longer wor week than any of their industrial competitors.

Model Implementation
How can the model be implemented with minimal political, parental, and societal resistance? How do we meet the objection that it cost too much, that we can?t afford it?

But first, remember the following advice.

1. Call the model comprehensive time reform. While an alternative school calendar or year round education will likely be a major component, reform terminology may meet less resistance. A little hope is on the horizon. A recent editorial in i>Education Week confirmed this point by stating that ?rethinking time will be the next frontier of educational reform.? Of course our own organization, NAYRE, for decades has been a leader.

2. Address other time issues. Time on task, block schedules, classroom interferences, and classroom and school procedures need to be revisited and analyzed so that time wasters can be eradicated. Many see time reform only in this box, but the heart of school time reform relates to additional or extended time.
Notice how advice item No. 3 works with school ?choice? rhetoric, which has been used so effectively to undermine public education. As if to say public school provides parents no ?choice? and that all those hundreds of failed charter schools that popped up under the ?choice? banner were a smart choice. Jones says to get the school board to proclaim a new time schedule that will give parents ?choice.? Once again, an incremental step that is a precursor for a larger corporate time-stealing scheme.

3. Market the additional services. It is also important to stress that additional time outside of the traditional school day is a matter of choice and not compulsory. Your state?s minimum hours and days will continue to be the minimum time required. It would be wise for local boards to declare a 6 AM to 7 PM school day, 260 days a year, and allow parents and students to choose the time they will attend in order to meet the minimum state requirements.

4. Use every minute for educational purposes. Do not use the word, childcare! One role of the school has always been and will always be ?in loco parentis.? The school is an educational institution and education is its purpose.

Subhead should read: Defeating the Enemy
Minimal Resistance
Notice how Jones attempts to minimize the huge resistance year-round school has encountered by defining the enemy (in this case, parents and educators), much the same way the right has successfully defeated the leadership on the left by labeling them, defining them and vilifying them to minimize them.

Then notice how Jones demands calendar change agents abandon the democratic process and become dictators. You WILL tell parents and teachers ?it?s going to be done,? like it or not. "Get out the boxing gloves? and just pound objectors into the ground," he says.

Who does Jones think he is, Saddam? W-43. Oh, I forget this is all about war and stealing a precious commodity: Time.

Now, let?s look at the minimal resistance.
I believe that we have been highly negligent and timid in our own leadership. We have failed to step forward and say, ?It?s going to be done.? We have not taken advantage of the important roles related to power, prestige, and influence given to us. This is true whether you are a teacher, principal, district office person, superintendent or board member. Let?s stop making excuses and compensating for our own weaknesses by blaming politicians, parents, children, and the bureaucracy. Let?s get out of the box, put on the boxing gloves, and move from good to great!

So now he admits it. School reform is all about ?social engineering.? And when the arm-twisting and democratic process doesn?t work for you, use force.

I am suggesting bring about change by aggressive, strong, and dynamic leadership. I was asked by NAYRE to emphasize today a leadership model to bring about time reform. Obviously, it is the easiest model to implement. For too long we have neglected this model. We?ve spent our time on social engineering, committees, work circles, surveys, and arm twisting when we could have said it is going to be done. Many have been successful with social engineering and by no means am I suggesting that such a procedure be disbanded. He is admitting here that the giant IS parent and educator resistance, and they must be brought down one way or another.

But if you can pull off strong and dynamic leadership change, go for it! Simply announce what is going to be done. You may be the David that brings down the giant!
Here Jones defines the most probable battle grounds:

? overcrowded schools.

? areas supportive of school choice, likely places with high minority populations and strong school voucher sentiment.

? school districts in financial crisis, which is almost all of them in these days of high-cost, high-stakes testing and accountability.

? The new wave of schools?charters, choice, privately managed schools, etc.?that need a hook to attract parents. Most of these new schools, in fact, have a miserable. Performance track record, including those that use a year-round calendar.

Now there are conditions which make strong leadership workable, feasible, and realistic. I?m convinced that most, if not all, school districts have at least some of these conditions.

1.) The first and most important condition is CHOICE. I?m not referring to the normal political and emotionally charged notions of choice but a controlled choice based on the appeal of time reform-- how it can better serve children, parents, teachers, and other school employees. Choice can best work when a district is growing in enrollment and new schools are needed.

2.) Strong and dynamic leadership will also work where schools or districts are in crisis and drastic action is needed from boards, superintendents, and principals to address the crisis.

3.) Also, creative leadership will work in private, charter, and for profit schools where marketing their programs are important.
We have been successful in marketing the magnet schools based on curriculum reform. Why not market time reform schools whether public, private, charter, or for profit based on matching time with the needs of those whom we serve?

When offering time reform schools, its program and calendar need to be set up first in order for parents, teachers, and other personnel to know what they have signed up for this eliminates most resistance. At this point, a strong supportive parent/teacher advisory council is imperative. Of course, the principal must buy in and possess ownership and be excited over the journey from good to great.
Now here?s the real clincher: The plan to finance their calendar scheme. Well, mainly by robbing from the already drained instructional budget and from parents.

I just love the way Jones keeps comparing the operation of schools to the operation of businesses, as if the ?human capital? in industry (the adults who work there) and the ?human capital? in schools (the little children who learn there) are one and the same and have he same needs and requirements. Jones says, for example: ?What private competitive industry or business could make a profit or stay in business if all employees came to work at 8 AM, closed at 3 PM. ....what private business or industry could remain competitive if it used capital investments like we use our schools??

Can we achieve our goal of matching the school to the needs of the learner, the home, and the workplace? Don?t forget, we are talking about a 6 AM to 7 PM day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and may be evening and weekend schools without significant increases to taxpayers. We can do it. Let?s look at some financial factors and how they contribute to our goal. Some of these changes are difficult, but I know they can be made!

1. First and probably most important is to place all teachers and staff on flex time while maintaining the annual total time employed. Most support staff and specialists will work from 11 AM to 5 PM 220 days per year. In case of high schools, most vocational and elective courses can be offered in early mornings or late afternoons. Doesn?t this make good sense? It doesn?t take a rocket scientist to explain the efficiency of this move. What private competitive industry or business could make a profit or stay in business if all employees came to work at 8 AM, closed at 3 PM, and were open only nine months a year with frequent half-days? Are not the benefits to flex time obvious?

2. Next, utilize capital investment more efficiently. Most boards and superintendents are proud of new buildings, campuses, athletic fields, and investments in equipment, especially technology. Does it make sense to leave these investments idle much of the day and year? Again, what private business or industry could remain competitive if it used capital investments like we use our schools?

3. Also, set up school based fiscal management and divert some positions to other services. Elaine, my wife, and I see some schools that have more specialists, counselors, coordinators, academic coaches, facilitators, assistants, consultants, and exemplary or distinguished educators than regular classroom teachers, all working in the confines of the 8:00 AM-3 PM, 9 month school year. Don?t forget the regular classroom teachers?the academic burden is largely on their shoulders. We have a real challenge in training them, getting the most from their skills, and arranging schedules conducive to their health, energy and joy of teaching.
Jones wants to eliminate school bus transportation and shift the costs to parents. That really ought to help the working poor, who often don?t even have reliable cars to even get them to work, let along get their kids to school.

4. Another financial factor is that choice schools can lead to the elimination of school bus transportation. Divert money saved to extended school time. My home district spends nearly $8 million dollars on pupil transportation. It has 31,000 students, and less than half ride the bus on any given day. Students are walking, parents are lining up at schools to deliver and pick up their children, high school parking lots are full (and most of the student automobiles are newer and nicer than those the teachers drive), and thousands of parents are driving near the school when going to and from work. We must reevaluate the need for pupil transportation. In fact, many schools and districts do not need public pupil transportation. Transportation is the ?tail wagging the dog? and is a major barrier to time reform.

5. Utilize what parents are willing to pay for school age child care is an overlooked financial resource. We are in the business of education, not child care, but we need to be resourceful and talk about extended educational and recreational services. This is a revenue source we have allowed others to capture. The school is, by law, in loco parentis?we must plan and operate smarter. I knew one school that enrolled one half of its 900 students from 3:00-5:00 PM for one dollar per hour resulting in $900 per day collected from parents. Besides the financial benefits, parents developed ownership in the program and made daily contact with the school and its personnel.

6. Even though we have given too much to too many for too long and received too little in return, there are still some who truly need assistance. There are child care benefits available for parents who can not make fee or tuition payments. These include your human resource agencies, federal, state and local grants, business and industry support.
Once again, the schemers will tap into federal funds to finance and sustain their scheme so the corporate sector can steal time from American families, children and workers.

7. Another source of funding is realized by moving existing categorical compensatory programs such as most Title funds, Reading First, and CSR to additional time.
Suggestion No. 8 sure fits neatly into other corporate orchestrated education reform plans that would replace teachers with paraprofessionals, the reasons of which are a whole other story about the corporate money of those who want to privatize public education.

8. Other resources may include increasing the utilization of qualified non-certificated personnel on a part time basis. This could include college students, parents, high school seniors, and independent contractors. Integrate other community services such as parks and recreation, youth sports, and various clubs and service organizations into the school program.

Advantages of this Practical and Workable Model
Why is this a practical model? Will it move our schools from good to great? Look again at its advantages.

1. This model allows parents to choose the school time which best meets their work, sleep, and recreational needs thus supporting family values.

2. It develops an environment that encourages the joy of learning, new and creative teaching strategies, and academic, social, physical and spiritual growth for all children.

3. It maximizes the utility invested in school facilities and equipment.

4. It utilizes efficient investment in human resources.

5. It gives all children the opportunity to participate in athletic and other interscholastic activities.

6. It provides a large block of uninterrupted core academic instructional time through flex time for teachers.

7. It eliminates the supplant problem caused by special and support personnel through flex time for teachers.
What item No. 8 will really do is enable the arts to be removed from schools, making them an option for only the children of parents who can pay for additional instruction. Forget poor kids getting arts education.

8. It provides increased opportunities in music, art, drama, and real life skills.

9. It encourages other educational innovations and sets the stage for more open minds within the educational and public sectors.
Of course, Jones has no hard evidence to back his claim, below, that a year-round calendar increases achievement.

10. It increases academic achievement of all students.

11. It enhances public support for education.

Summary and Charge

The Summary
In summary, I want each of us to be challenged to go forth from this conference determined to move K-l2 education from good to great.

1. We?ve stated a reachable goal. I know because I?ve seen most of it implemented.

2. We?ve discussed why time reform has not been on anyone?s major agenda? for the most part it is more of the same.

3. We?ve set forth a model which should meet only minimal resistance and could be implemented without significant tax increases.

4. And, we?ve stated some obvious benefits.
Don?t you just love this analogy, the subliminal message: year-round school supporters will become wealthy just like the investor of the grocery cart.

Education in America needs a new environment. When I was a child my mother did her grocery shopping at the country store. Mr. Dorris would take her order from the list, walk to his shelves, pull the item, lay it on the counter, record the price, and proceed with the next item. In the late 30?s the grocery cart was invented and the inventor became wealthy. But more important, it revolutionized grocery shopping. The point is, education needs a new basket. Only when we revolutionize the school day and year will we see real education reform in America?s schools.

The Charge
The charge is yours and yours alone. A little plaque on the wall at home states ?I wondered why somebody didn?t do something, and then I realized that I am somebody.?

You will meet some resistance, hopefully as we?ve pointed out it will be minimal. There will be those who will say it can?t be done. . . its against the law, regulations prohibit it, certification requirements are not met, unions will block, and some will demand immediate positive test data. Others will become jealous because you will get a great deal of positive attention.
Note the admission below: Politicians?governors, state legislators?and members of the local Chamber of Commerce (the local arm of the Business Roundtable) will be your best, ?your greatest? allies. They are the ones who will make this unpopular plan acceptable, popular, by their mere endorsement. So why are their kids in a private school that uses a traditional calendar?

Obviously, you need to be prepared for resistance. Governors and state legislators should become your greatest allies in circumventing the more difficult objections. Form other alliances. This may include the local Chamber of Commerce, parents, church groups, media, and others. It will not take long for the model to become politically popular and others will follow.

But charge on. ?The credit in life does not go to the critic who stands on the sidelines and points out where the strong stumble, but rather the real credit in life goes to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face may be marred by sweat and dust, who knows great enthusiasm and great devotion and learns to spend himself in a worthy cause, who, at best if he wins, knows the thrill of high achievement and, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that in life his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.? Theodore Roosevelt
The small minds Jones refers to below are, of course, anyone who uses their brain to question the merits of school calendar change.

And, charge on. ?The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.?
Jones ends this remarkable piece by saying his fervor for school calendar change is some kind of divine calling. When all else fails, as school calendar change efforts have failed in the decade since the Prisoner?s of Time report pushed for calendar change, then claim you are on a mission from God to change the school calendar. Indeed, remarkable!

Two years ago, January 21, 2003, I had major heart surgery in Nashville, Tennessee. Experiencing good health all my life, never giving much thought to my own mortality, it was a major shock when the cardiologist told me, ?you have the surgery or die.? Learning that 5 percent did not make it through surgery-?I wanted to know if the 19 preceding me had made it! 1/20 is 5 per cent. I was scared! I began to look back over time and wondered what my legacy would be. I promised the Eternal One that if He let me live, I would try to do a better job. He did his part, and in my feeble, humble way, I am trying to do my part.

Recall that Ann Grooms, referred to below, is the one who organized the very first year-round school conference in Arkansas back in 1969, a meeting whose featured speaker from the Kettering Foundation claims in a handwritten letter that he never attended that meeting. Was the keynote speaker at that meeting an impersonator, an imposter, an archangel? Only God knows.

When Dr. Ann Grooms, an icon of Year Round Education, phoned me stating NAYRE was emphasizing total time reform and asked me to present at this conference, it occurred that this was my opportunity to give to my chosen profession. Mine is a small role?yours is the big one.

?To every man there comes a time in his life, that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unwilling for the work which would be his finest hour.? Winston Churchill
Yes, you, too, will wear a halo for supporting year-round school.

You are prepared and I trust you are willing to go home, seize the moment, and move your schools from good to great. In doing so, you will also be crowned with a great legacy and achieve your finest hour.


Collins, Jim, Good to Great. New York, Harper Business, 2001.
Keith, Kent M., Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments. New York, Penguin Putnam Inc., 2001.
Prisoners of Time, A Report by the National Education Commission on Time and Learning, Petersborough, NH, Reprinted by Crystal Springs Books and Staff Development for Educators, 2000.
The speech can be accessed at
the NAYRE website

More Commentaries

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.