Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Wake County Board of Education Three-Ring Circus

The circus was in town, in Cary, last week. Not the Ringling Bros. extravaganza, sans elephants, but the Wake County Board of Education spectacle with lots of elephants in the room. The Board met several times to determine make-up days for all the school missed due to weather such as wind, rain, snow, ice, sleet, and gloom of night. And, the result was more entertaining and disappointing as a circus can be. This was a high-wire act that looked and felt more dangerous than needed.

First there was a decision to dock the students two Saturdays and Good Friday to make up three days lost. The reasoning was two-fold: 1) not to encroach on Spring Break; and, 2) not to extend the year which at best is like putting one more ornament on a Christmas tree already overloaded. It does nothing to enhance the tree; adding days at the end of the year could be accomplished by hiring baby-sitters. No teacher teaches and no student learns in days added at the end. “It’s the least disruptive,” explained Christine Kushner, school board chair of using Saturdays and Good Friday.

But, using Saturdays and Good Friday met with the usual resistance for all the wrong reasons. Protesting parents didn’t like the idea of a six-day work week for students, though Saturdays for students usually includes some kind of work, maybe not the book type. And, then there was the objection from the righteous group of parents who think going to school on a special day in the Christian Church is wrong. One said, “Good Friday is a sacred religious observance for my family. My children will not be in attendance.” Question: How many of those who protested the Good Friday selection are two-fers, those who only go to church twice a year—Christmas and Easter? Fact: Parents objecting to Good Friday because they had already planned a getaway three-day weekend can get an excused absence for religious observance without a note from their preacher.

The uproar over Saturdays and Good Friday as make-up days must have hit home with the Board of Education, so the ringmaster and the other circus performers met Saturday and changed their minds without thought of offering refunds on circus tickets already purchased. The Board scratched the first plan and then dipped into the holiest of holidays for Wake County Schools, taking three days away from Spring Break! So now the screaming begins about canceling plans made long ago to take Johnny and Susie to Disney World or to the beach or some other destination the week of March 23-27. The first three days, they’re scheduled to be in school.

Let’s face it; the Board of Education is in a no-win situation when it comes to making up missed days due to weather. But, as far as entertaining like a circus, that group is on target, maybe without the elephants, but with plenty of elephant dung for everyone.
-------------------- word of the day
chronometer (noun) [kruh-nom-i-ter]: a timepiece or timing device with a special mechanism for ensuring and adjusting its accuracy, for use in determining longitude at sea or for any purpose where very exact measurements of time is required

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