Give Parents a (Winter) Break


Teacher training is great but who's looking after their students?

Yesterday's proposal by legislators to cut the school week to four days has still got me raging. Damon Agnos wrote an excellent post yesterday explaining why this makes no sense for the majority of us parents. What he neglected to point out is that the schedule as it is already makes no sense.

Exhibit A: the first three months of this year in Seattle Public Schools. Winter break continued into the first two days of January, and a holiday for Martin Luther King Day followed a couple weeks later. Fair enough, everybody should have the holidays off, even if a lot of parents don't get MLK day off. But then, just a week after that, there's another day off for "a day between semesters," which is baffling since it appears that the first semester ends with winter break, which is when we get report cards. In the middle of the following week, schools let out two hours early for teachers' "professional development" (this happens continually).

And here's the real doozy: a week long break in the middle of February ("mid-winter break, which is distinguished from "winter break" how?), followed just a month and a half later by a week long "spring break."

Give parents a break. We've long since passed the day when moms could be counted on to be on hand to pick up their kids no matter when schools chose to take time off. There's a lot of moms and dads out there scrambling every time one of these breaks and early dismissals come up and the solutions, if they can find it, usually cost money. Legislators shouldn't be cutting the school schedule, they should be adding to it.

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