Monday, February 03, 2014

Is There A Good Answer?

If there is it might include getting off that stupid "quarter" system and going to semesters, like real schools do :-)

From the major Sacramento newspaper:
An online petition posted by a UC Davis student on Jan. 22 has obtained more than 27,000 signatures from students UC-wide opposing a change in the academic calendar that shortens next year’s winter break from three weeks to two.

The change, resulting from a UC policy to accommodate major religious holidays, has sparked discussion among students about the tight constraints of the quarter system and what role religion should play in determining the school schedule.
You don't want religion to determine the school schedule?  Enjoy being in class on Christmas!  What?  What's that you say?  You don't like this because it's the Jewish holidays that are being accommodated?  Oh, well it's ok to be against the Joooooooos, I guess.  That multi-culti stuff doesn't apply to Jews, white people, or men.
The petition, which is unaffiliated with student government, is addressed to UC President Janet Napolitano. Written by UC Davis student Alfredo Amaya, the petition asks that the start of the 2014-15 winter quarter be shifted from Jan. 5 to 12, allowing the fall start date to still accommodate the High Holy Days while maintaining the three-week winter break. In just the first two days after Amaya posted the petition on his Facebook page, 24,000 students signed it...

Changing the 2014-15 calendar to accommodate the petitioners’ demands would only push next fall’s start a week later and re-create the same problem, because the summer quarter cannot be shortened. Adjusting next year’s dates would also disturb events and conferences with contractual obligations...

The UC system adopted the quarter system in 1965 to accommodate a bulge in enrollment, but UC Berkeley switched back to semesters in 1983. The system’s newest school, UC Merced, also adopted the semester model. UC Davis debated switching to semesters in 1997, but efforts to do so failed.

Current students have mixed feelings about the quarter system, said Sandstrom, because it disqualifies them from many summer internships and jobs, since school doesn’t get out until mid-June. At UC Berkeley, by comparison, the fall semester in 2014 will last from Aug. 28 to Dec. 19. Instruction for the spring semester will begin Jan. 20, 2015, and end May 15. Students also get a weeklong spring break. 
Why do they start classes so late at Davis?

Read more here:
Next fall, most UC students will start school on Sept. 29, a week later than last year, to allow Jewish students to observe Rosh Hashanah from Sept. 24 to 26. Those students can move in after the holiday and attend the first day of instruction on Oct. 2 before observing Yom Kippur from Oct. 3 to 4.

The UC policy mandating that no move-in day conflict with a major religious holiday has been in place since 2007, but this is the first time the dates have conflicted with Jewish holidays, which follow a lunar calendar. The policy was last invoked in 2009, when the move-in dates for the two UC semester schools were adjusted for students observing Ramadan.
I'm curious if there was a big whoop-te-doo when Ramadan was involved.  Just sayin'.

Update:  I like to think that my regular readers, as well as any newcomers with even a modicum of intelligence, are smart enough to recognize that my supposedly anti-Jewish comments above were in fact a dig at anti-Semites.  That assumption of mine was wrong in one case, so I'll clear it up here.

Read more here:

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maxutils said...

To the quarter system, at UCD ... I hope not being a "real school" was a joke... there are valid reasons for doing quarters rather than semesters ... you may not agree with them, but that's why we get to choose which school we go to. Going to UCD, which, like most "real schools" is very hard to get in to, solves the problem of not being able to graduate in 4 years by giving you more opportunities to get in to the courses you need to one additional time per year ... I would gladly trade (and did) that for a slightly longer summer break, and the occasional 2 week break at Christmas ... which did not happen once when I was there. I would actually prefer a longer summer/fall to an extra week in the winter. It's the same number of class hours, it's the same number of units ... but I got through 2 majors in 4 years, despite having to work really hard to get in to certain classes. Having semesters doesn't make a school 'real', having a quality educational experience does. And UCD did.

maxutils said...

Before I last posted, I had not read the Bee story about the schedule change for UCD ... I since have. I would like to point out a couple of things: the people complaining about this are obviously not Jewish ... who, if truly observant, could not undertake moving in on Rosh Hashanah. It also is a compromise in that it accommodates Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays ... and, it's a rare occurrence. What's the only burden? Switching weeks students get off. And, the article noted that this is the first year it has been a problem ... which coincides with the fact that the first night of Hanukkah was also Thanksgiving this year. Nationally observed holidays are going to continue to be ...we need not worry about class being held on Christmas. Or New Years ... this was a reasonable nod to a relatively large group, at little or no cost. I see no problem.