Poll parents on start of school year
By TIM WEST firstname.lastname@example.org September 15, 2012 11:02PM
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:18AM
Not having any kids or grandkids in District 203 schools, I’m not entirely sure I should be expressing an opinion on when the school year should start. Maybe I should leave this to the parents whose lives are affected by what day their youngsters have to go back. After all, my only skin in the game is if on what day the school year starts affects my property taxes, and I don’t see how that would be the case. It’s the same number of days in the school year in any event.
On the other hand having an opinion that will hack off some folks while pleasing others is what they pay me for, so in my typical roundabout way of getting to the point, here goes.
As I’ve been reading The Sun’s coverage of the current flap, I’ve been trying to recall from when I was a child walking five miles a day barefoot to a one-room school that was built by hand by the townsfolk (just kidding) on what date we back to school each fall.
I have in mind that it was either just before or just after Labor Day, and that most likely it was just after.
All I remember distinctly was that my stomach always hurt on the first day of the new school year, no matter if it was elementary school, junior high, high, or college.
The trepidation had eased off a lot by graduate school, where the learning was not so much new territory to be conquered but familiar territory to be expanded. All the graduate school weekend beer parties helped ease the pain, too.
When I was in high school, which I detested, one of my classmates once remarked “These are the best days of your life.” I didn’t respond, but I remember thinking “If that’s the case, take me now, Lord!”
So I guess as a kid if I had been asked when I wanted school to start, I would have answered “Never” and urged my parents to vote the same way.
I think as to a start date for District 203’s year, I’d probably agree with the folks who signed the petition for a later start date, but also unless there is some valid reason this decision has to be made immediately, I’d ask the district to try to poll as near as 100 percent of the parental population as it can and see what the majority wants and then do that.
After all the parents and the kids are essentially the client base of the school district and it ought to do its best to accommodate their needs and wants, or have better reasons than I’ve seen so far why it is not possible to just go ahead and start the year later if that’s indeed what the majority of parents and students prefer.
As Sun columnist Bill Mego pointed out on this page last Wednesday, there are family times that are more important than a few days of school.
As for starting the year later, there was a very good point made by one person that a lot of activities such as family reunions may occur late in the summer.
The argument that has been made is that it is better to have August off and go later into June. This is by the folks that like hot days better than rainy ones, as at least hot is more conducive to outdoor activities.
Obviously, not everyone is going to agree, but I’d rather see a parents’ vote play a determinate factor in this than the district ignoring the polls and the expressions of sentiment it’s already received and letting the board and the administrators decide.