Saturday, August 11, 2012
Why school should not start August 10th.
Look at this picture. Isn't it great? My daughters got off the bus on their first day of school and Anna was running toward me. Running! I was so happy. I just knew she was running toward me so excited to tell me all about her first day of school. She must have really missed me, right? Sophia was walking slowly - older and less excited I thought. Then as they neared me, I thought I was going to have this incredible moment where we exchanged a huge hug while they told me all about their day. Instead, Anna kept running and Sophia walked right on by. They went right past me and into the front door. I couldn't believe it!
Then when I asked what they were doing, they said they were incredibly hot and thirsty. You see, the bus doesn't have air conditioning, and it is August in Kansas. And yes, I was the good mom who remembered to pack a water bottle in the morning for the girls. But, when you pack a water bottle at 7:30am, it doesn't usually stay cold until 4pm when the girls are on the bus. So they were desperate. They were pink-cheeked from being so hot on the bus. And yes, we only live a couple of miles from the school, but the bus makes the rounds to the other elementary schools before dropping kids off, so they are on the bus almost an hour before getting home (20 minutes later than last year).
So, my number one reason why school should not start August 10th in Kansas is the heat. It is always hot in Kansas in August. Usually 100+, but luckily this week we got a huge break and it was only in the 90's. Total cool front for us! Yes the schools have A/C, but the busses don't. And the kids are on the bus for a long time. Would you want to sit three to a seat with no A/C for an hour holding or wearing a bakpack? Maybe we should encourage our school board members and superintendent to give it a try for a week. I'm guessing we'd have a policy change pretty quickly! Maybe parents should try it out. Then we might be a little more vocal about the best interests of our kids!
And it's not just the buses. The kids are on the playground a lot. And some of them are just too young to be expected to make the best decisions for themselves like sitting in the shade instead of running, climbing, and hanging from the monkey bars. They come inside sweaty, pink-cheeked and desperate for water.
Along with the best interests of the kids, comes the best interests of the tax payers. It costs a lot to run the A/Cs in all the school building. We are all seeing that in our electric bills. Can you imagine what the school district's bills look like in August? Yikes!
Now, I do understand all the logistical reasons why we start school so early. I know that high school teachers like the semeseter to end before Christmas. It's easier for testing purposes not to have a two week break right before the end of the semester. And, for early graduates who are starting college classes, it's easier logistically as well. But, frankly, proportionally, I don't think that affects the majority of students. I could be wrong there. But I think the financial costs of running the A/C in August and the physical well-being of the younger students would off-set the benefit of starting August 10th.
Plus, selfishly, I'd love a few more weeks of summer with my kids. We were so busy we didn't have any time to squeeze in a vacation this year. Definatly not the school district's fault, we're just busy people. But I could have used two more weeks! This was the first year ever that I actually considered home schooling just so I could make the schedule that would be best for my kids. I really did think about it.
Anyone else out there wish we started later? Maybe it's just me!