asyb has a long, multi-topic post with some really good stuff in it. I'm going to respond to it in pieces.
Look at Ms. Frizzles post on her summer planning. Imagine that she was being paid to do this planning and all the other teachers in her school were right there with her. I would guess that between them, and because there is no topic on this earth that is not connected to every other in some way, they could see to it that all 67 weeks of ideas could be fit handily into a school year if they decided this was wise. Imagine what they might do it they had the time and opportunity to mix and match across subject areas. But sadly, that does not fit our compartmentalized vision of the classroom. It surely must qualify as an alternative school idea. Not rigorous enough. Not enough structure. Parents would complain. How would we do the paperwork. The computer won’t schedule anything but forty-five minute periods or one-on-one-off block schedules. No money the computer scheduler cost too much. Read about Ms. Frizzle’s learning experience this summer and remember that she did this on her own – so she can be a better teacher. I haven’t seen anyone thank her yet.
Why don't we give teachers time to work together and plan? Because we neither respect nor trust them. As far as I'm concerned, this should be the acid test for school board members. They all claim to support teachers, but it's in planning, not salaries, that the mouth meets the vote. (NOTE: I am NOT saying ignore salaries -- just that Board discretion is limited here and that salaries are not what teachers report as most significant when surveyed. I'll leave the rest of my thinking on this for another post.)