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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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More conversations about the school calendar

Uploaded: Feb 5, 2015

Interesting that in the same week Pleasanton school trustees continued their retreat from a new calendar, San Ramon Valley trustees voted to go in the other direction.
The Pleasanton school district announced this week that it has a tentative agreement with the teachers' union to return to a traditional calendar. Classes would start Aug. 25 and finish June 10 next year.
The revised calendar reflects action of the trustees who rescinded the decision of the former board to adopt a new calendar that started classes earlier in August so the first semester will finish before the Christmas holidays. Finishing the first semester before the holidays is clearly the best option educationally—it leaves nothing hanging for students and/or teachers over the two-week break. Check out the number of institutions of higher learning that stretch the first semester or quarter over Christmas—I dare so it is close to none.
Notably, the same week that the Pleasanton district announced its return to its former calendar, San Ramon Valley trustees agreed to start the "conversation" about shifting its calendar to finish the first semester before the holidays. Perhaps the leaders of that district have reached across the county line to talk with Pleasanton folks, but my experience with school folks over many years has shown that the county line is a much bigger barrier to communication than it is for the city officials who share freeways, roads, water supplies and other issues that encourage cooperation.
San Ramon's move to discuss the same changes that Pleasanton adopted and then backed off from is the right move. Here's hoping the engagement strategies for both are done more effectively so this area can move out of the agrarian era into the tech era.

Have you shopped for eggs lately? The roosters have come home. Ouch
Prices have soared because costs for ranchers have soared now that a 2008 animal rights initiative and legislation that followed are in full effect. The initiative specified the size of cages for laying hens. It's the classic case of seemingly well-intentioned actions imposing conditions upon the ranchers actually producing the eggs that send costs soaring.
The Wall Street Journal reported in an editorial Jan. 26 that prices have soared from $1.18 a dozen to $3.16 for a dozen eggs. When I walked through Raley's on Super Bowl Sunday, I saw prices that had soared beyond that.
The initiative-imposed requirements nearly double the size of a cage for a hen with an estimated cost of $40 per hen. That's a $2 million hit for a farm with 50,000 hens. Most of the egg industry is consolidated into large, family-owned operations.
Egg production, according to the Journal, has dropped 23 percent in two years in California, while, even given the immense size of the California market, out-of-state producers are choosing to ignore this state. Perhaps, over time, the market will balance out, but it's clear that we will be paying much more for what is arguably one of the best foods for all of us.
Sadly, the same goes for energy policy in this state where politicians embrace the green viewpoint without regard to the economic costs—that have human costs as well.
For a struggling Central Valley family, tripling the cost of a dozen eggs will send the mom looking for a different source of protein.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Voice of Reason, a resident of Downtown,
on Feb 12, 2015 at 7:46 am

There is a simple solution to the calendar debate that would satisfy those who wish the first semester to end in December and those who wish to preserve the overall length of summer vacation. ADOPT the PALO ALTO calendar, which does both of these things:

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