Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why Make Up Missed Time?

Apparently parents at the Talbot Middle School are not happy about the way the school department handled a recent shutdown. The school department shut down the school to conduct air quality tests after learning some of the caulking used in the building contained PCB's.

Now I understand parents being irked by the last minute notice and by the inconvenience of it all. I don't know how long the school department has known about the caulking and if it could have been done before the school year. I would have to say I hope not because that would mean they decided to let kids attend school knowing of a potential risk, which I think would be a MUCH bigger issue. So I am going to assume that the PCB's came to light after the school opened for the year and the decision was made to be safe and not sorry. And the good news is the tests have come back and the PCB levels are well below any levels of concern. What I don't understand is the feelings of some parents quoted in the Herald News who don't believe their kids should have to make up the lost time.

Are you kidding me?!

These parents think the closing was badly handled, it's not the kids fault and they shouldn't have to make up the time.

In a city where the state school department has one hand on the "takeover" button, where drop out rates are still too high and MCAS scores are still too low their parents feel that their kids should have LESS school?

When it comes to education in this city our kids already have two strikes against them. And it's not because we have lousy teachers. (Because I don't believe that.), It's not because we have poor leadership. (Although I believe there is certainly room for improvement.) It's because we're a poor community with all the social economic problems that come from that and because we can't providing more funding to combat some of these issues.

Let me tell you something, if it were up to me I would strongly consider making EVERY school in this city an expanded day learning school, because our kids need more education not less. And parents need to stress the importance of education. When a parent basically compares education to some burden like paying the rent it sends the wrong message.

"Gee the heating system in my apartment let go and I had to move out for a week, so I shouldn't have to pay rent for that week."

"Gee they closed school for a week to make sure it was SAFE, my kid should have to make that up!"

Education is something that is NEEDED, it's essential and we shouldn't be fighting for less of it, we should be making sure our kids get everything they can from it.

"Gee the stove was broke and the appliance guy didn't fix it until 2PM.. so Johnny shouldn't have to eat lunch."

Obviously most parents would say hey we're back in business let's get some lunch together! If I were a Talbot parent I would be fighting to make sure the school department didn't throw 5 lousy half days on to the end of the year. Personally I would probably be fighting for some Saturday classes. Five Saturdays in school NOW seems better than a full week in June.

I'll bet no matter how they go about making up these days a lot of parents will just keep their kids home. And in the end, it's not the 5 absences that will have a negative effect on a child's education. It's the attitude behind them.