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Running head: BALANCED CALENDAR POLICY RESEARCH

Balanced Calendar
Robert J. Harris
Central Michigan University

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Balanced Calendar: Policy Research
The typical school calendar in the United States of America includes an extended summer
vacation. The roots of the traditional school calendar in the United States can be traced back
nearly 150 years to an agrarian society (Johnson & Spradlin, 2007). Recently, the United States
remained relatively stagnant in the results from the Program for International Student
Assessment (PISA). The PISA is given every three years to 65 educational systems (Heitin,
2013). Flat longitudinal achievement scores for students in the United States suggests
imperfection in the school system. Educational researchers have quantified the loss of
educational skills and aptitude over the traditionally long summer break. The purpose of this
document is to demonstrate poor academic achievement and outdated logic in traditional school
calendars and call for the adoption of balanced calendar schedules in educational systems. The
beginning of the paper will inspect other policy instruments being proposed to increase academic
achievement in the United States. Following the inspection of other policy proposals, the costs
and benefits of single track and multi track balanced calendars will be addressed. Finally, the
democratic and larger social impact of a balanced school year will be inspected.
What is Known
The United States ranked 20th in reading, 30th in mathematics, and 23rd in science in the
results from the 2012 PISA. Furthermore, the United States had ranked 10th in reading, 24th in
mathematics, and 19th in science when the PISA was taken in 2009 (Heltin, 2013). By the PISA
metric, the educational system in the United States is losing ground internationally.
The origins of the traditional school calendar have roots in the United States as a 19thcentury agrarian society. At this time, use of students as agricultural workers was a societal norm.
Also, existing technologies did little to soothe summer temperatures. Furthermore, the use of a

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long summer recess allowed educators to supplement a lower salary scale (Johnson & Spradlin,
2007). Many foundational assumptions of the traditional school calendar are no longer valid.
Summer learning loss is the effect of fall achievement scores to be lower than spring.
Cooper, Nye, Charlton, Lindsay, and Greathouse estimated that a typical child lost a little more
than one month’s work of skill and aptitude over the summer break (1996, p. 259). In light of the
United States educational system’s shortcomings, educational policy makers have implemented
balanced calendar as a way to improve student achievement.
Solutions
The balanced calendar is one of many solutions to the relatively low level of performance
of the United States in international comparisons. Woessmann (2001) used data from 39 other
countries to analyze the impact of policy instruments on student achievement:
More specifically, having centralized exams and a large private-schooling sector seems
conducive to student performance. Generally, school autonomy seems to have a positive
impact—but only when schools are given extensive decision-making powers over the
purchase of supplies, the hiring and rewarding of teachers, and the choosing of
instructional methods. Giving schools power over designing the curriculum syllabus,
approving textbook lists, and determining the school budget seems to be detrimental to
student performance. The effect of teachers’ influence seems to depend on how it is
exercised. Students seem to benefit from their teachers’ having influence over the
curriculum, but only when they act as individuals and not as part of a union. It appears to
be better for students if teachers significantly influence the choice of supplies, but worse
if they have a strong say in the amount of material to be covered. (p. 74)

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Merit pay, local control, centralized exams, and a weakening of unions are some of the policy
instruments that correlate with improved academic performance. Other policy instruments
include personalized curriculum, pedagogy improvements, universal preschool, and Science
Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum. The findings of Woessmann are
interesting, especially in light of the present reality in the State of Michigan.
For Woessmann (2001), some policy instruments affect student performance one of
which is not increasing financial resources (p. 68). However, a general increase in spending is the
most recent policy instrument being proposed by Rick Snyder, the Governor of Michigan. The
latest budgetary proposal is “The FY2017 budget provides for a $60 to $120 per pupil foundation
allowance increase distributed through the 2x formula, at a cost of $150 million” (State Budget
Office, 2016). In light of a required 180 day school year, the $150 million dollars spent amounts
to between $0.33 and $0.66 per student per day. Based on the findings of Woessmann (2001), the
policy instrument of increased funding being pushed for at the state level in Michigan could be
allocated to greater effect in applications such as merit pay, pedagogy development, or universal
preschool.
Cost and Benefit of Balanced Calendars
A balanced school calendar is a technical intervention to improve educational
achievement. The most common manifestation of a balanced calendar is the single track 45 days
on and 15 days off model (National Association for Year Round Education, 2015). Over the
course of the last thirty years the number of year round pubic schools has increased
approximately 800% from 410 in 1985 to 3,700 in the 2011-2012 academic year (Skinner, 2014).
The most typical application of a balanced calendar is a single track model. Single track
balanced calendars utilize one school year for the building. Multi and dual track balanced
calendars are more divergent as they use different schedules and course offerings in their

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application. What follows is an overview of balanced calendar educational systems with a focus
on the single track model. A cost and benefit analysis is provided.
Single Track Balanced Calendars
Single track balanced calendars are by far the most common manifestation of balanced
school calendars in the United States. Ballinger, the emeritus director of the National Association
for Year Round Education, stated: “About 90 percent of year-round schools in the U.S. use
single-track calendars” (as cited in Smith, 2013a). A single track calendar has students and staff
follow the same calendar. According to National Association for Year Round Education (2015):
Single-track does not reduce class size, nor does it allow a school to accommodate more
students. The long summer vacation is shortened with additional vacation days
distributed throughout the school year into periods called "intersessions," which allow
time for remediation and enrichment throughout the school year. The most common types
of single-track calendars are 45-15, 60-20 and 90-30. (para. 1)
Single track balanced calendars are the most linear and typical representation of balanced
calendars in the United States.
One benefit to the single track model is a more equitable distribution of breaks
throughout the calendar year. Another advantage of the single track model is that all students,
teachers, and administrators are following the same schedule. The equitable design of the single
track balanced calendar proposes to increase student achievement by minimizing summer
learning loss and providing potential remediation opportunities for students while school is not in
session. Cooper et al., (1996) stated summer sessions give “teachers an opportunity to make
additional money and to develop professional competencies” (p. 6). Single track balanced

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calendars provide consistent learning opportunities and give teachers an opportunity to develop
as professionals or supplement their salary.
The data on student achievement in single track balanced calendar educational systems is
inconclusive. Winter (2005) stated:
Most studies reviewed here tend to identify the advantages of Modified School Year but
with some cautions about the rigour of the studies involved in some of the claims, and
with calls for further in-depth objective research into the educational benefits for all
students. (p. 410)
There is a deficit of longitudinal peer reviewed data on balanced calendars. Daneshvary &
Clauretie (1999) found economic efficiencies to be realized regarding capital and operations
spending in a study of balanced calendar schools in Clark County, Nevada. In a yet to be
published study, Superintendent was able to observe increased student achievement in
contrasting a balanced calendar and traditional calendar elementary school in the same district in
Michigan (2016). In a longitudinal peer-reviewed study of student achievement in low socioeconomic students in California, Graves (2011) found: “Single-track year-round estimates are
less clear for this group, but do suggest potential negative and significant effects for math” (p.
1295). Long run data is inconclusive for single track balanced calendars.
While the research on single track balanced calendar educational systems is inconclusive,
the costs are real. A 2013 House bill in the state of Michigan sought $10 million dollars to
retrofit buildings with technology such as air conditioning (Smith, 2013b). Patall, E., Cooper, H.
& Allen, A.B., (2010) cited other potential costs which include teacher burnout and losses to the
tourism industry in the form of student labor and demand for goods, due to school being in

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session (p. 406). While the theory behind single track balanced calendars is logical, the data can
be murky, and the associated costs are real.
Multi Track Balanced Calendars
Multi track balanced calendars are more divergent than the single track model. They are
often used to address issues of overcrowding. According to National Association for Year Round
Education (2015):
Multi-track is used to avoid double sessions, building new schools and
temporary structures. It not only saves on capital construction costs
but also on ongoing operational costs associated with adding a new
school. Multi-track divides students and teachers into groups or tracks
of approximately the same size. Each track is assigned its own
schedule. Teachers and students assigned to a particular track follow
the same schedule and are in school and on vacation at the same time.
Multi-track creates a "school-within-a-school" concept. (para. 2)
Multi track schools are designed to realize economic gains from the
avoidance of constructing new buildings as well as reducing maintenance
costs. The proposed benefit of multi track school calendars lies in serving a
larger number of students and providing a greater number of course
offerings in existing facilities. Arguments exist detailing increased teacher
utility due to greater planning and professional development time.
Multi track balanced calendar schools are not without their concerns.
Johnson and Spradlin (2007) have noted:

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Multi-track school calendars are most likely implemented to cut
educational costs through a more efficient use of school facilities and
resources. Multi- track programs may save costs, but are fraught with
logistical problems: less time for large-scale cleaning and
maintenance, burnout and fatigue from administration, and lack of
coordination with a variety of special education services (p. 6)
Multi track schools are another model of a balanced school calendar. Johnson
& Spradlin (2007) have noted "As a result of these problems, what was once
a state with the most year-round schools in the country, California will phase
out most of their year-round schools by the year 2012" (p. 6). The
documented reality in California what may be the most condemning data
point regarding the ineffectiveness of multi track balanced calendars: The
practical application of multi track balanced schedule educational systems is
less than ideal.
Democratic Responsibility
The achievement gap in socioeconomic (SES) terms and along racial lines is a real
concern in American educational systems. Braun, Chapman, & Vezzu (2010) found the
achievement gap between students from a SES perspective to be highest in Michigan (p. 22).
Furthermore, the same study found Michigan to be a laggard regarding addressing the learning
gap across Black-White racial lines (Braun, Chapman, & Vezzu. 2010, p. 39). Borman, Benson,
and Oveman have found "Parental effort to promote regular attendance in summer school,
though, did avert summer learning losses” (2005, p. 131). Summer learning loss is a significant
phenomenon that perpetuates the achievement gap (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2007). To
counter the effects of summer learning loss, educational theorists have proposed the use of a

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balanced calendar. As the transition to a balanced calendar is relatively inexpensive, educational
funding increases could be utilized more efficiently. More specifically, the use of intercessions
has the potential to address the achievement gap and provide a higher level of individualized
instruction for students of all races and SES levels.
Intercessions are a substructure in balanced calendar educational systems that address the
achievement gap, number of school days, and diversity. "Intersession is a period of time when
school is not in session, but teachers and parents can work together for remediation, enrichment,
catch up and extra help” (National Council on Teacher Quality, 2013). Intercessions would allow
teachers, students, and parents to address extension or interventions during summer recess times.
Also, intercessions drive for greater diversity through an individualized curriculum. For example,
an intercession session could consist of multiple students working with variant remediation
strategies on different skills while other students are completing extension activities to enrich an
already strong academic foundation. Furthermore, attendance during a 15 day intercession period
would increase the total number of school days for a student to 195. According to Superintendent
(2016) “Advocates are pushing further toward a 200-day school year, which would align with
Thailand, Scotland and the Netherlands, and leave us a close second with Israel, South Korea,
and Japan, who leads with a 243-day school year (s. 8)". An increased number of school days
would theoretically serve as the foundation for improving achievement at the international level.
The use of intercession sessions is consistent with the high equity and diversity standards of the
United States.
Balanced Calendar: Contemporary Politics
Providing citizens with the opportunity to better themselves through public education is a
foundational right in the United States. Laggard international performance and the achievement
gap stand in contrast to the American political ideal. Summer learning loss is a significant

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phenomenon that perpetuates the achievement gap (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2007). To
counter the effects of summer learning loss, educational theorists have proposed the use of a
balanced calendar. The most common type of year round calendar is a 45-15 single track
balanced calendar (National Association for Year Round Education, 2015). Bipartisan support in
Michigan and across the nation exists for balanced calendar legislation.
The latest piece of legislation in Michigan is House Bill 4982 (2013) that was sponsored
by Rep. Schor (D-Lansing). This bill has been funded to the sum of 3.5 million dollars during the
2013-2015 fiscal years. The bill was not financially supported during the 2015-2016 fiscal cycle
(Michigan Legislature, 2015) and is not included in the current draft of the 2016-2017 state
budget (Legislative aide, 2016). House Bill 4982 (2013) “seeks to establish the fund so districts
can outfit schools with air conditioning to allow classes to continue during what would normally
be summer vacation months” (Smith, 2015b). House Bill 4982 (2013) utilized bipartisan support
to provide millions of dollars for districts to implement balanced calendar educational systems in
Michigan.
On the national level the All Year School Study Act, S. 2029 was sponsored by Senator
Kirk (R-Illinois) to the 113th Congress in 2014. The bill was cosponsored by Senator Booker (DNJ) illustrating the bipartisan support for balanced calendar educational systems (United States
Congress, 2014). The bill sought to provide four million dollars to “carry out a multi-year pilot
program awarding four grants to states, local educational agencies, or other public entities to
establish or expand year-round education programs at public elementary or secondary schools
that focus on raising student achievement” (United States Congress, 2014). Although the All Year
School Study Act, did not make it out of the introductory stage, the bill garnered bipartisan
support and relied on achievement data from educational systems that had shown an ability to

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close the achievement gap. While bipartisan support for a balanced school calendar exists in the
state of Michigan and throughout the United States, regional economic factors often stymie
efforts to implement year round school calendars.
Regional Economic Factors
In regions where tourism is a prevalent industry, the economic impact resultant from a
balanced calendar is concerning. Primarily, the loss of labor stemming from working age
students being in school during traditional summer vacation months may affect the bottom line
of local businesses. In a similar manner, families of students on a balanced calendar will have
less time to spend on vacation. One may reasonably suppose that less time spent on vacation
would correlate to less revenue for local business. Thus, opponents of a balanced calendar in
tourism-heavy economic areas of Michigan would cite the $22.8 billion dollars visitors spent,
and the $10.6 billion dollars of income from 326,685 traveler economy jobs in 2014 ( Michigan
Businesses, 2014). Another regional economic factor comes in the form of retrofitting existing
buildings with climate technologies capable of providing a proper environment for students and
teachers during the summer months. Lastly, the culture of a region can have an impact on the
support of a balanced calendar. In DeKalb County Georgia, dual income parents struggle with
the prospects of having to provide care for their children during the nontraditional fall break
(Tagami, 2012). Regional economic factors influence consumers of a balanced calendar
educational system in both rural and urban areas. Major policy actors in the realm of year-round
school calendars seek to inform and mold policy to achieve ends acceptable to their beliefs.
Major Actors
The theory of a balanced calendar is rational regarding addressing summer learning loss
and closing the achievement gap. However, regional economic factors can drive citizens to be

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wary of the switch from a traditional school calendar to a balanced one. The National
Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE), Unions, and supporters of Charter Schools are
the principal actors in the balanced calendar debate. All three major players are loyal to their
constituents and beliefs, causing year round school policy to manifest itself differently in various
locations.
The National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE): “Strives to provide
interested stakeholders accurate and updated research regarding year-round education and the
balanced school calendar. NAYRE is committed to educational excellence through school
calendar reform” (2015). Superintendent is the Executive Director of NAYRE who cites Smith
(2012) in the indication that “two-thirds of the achievement gap in 9th grade can be attributed to
the amount of required time it takes a teacher to reteach and review what was learned prior to the
summer intermission”(p. 60). Furthermore, Superintendent (2016) feels the state is misallocating
resources to address the achievement gap when a balanced calendar could resolve the gap in a
more economically efficient manner. As the Executive Director of NAYRE, Superintendent is
working to educate leaders and the general public as to the benefits of a balanced calendar.
Unions are a major force in the formation of educational policy in the United States. The
Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015) cites that education, training, and library occupations have the
highest union participation rates in the country at over 35%. Furthermore, Strunk & Grissom
(2010) have found a positive correlation between union strength and inflexibility of policy
implementation. At the local level, the first response from the President of the local Michigan
Educational Association chapter was to cite the conflict of the tourism industry with a balanced
calendar (Union president, 2016). Unions are a major educational policy actor in the United
States due to participation and inflexibility.

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Charter Schools generally employ non-union educators and can thus be more responsive
and flexible to policy implementation. In Chicago, the Alian Locke Charter School has realized
exceptional gains in closing the achievement gap with a student population that consists of 94%
low SES students (Alian Locke Charter School, 2014). The success of Alian Locke was one of
the data points used by Senator Kirk (R-IL) do justify his introduction of the All Year School
Study Act, S. 2029 to the 113th Congress in 2014. There are instances of charter schools
employing a balanced calendar throughout rural and urban regions of Michigan.
Barriers
The economic impact of policy is an essential driver of political support. Manifestations
of balanced calendar policy proposals in Michigan House Bill 4982 (2013) and the federal All
Year School Study Act (S. 2029) have run up against funding and implementation issues. Local
economic concerns are present in the form of lost revenue, labor, and increased childcare costs.
While money spent on capital improvements such as retrofitting buildings to support a balanced
calendar educational system could support local business, the net effect remains unquantified.
Furthermore, the economic gains associated with educational achievement may take years to
manifest and often the short run incentive structure tied to the political cycle does not always
align with long run utility.
Unions are another political barrier for balanced calendar educational systems. Strunk &
Grissom (2010) have found a positive correlation between union strength and inflexibility of
policy implementation. Union participation is high in American education (Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 2015). At the local level, union leadership has expressed concerns over the synthesis of
a balanced calendar with the tourism dependent local economy. Unions at the aggregate level are

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a laggard in the adoption of policy, and local concerns further inhibit a move to a balanced
calendar.
Garnering stakeholder support is an essential component of healthy policy
implementation (Fowler, 2013). Educating stakeholders is key. Balanced calendar, intercessions,
year round school, and the shortening of summer vacation can be confusing and weary some
terms and concepts. As documented by MacDonell (2011):
In November 2010, Ann Arbor Public Schools announced in a district-wide newsletter
that it was investigating a partnership with University of Michigan’s School of Education
to turn two underperforming public schools into lab schools. A key part of the plan was
that the two buildings would become year-round schools. That year-round element
generated so much concern among parents, the district conducted a parent survey soon
after. Just a few weeks later, the district announced it would postpone the year-round
concept for at least two years. (para. 6)
Even in a community with a comparatively liberal and progressive political demographic as Ann
Arbor, year round schools were met with opposition. Educational leaders are working to educate
stakeholders throughout the state on the balanced calendar (MacDonell, 2011). Increasing
stakeholder buy-in through education and collaboration is essential for successful
implementation of balanced calendar policy.
Balanced Calendar: Policy Report Recommendations
A balanced school calendar is a technical intervention to improve educational
achievement. The purpose of this section is to argue for the adoption of policies that will increase
the use of a balanced calendar in educational systems at the local and state level. Criticisms of
the balanced calendar are addressed. Two policy instruments are suggested. The first policy

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instrument is the shift to a balanced calendar in one of four traditional elementary schools in a
Michigan school district. The other policy instrument is the funding of Michigan House Bill
4982 (2013) that made available three and a half million dollars from 2013-2015 and was not
funded on the last budget cycle nor included in the 2016-2017 proposed budget (Legislative aide,
2016). An explanation as to the temporal appropriateness of providing more balanced calendar
schools the State of Michigan is included. Lastly, a description of the process of policy
implementation is described.
Balanced Calendar
The foundations of the traditional calendar in the United States predate the telephone.
Students in the United States are falling behind internationally, and the achievement gap is real.
The United States has fewer school days in comparison to other nations. Educational theorists
propose the use of summer session or a balanced calendar to impact academic regression over
the summer months. The negative trend of academic achievement in the United States combined
with fewer school days than several other nations leads to an inspection of the calendar and
pedagogies producing these results.
Summer learning loss is the quantified phenomenon in which students regress
academically over the traditional summer recess of a traditional academic calendar (Alexander,
Entwisle, & Olson, 2007). Theoretically, it is rational to defeat summer learning loss by
removing the long summer break. However, the data on the impact of a balanced calendar on
achievement is less than clear. Superintendent (2016) has used a matched pairs approach in the to
demonstrate that summer learning loss is minimized by a balanced calendar school calendar.
Superintendent was able to capture and analyze student achievement outcomes across two
elementary schools in the same district (2016). However, Graves (2010) has found data showing
a negative relationship between balanced calendar educational systems and achievement. The

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available achievement data on balanced calendar educational systems is murky.
Multi track balanced schedules allow educational organizations the opportunity to
conserve funds by creating different groups of students and educators that can be run out of
existing buildings. Using longitudinal data from public schools in California, Graves has found
(2010):
Year-round school calendars have a larger negative impact on the lower end of the
distribution of scores. Hispanics/Latinos and low SES students experience more
significant fall in performance as a result of year-round calendars than the overall
population. Additionally, I find some evidence that African American students are also
more negatively impacted than the overall student population, especially for reading test
scores. (p. 3)
The research regarding the effects of a multi-track balanced calendar has been shown to produce
a negative impact, especially in lower SES students and this creates a contradiction in research
and the proposed theory behind balanced calendar educational systems.
Another concern with the balanced calendar is the possibility of schedule conflict
between consumers in a school system. Per Superintendent (2016) the preferred implementation
tool for year round schooling is district wide. However, a district-wide balanced calendar
application is not always applicable. One could rationally see the difficulties produced in a
family by having multiple students on multiple calendars. The existence of a schedule conflict
within families is a possibility of an educational system using a balanced calendar.
Local Policy Instrument
In the school district of the Public Schools of Baytown (PSB), there are four traditional
elementary schools. Furthermore, one singular Montessori and parochial school exist. The policy
instrument proposed in this paper is for the implementation of a balanced school calendar at one
of the four traditional elementary schools in PSB.

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PSB is located in a rural region with approximately 5,738 people where more than 90%
of residents are White (United States Census Bureau, 2015a). PBS has four traditional
elementary schools serving student through the fifth grade. For sixth grade, students’ transition to
Baytown Middle School (BMS) through eight grade at which time they begin school learning at
Baytown High School (BHS). For the 2014-2015 school year, the PSB educated 2,902 students
(MI School Data, 2016).
Of the four traditional elementary schools in the PSB, President and Native Elementary
Schools ranked in the 94th percentile for the 2013-14 academic year (MI School Data, 2016).
Sunflower Elementary ranked in the 84th percentile and Common Elementary ranked in the 67th
percentile (MI School Data, 2016). There are distinct statistical performance differences in the
local elementary schools in Baytown.
At the local level, Common Elementary ranked in the 67th percentile while the other
Elementary schools in Baytown ranked higher than the 83rd percentile (MI School Data, 2016).
The achievement gap in the primary schools in the PSB provides an excellent opportunity to use
a balanced calendar to address the disparity in educational performance. Enriching the
opportunity at the local level is the reality of the deficit of quality balanced calendar longitudinal
data. The local benefit of implementing a balanced calendar at PSB is two-fold. Primarily, the
research validates the reality of summer learning loss (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2007) and
an achievement gap between individual elementary schools in PSB (MI School Data, 2016).
Also, the murky peer reviewed longitudinal data could be addressed through a study of
performance in PSB. Dealing with the reality of a local achievement gap and the deficit of
quality peer researched data through the technical intervention of a balanced calendar could be
beneficial to the local, state, and national levels.
The implementation of a blanched calendar at Common Elementary in PSB is not without

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its concerns. The economic makeup of the region considering year round education must be
considered. In tourism-heavy economic areas of Michigan the switch to a balanced calendar may
be difficult as the economy is dependent on the $22.8 billion dollars visitors spent, and the $10.6
billion dollars of income from 326,685 traveler economy jobs in 2014 (Michigan Businesses,
2014). Also, having school in session during the summer months would limit the ability of
students to work during the day while school was open. Baytown faces these concerns as was
validated by Union president of the local chapter of the Michigan Educational Association
(MEA) who first responded to the question of a balanced calendar by stating: "I don't think that
would work well in a region so dependent on tourism" (2016). The reality of a region's economic
system impacts the school district's consideration of a balanced calendar educational system.
State Policy Instrument
In the sate of Michigan, House Bill 4892 (2013) was put into law and funded into the sum
of two million dollars in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. (Wicksall & Shapiro, 2014). Representative
Schor (D-Lansing) was the primary sponsor of the bill. Legislative aide (2016) is the legislative
aide for Representative Schor and stated that another one and a half million dollars were made
available for schools in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Legislative aide (2016) also reported that the
bill was not funded for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. House Bill 4982 (2013) provided for:
The maximum allowable grant to a single district would be $750,000. Funds could be
used for building modifications, personnel contract modifications, or other nonrecurring
costs associated with implementing a year-round instructional program. A district
receiving funds would not be required to provide more instructional days or hours than is
required of all districts under Section 101. (Wicksall & Shapiro, 2014).
The bill was designed to retrofit existing buildings with the climate technologies necessary to
support summer sessions of school. Money spent on capital improvements such as retrofitting
buildings to support a balanced calendar educational system could aid communities through the

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use of local contractors and laborers. House Bill 4982 (2103) could address raising achievement,
closing the achievement gap, and contributing to the local and state economy through the
contract work required to improve existing buildings to house educational sessions during the
summer months.
Temporal Appropriateness
There are many reasons to consider a switch balanced calendar educational systems.
From a historical perspective, the agrarian reality that drove the traditional school calendar is in
sharp contrast to the United States in 2016. As technology becomes more prevalent in world
society, logistical barriers are being removed, and the economy is increasingly global. A larger
pool of candidates for employment is one result of an international economy. Thus, the middling
performance of students in the United States with other countries (Heitin, 2013) is alarming as
more nations are competing for the same jobs.
Michigan is underperforming from an economic perspective relative to the rest of the
United States. The United States Census Bureau (2013) has ranked Michigan 29th regarding
median household income average at a level of $50,056 from its last posted data cycle, 20112013. Also, Michigan's quarterly adjusted tax revenue in the second quarter of 2015 is $222.5
billion less than the average of the fifty states and this trend has been present dating back to the
third quarter of 2009 (PEW Charitable Trusts, 2016). Furthermore, the percentage of persons age
25 or over with at least a bachelor's degree is at 25.9%, which is less than the national average of
28.8% (United States Census Bureau, 2015b). Lastly, Michigan's unemployment average has
ranked no better than 44th in the nation from 2008-2014 (Rhode Island Department of Labor and
Training, 2015). Bases on multiple economic indicators there is a call to improve the economic
prospects of Michigan. Becoming a more attractive residence locale by improving school
achievement could strengthen the pool of workers and economy. The use of a balanced calendar
has the potential to increase achievement without a heavy associated cost. The balanced calendar

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could be a useful tool in the short run in improving educational systems across the state of
Michigan.
Implementation
Driving educational systems at the state, local, and national level to commit to a balanced
calendar could increase achievement and close the achievement gap. However, a narrative exists
in the general public that would protect the traditional school calendar in the face of massive
changes to the reality of life in the United States over the course of the last 175 years. Policy
implementation should begin with the motivation of stakeholders through education and
collaboration (Fowler, 2013). Citizens need to understand many ideas including: why a balanced
calendar is being implemented, what a balanced calendar looks like, what an intercession is,
what the associated costs are. Also, Fowler (2013) details the need to gather resources.
Educational leaders can look to the community and throughout education systems to make sure
the physical and mental support exists for a successful launch. Furthermore, struggle through
early implementation should be expected, prepped for with stakeholders, and supports for staff
should be in place. Lastly, a construct for specific feedback, data, and reflection is best practice
(Fowler, 2013). Successful implementation of policy begins with stakeholder buy in and
progresses through to data driven reflection and adoption.
On the local level at the PSB, implementation of Common elementary to a balanced
calendar would begin with gathering perception and interest data. The gathering would be done
across the educational and greater community as well. After taking the temperature of the region,
a balanced calendar exploratory committee would be formed. The exploratory committee would
begin by educating stakeholders and providing opportunities for collaboration with the
community at large. Furthermore, resources would be gathered to ensure as smooth a loss as
possible could be achieved. Potential staff would be professionally developed on balanced
calendar best practice and braced for eventual hurdles to be experienced during implementation.

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Finally, a transparent, data driven feedback loop would be reflected upon, and appropriate
changes would be made.
The implementation of a balanced calendar holds the promise of increased achievement,
a reduction in the achievement gap, and even a possible economic incentive due to spending
through the retrofitting of existing buildings. Bipartisan political support exists for this policy.
Increased presence of balanced calendar educational systems will only enrich existing data from
the field and hopefully drive lasting positive change in the educational and economic systems in
Michigan and the United States.

References
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