I just read the story that The State Board of Education signed off on rule changes that would allow schools to lengthen their days to shorten their year.
From the AJC:
“The State Board of Education early today signed off on rule changes that will allow schools to change from the traditional 180-day school year, provided students still end up with the same amount of class time.” …
“The Murray County School System, located in Chatsworth, has already approved a 160-day calendar for this fall that adds an hour to each school day, but allows students to start the year after Labor Day.” …
“Dana Tofig, spokesman for the State Department of Education, said several school systems appeared interested in looking at a schedule change back when gas was over $4 a gallon.”
This decision just stuns me as a mother!
Apparently the School Board members are too old to remember their children getting off the bus exhausted!
Last year, my kindergartner fell asleep on the bus ride home every single day. My 2nd grader was completely worn out and just mentally done by the time she came home. They work so hard at school and that is a very long day for children. Adults talk all the time about work/life balance. Where is that balance for children during the school year?
Here’s is our current schedule during the school year:
7:30 a.m. – Wake up and get ready for school. This is very late for most school children.
8:15 – Catch the school bus.
8:30 to 8:50 – Math lessons before class begins. (The school really pushes letting the kids ride the school bus so they can have this extra instructional time.)
8:50 – Class officially begins.
3:20 p.m. – School gets out!
4 p.m. – Get off the bus exhausted!!!
4 to 5 p.m.- Rest and play
5 p.m. – Start homework, play when they finish
6:30 p.m. – Dinner
7:30 p.m. – Bath and bed routine
8:30 p.m. — In bed
So the state Board of Education thinks it would be appropriate for my children to get off the school bus at 5 p.m.! That is absolutely insane! Children are not going to absorb information when they are exhausted. And you are just going to have discipline problems keeping children at school too long.
And when will they fit in sports, church, activities and their homework? I don’t think they’re going to take away the homework.
I’m a big supporter of public school but bad decisions like this drive parents to private institutions where they can have more control over their child’s school day.
I actually don’t mind the idea of spreading school days around the year — as in some during the summer. I think the summer is pretty long. But I don’t think that is their goal. I think their goal is to cut school days and save money on transportation costs.
I’m sorry if schools want to save money on gas for their buses. There must be other solutions than overloading our children and making them hate going to school and hate learning! Many of the universities use alternative fuel buses. Maybe that is a gradual move the school districts could make instead of making our children suffer for those cost savings.
What do you think? Could your kids really stand being at school another hour? Would they learn during that hour or just stare at their teacher? Could it affect their like or dislike for school? What are other solutions the schools should consider to save gas money?
Clarification: Dana Tofig from the State Board sent me a note to clarify that the State Education Board just adjusted their rules to align with what the state legislature passed. (So they’re the ones that don’t see their kids get off the school bus tired! They’re also the ones that wanted to eliminate funding for school nurses. At least we got that nipped in the bud!) Here’s the clarification:
“The State Board did not make the rule change to allow for shorter years and longer days. That was done by the state legislature through HB 193. Because it is now law (signed by the Governor) the state board has to adjust their rules to align with state law.”
“Additionally, the board rule changes have not been approved yet — there has to be a 30 day public input period. However, the law is the law. Even if the state board didn’t change its rules, the law would still be in effect.”