Thursday, August 12, 2010

Won't You Be My Neighbor

The school district I grew up in is currently facing a crisis...

Back in 2003 or so, the State of Arkansas decided that elementary school teachers should be provided with planning time during the school day. (you can find the law here on page 3) Now, that sounds great, right (so now teachers aren't complaining about having to prep for their classes on their own time... or... something like that. I really don't know why they decided this. It doesn't make any sense to me).

Well, in order to compensate for this, the Pulaski County Special School District decided to start elementary schools 40 minutes earlier (which also doesn't make any sense... because younger children actually need more sleep than older kids). Their argument? We don't have enough buses to run separate buses for the elementary schools and the secondary schools, so we have to adjust all the bell schedules so we can still use the same buses.

Well, what they didn't realize was that if a bus is dropping elementary students off at 7:00am, little 5 and 6 year olds will be getting on the bus at 6-6:15am. Yeah. 6:00AM. Which means, if you've got a 5 year old who needs to get ready for school, chances are you're going to need to wake him/her up around 5:00AM to get him/her dressed, fed, and off to the bus stop.

Five o'clock in the morning? For a 5 and 6 year old? Are they serious?


And they have also realized how stupid they've been (they are currently "discussing the situation." But they don't have a solution yet, and school starts in a week.

Well, good luck to them.

Now you may ask "Why are they busing elementary students in the first place?"

Good question, to which I will respond with two words:

Magnet Schools

And now I will refer you to this article at Blue Oregon, written in 2005, but very very "on" for today's issue in the Pulaski County Special School District.

In Defense of Neighborhood Schools by Wendy Radmacher-Willis

What do you think about neighborhood schools? At the very least for elementary students. Should we be more focused on things like math, the arts, science, technology, dance, languages, etc? Or more focused on the values, relationship skills, and other life skills our children will learn by growing up in a strong community?