Wet Slush Cancels School

Jim writes: The holiday continues for Albemarle County school children. What is the argument for Spring Break? Will the kids be able to make up these days? A colleague argued yesterday that because public school is “free,” then the system has to accomodate everybody. Is it right to allow children to stay home, rather than face a wee bit of adversity in getting to school?

What amazes me is that, in every year in memory, there are more snow days than expected, and school officials are scrambling to figure out what to do, come spring. You’d think they’d see a pattern emerging.

36 thoughts on “Wet Slush Cancels School”

  1. I am actually surpise that in today’s world we have holidays for Christmas and Easter. Especially, when we must enforce the seperation of chruch and state. I say BAN Christmas break and Easter break. We need to get rid of any references to this in the schools.

  2. Anyone who has to deal with county or city officials on a more than passing basis quickly comes to realize these folks feel very little responsibility to perform. This is what I have been saying for years: the system is broken.

    What amazes me is that every American will fiercely defend notions such as capitalism by stating the system works because it depends on natural human emotions: people who work harder and are smarter deserve more than lazy-ass or stupid people. But how is this philosophy applied to Ĺ of our economy? Local government officials, for instance, have zero REAL incentive to perform. All they need is seniority to get higher wages.

    We used to teach ethical behavior way back when and things tended to work anyway. But today, itís ďeveryone for themselvesĒ. So if schools under-perform, they cite crap like a need for higher pay rather than new methods for making employees ACCOUNTABLE.

    My world is an environment where I can prosper only if I work hard and be judicious about things. Nothing is just handed to me. Teachers and government officials, on the other hand, feel *entitled* to an easy workday which they may very well just cancel when itís convenient to them.

  3. Pardon me if your comment is intended to be sarcastic, but I feel compelled to reply.

    The separation of church and state is intended to make sure that the state doesn’t institute a "church of america" or require people to pay taxes to any such religious organization. Recognizing that many people spend Christmas and Easter with family in no way infringes on your right to work by yourself or chant an atheist saying.

  4. The only reason we have Spring Break in the public is for Easter. I am just saying that we must rid any reference or favortism to any Christian holiday. Why do we have a Spring Break? Let us get rid of that holiday. Just like what is the point of having a Christmas break in the school? I am being serious. It is unfair for those who do not celebrate those holidays.

    I say boo hoo for the students who lose Spring Break due to the snow. It is a religious holiday to start out with.

    I am also in favor of getting rid of the summer holiday. What is the point? Back in the day, the kids had to have the summer off to help on the farm. The kids nowadays are the lazyists of any american generation in history. Symipator is right, people who teachers ONLY work 2/3 of the year anyways. If they want a raise, I say force them to work like the rest of us.

  5. Holidays and breaks used to be about religious events and, indeed, the summer break was to allow a majority of farm-raised children to help out during the harvesting season.

    Today, all school breaks are mostly commercial events: Christmas is all about buying stuff, even Easter is now just an occasion to spend money.

    But I want to be clear: I am in no way against the teacher profession’s extensive time off. I think people have the right to choose a profession that has tons of time off. In fact, it’s ideal for parents with young children!

    What I object to, is that they still want to be paid on 12 months of work! And from one lopsided thinking comes loads of others, such as becoming bureaucratic jerks and all that lovely attitude…

  6. Sympatico writes: What I object to, is that they still want to be paid on 12 months of work!

    Here’s your link . . .

  7. I’m curious how you would apply for-profit ideas to remedy the ills of public education you mention here and in the other thread.

    (E.g. How do you make a phys. ed. teacher ‘accountable’ for kids being able to climb to the top of the rope? What is the performance metric you would apply to special ed. teachers? Or principals?)

  8. Fact is, we’re wimpy southerners who absolutely can’t deal with a little bad weather. Schools further north don’t get the day off for weather like this- if they did, they’d rarely make it to school at all. I don’t believe anyone here was given the day off from work today (unless you happen to work to Albemarle County Schools); most people are expected to find ways of getting to their jobs even when the commute can be difficult. If buses can’t safely get up into the "hollers" of Albemarle County, little Johnny should be able to find other arrangements to get to school. There’s no reason to keep everyone else home. It’s all because officials are afraid to be sued.

  9. Waldo:>>>>>"What amazes me is that, in every year in memory, there are more snow days than expected, and school officials are scrambling to figure out what to do, come spring. You’d think they’d see a pattern emerging."<<<<<<

    School officials` first comment is usually "but the families have made plans for Spring Break" (just wait, that will appear in the Progress – I betcha!)

    and use that as partial justification for not making up time for which they have been paid and theoretically, at least, they have lost hours which should have been devoted to completion of the student learning cycle (if that is what it is).

    Family plans should have no play in consideration of extending the school year. The families, at least those interested in getting an education for their children, should resent this consideration by the school officials. A matter of priorites. Rather hypocritical, don`t you think ,to scream about lack of proper schooloing in one breath and in the next scream about making up lost hours instead of losing vacation time? What a country! – or rather what an attitude –

    Parent` biggest gripe about snow days is they must find a sitter, or in the case of older kids, worry about where they are during snow days.I hear little about the loss of "learning time" only the inconvenience to the parents.

  10. For two years, my mother was the head librarian at the school I attended in New Jersey (The Pingry School, Martinsville, NJ), a faculty position. She was given a choice, to be paid over the nine months school was in session, or over twelve months, which is what she opted for. There was no difference in pay. By selecting the latter option, her paychecks were smaller, but it was better than having the revenue stream suddenly dry up in the summer. Granted, this was a private school in New Jersey, but I also know of the same system being implemented in New Jersey public schools and at private schools in Maryland and Virgina, so I can’t see why there should be any difference for Virginia public schools.

  11. I doubt that school is ever cancelled because it’s "convenient" for school officials to do so.

    I have often been surprised that school was cancelled in Charlottesville only to later find out that some smaller residential streets were utterly impassable. And in larger jurisdictions, there is much more to consider. In Nelson County, for example, 29 and even 6 might be clear, but the very treacherous 800 might be impassable, making it impossible for me to get very far from my house. More than once have we literally slid down a hill. That only involves our own personal safety, not the safety of other people’s children.

    Furthermore, it could be completely clear near my house, but the higher elevations in the western part of the county could be too dangerous to drive a bus. Keeping school open would put the western kids at an academic disadvantage to those who could make it to school.

    Another good example. About a month ago, every public school in Rhode Island was closed because it was extremely cold, wind chill at -30. This decision was criticized. When New Hampshire had similar weather a week later, Goffstown did not close school. When the middle school was evacuated because of a small kitchen fire, several dozen kids were treated on the scene for frostbite, and eight more were transported to a hospital for frostbite.

    The point? Chances are there are going to be no fires, and chances are a bus full of children isn’t going to slip and roll down a hill, but it’s better not to take the chance.

  12. This is what I’m saying: there’s total confusion out there. It’s not , which is a technicality to help accounting-impaired teachers not spend all their money in 9 months and have nothing for the 3 others!

    It’s simply if a teacher in Albemarle makes around $40,000 per year, after 10 years seniority, working around 9 months out of 12, they’re getting paid an equivalent of (40 x 12) / 9 = that’s over $53,000 per year! Now if the teacher chooses 3 months of vacation, then the teacher gets “only” $40,000 and loads of time off. However, the teacher can choose to work during the holidays (at something else) and make more. At the rate they’re paid at school, that would be an additional $13,000.

    Granted, work during holidays is not guaranteed by the school system, but teachers do have the freedom to either work or not. It’s really pretty cool and an interesting proposition for them. But what I resent, are teachers complaining they aren’t paid enough, when it’s simply that they choose to have loads of time off. In fact, they have this choice many people would love to have.

    As a sidenote, how much does a teacher make per hour equivalent? Well, between $21 per hour for a 1st year teach to over $40 per hour for a teach near retirement. That’s not too bad for folks who’ve had such great job security and so much time off!

    2003 – 1st year 2003 – most exper.

    38 38 weeks

    40 40 hrs per week

    1520 1520 hrs per year

    $32,200.00 $61,000.00 gross pay per year

    $21.18 $40.13 pay per hour

  13. Let me ‘simpatico’ with you here: granted, let’s not take any risks.

    …but what about the rest of the population? How about gas station attendants? Food store clerks? Bank tellers? Hospital workers? Don’t they have the same road conditions to contend with?

    I mean, it’s not like the kids are driving themselves (except for the last 2 grades in high-school maybe). Can’t the freekin’ buses have chain or snow tires?

    The point? There are no personal consequences to school employees for being lackadaisical. There are consequences for most other people. This is not an equitable situation.

  14. That’s silly! You cannot measure a teacher’s effectiveness by an end-result without having a proper measure of the starting data. Duh!

    School systems are patently poorly organized from an operational standpoint. For me to prove it to you would be a waste of my time, as it is obvious. In fact, there have been many experiments around the world, including the U.S., where schools have been privatized, yielding both better academic scores and far lesser costs. So the point needs not be proven.

    Plus I gave you an example of how even greater savings and betterments could be achieved: create a state-wide compensation and hiring system to alleviate school districts of a very hefty administration overhead. Eventually, it could even be made national. Superintendents and their personnel could be parted with. Let the school principals deal with state-wide rules and regulations. There’s no need for every damn county to be sued over gay symbols…

    There’s so much ‘economies of scale’ to be realized.

  15. When it is impossible for us to drive down the mountain we live on, then my mother also doesn’t make it to work. Plenty of people don’t make it to work when there’s bad weather.

    And furthermore, the reason I am able to see the aforementioned impassable road conditions (impassable for a bus, anyway), is that I could barely manuever those turns in a compact car. And I’ve been on city busses that can barely make those turns in perfect conditions.

    I’ve also experienced firsthand what can happen to a bus in bad weather, albeit a city bus. In Providence last December 5th, I was on a bus about half an hour after light snow started. There was no more than an eigth of an inch on the ground, but the bus got stuck while going down a not too steep hill. It was going no where. I had to get out and walk. If I hadn’t been with several friends, I would not have left the bus, as this was in a very bad neighborhood… gangs, drugs, periodic shootings and the like.

    If this had been a school bus, and if the snow had started two hours earlier it may well have been, you would probably have had kids stuck in a bus in a high crime neighborhood. Not a good thing. Even in bad weather, city busses and school busses do not have snow tires. If they haven’t done this in Rhode Island, chances are it can’t be done for some reason.

    And there are consequences for school employees. Often, even though classes are cancelled, employees are required to come in (because they don’t rely on bus transportation). And if more than a few days are cancelled, they are made up either by extending the year or by eliminating holidays, both of which we have seen in the region lately. A high school teacher in Verona I know is already looking forward to an extended year.

  16. Parent` biggest gripe about snow days is they must find a sitter, or in the case of older kids, worry about where they are during snow days.I hear little about the loss of “learning time” only the inconvenience to the parents

    If you’ve ever been responsible for young children and you had to work, you’d know it is certainly more than just an inconvenience. It can be very hard to handle, if not impossible at times. A good parent doesn’t just drop off their 5 year old to any old daycare center they can find. Some of the better ones are already full, or have minimum stay requirements, or a 100 different obstacles. Non-parents (or those that don’t really parent) never seem to understand this.

  17. >>>>>If you’ve ever been responsible for young children and you had to work, you’d know it is certainly more than just an inconvenience. It can be very hard to handle, if not impossible at times. A good parent doesn’t just drop off their 5 year old to any old daycare center they can find. Some of the better ones are already full, or have minimum stay requirements, or a 100 different obstacles. Non-parents (or those that don’t really parent) never seem to understand this.<<<<<

    I have reared children (they turned out well). I had sense enough to know there would be times when they couldn`t go to school (other events besides snow) and I made arrangements far in advance. It cost me a little but the peace of mind was worth it.I did this as a single Dad and never once griped about the schools closing other than to think they probably shouldn`t. I understood it was my responsibility to rear the children- and mine alone – not the schools. Every parent should understand this. >>>>>Non-parents (or those that don’t really parent) never seem to understand this)<<<<<<<<<your words.

    Of course all this was before society started to think it was the schools` job to rear the kids.

  18. dkachur, an “extended year” as you say is not really consequential. Most other people don’t have anything to “extend”, since they’re working year’round! Non? And most people lose their income, if they don’t come in. They can even get fired if that happens more than a few times.

    If your mother can’t make it to work from Schuyler, then she needs to find a job that has no consequences, like being a teacher! You say teachers are often asked to come in. I know of several very closely that never have to go in on snow days.

    The point is very simple to understand: teachers are privileged is so many ways, it is rather silly to demand so-called “competitive wages” when everything else about the profession is as non-competitive as it gets.

  19. Cornelius, dare I suggest you aren’t (or weren’t) a minimum wage worker? Dare I ask whether you had family or friends to help you cope with these "advance arrangements"?

    An undisputable point is that some parents, mostly single ones, may at times have a very hard time when snow days prevent them from attending to their jobs. Especially single parents with no family in the area and friends that are working-class also. Parents in these situations are not 1 in a 1,000.

    And lastly, I find it perturbing those that feel children are the sole reasonability of their parents. Then why have public schools? Why have child safety laws, minimum school requirements, consumption restrictions, etc. You canít have it both ways: either parents are 100% responsible and then they can choose to just keep the kids at home when it suits) or the prevailing laws that limit parents choices are accompanied with other social assistance. Itís too convenient to impose a bunch of rules and then when the going fets tough, to simply say itís not societyís problem!

  20. Even the most high elevation mountain road was completely safe for any vehicle today.

    Do the people who decide if school is going to be closed actually live out here? How do they know what the worst roads are like? Or do they just say "yeah, it rained, there is probably a blizzard out in bumfuck, better close school".

    One of the major reasons that snow days drag on for days after the snow has stopped falling is that they don’t want kids to have to stand in snow while waiting for the bus to come on the perfectly dry road. WHAT? They don’t want kids to stand in snow? WTF?

    People are total pussies. We’re so overly obsessed with safety. Its actually MORE dangerous to keep kids home. Most accidents happen in the home after all.

  21. instead of taking up holiday times why can’t the kids go to school longer in the days, add an hour or two ??

    quit b**ching about holidays. do you complain about it at work when you get the time off ? do you come to work when everyone else is off spending time with their families ?

  22. Jim asked: Is it right to allow children to stay home, rather than face a wee bit of adversity in getting to school?

    As an elementary school student in the County’s public school system, I recall following ‘snow plans’ that required my chums and me to walk the mile from our usual bus stop on a yet unplowed road to the appointed pick-up point on a main, plowed road.

    I also remember having to attend school one Saturday morning for a snow make-up day.

  23. I apologize for having mistaken your vagueness about who ‘they’ are (What I object to, is that they still want to be paid on 12 months of work!) for a reference to a national news item, rather than just your rhetorical exhortation of strawmen.

  24. No need to apologize. I am already quite lucky to experience the profound respect you reveal towards me on a regular basis.

  25. This is silly. A good capitalist knows that the reason teachers – and govt employees – earn less than others with comparable degrees and experience is because fewer hours are expected of them. Snow days – as well as summer vacation and christmas break – are factored into the teacher salary equation. Teachers may feel entitled to an easy workday, but that’s because they’re *not* entitled to the kind of pay they would make in the private sector.

    What’smore risable to me about the snow day cancellations is lack of personal accountability. My wife grew up in the north and she says it was routine to have "school without transportation" days when it snowed – school was open for those who could make it. One suspects that tradition vanished with lawsuits against schools which were deemed not to have discouraged people from driving themselves off icy roads.

    And what’s with all the driving anyway? When I lived in Europe, people who chose to live far from public transit were held responsible for that decision – if they couldn’t make it to their job, it was their loss, period. Failure in public transit was fair excuse, but failure to get yourself that far was your choice/fault, whether it was a breakdown or ice. I feel the same way here – if people want to live on back country roads that’s just fine, but why must the rest of us accommodate their choice?

  26. I too am constantly astonished by the way Albemarle County schools in particular seem to close at the drop of a hat. (Cville City seems almost as bad at times.) Roads that seem not bad at all, weather that clears up by mid-morning, but A County kids have a snow day. It truly doth boggle the mind.

    And yet, don’t you think that the system administrators are in a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t situation? Parents (and I am one, though my kid is not school yet) tend to gripe either way–if school is on, you get the contingent who are indignant that their child’s life might be risked on a slippery rural road (or, worse, that their child might have to stand waiting in snow, or slip on ice). The phone calls, the emails, the public bitching. (It happens at the university level, too–when UVA doesn’t close for a snow or ice storm, the complaints pour in, from the parents!). Maybe this contingent has the luxury of one non-working parent who can stay home with the kiddies.

    If school is off, the other contingent steps up to the plate–lazy teachers just want a day off (like the teachers make that call!), everyone’s a wimp, it’s a huge inconvenience (and that it is–I’m with Symp on what a real dilemma it poses for working parents), etc. etc.

    Then, as ColinC pointed out, there’s the litigation factor–schools have good reasons to play it safe these days when it seems you can and will get sued for any and every decision you make. Kid slips on the ice, lawsuit. Bus hits a car, lawsuit. Etc.

    So I don’ t know quite know how they’re supposed to make everyone happy. It seems to me that if the district is so large and varied (partly rural, partly city) then they could have different plans for the different schools. If the urban ring is relatively drivable (say, if City schools are open), why shouldn’t those kids go to school and give the snow day to the ones in the rural areas? (But then people cry–and sue–about the disadvantage being imposed on rural area kids, blah blah blah).

    I know that in my days of yore I did stand in snow waiting for a bus, and I did more than once take a bus to school that got stuck in snow. And I got some snow days. And I lived in a more northerly climate. My husband grew up in the extreme northeast–he remembers snow plans by which the kids who could be gotten to school were gotten, and the ones who couldn’t, stayed at home. Disadvantaged in a way, no doubt, but at least most of the kids went to school. But I think that couldn’t happen today.

    All I know is that, as a working mom, I’m glad my kid will go to Cville City rather than A County schools at least for this reason–they seem a little more able to hold school in winter in the City!

  27. Whoa, Nelly. That article doesn’t do the first thing to show that teachers actually work or want to work for twelve months – it shows that they are always eager to find ways to be paid for twelve months of work without actually spending 48 weeks in classrooms teaching students.

    There are some juicy quotes in there. How about these:

    In the report, the panel says that “the myth that teachers only work nine months a year and a six-hour day is destructive for seeking improved compensation…”

    The myth? So how exactly is it that teachers work more than nine months a year now, with half of December, half of June, and all of July and August off? And if it’s a myth, then what is this article about, since their contracts only run for nine months now?

    “You’re asking school districts to shake a pretty big money tree to implement this,” said Michael A. Resnick…

    And… some teachers are resistant to the idea of giving up the two or three months a year they have for independent professional development, a second job, or vacation…

    Others said they fear that the report will be misused by district officials or state lawmakers, who might opt to extend the school year or contracts without providing additional compensation to teachers.

    So basically it boils down to this: teachers value the three months of paid vacation they get now, and some of them may or may not be willing to give that up, if and only if their pay were increased 33% to compensate so they would be even more overpaid than they are now.

    You show me any other field where a person can step out of college with a Master’s in liberal arts in one of the least challenging academic curricula in all of postgraduate education and be guaranteed a $52k + salary for a 35-hour workweek with generous vacation and benefits and ironclad job security, and I’ll ask what you’re smoking. MBAs from top schools should be so lucky.

  28. Yes, a good capitalist would know that indeed! Funny how teachers get so easily confused when it’s to their benefit!

    A propos Europe, most countries there do not have in fact school buses. People use regular public transportation (typically well planned) while others choose to drive themselves. But *since* everyone is on a same basis and equal footing regarding transportation, really bad weather may rightfully stop most everybody, whereas the slightly bad days, like all except 1 we’ve had recently here, people would go to school and to work.

    This is yet another paradox of U.S. mores: on one side, it’s everyone onto oneselves, on the other, it’s complete wuss time.

  29. And you know who does all of the complaining when kids go to school and there’s a little snow? Mostly privileged suburban folk who have the option or the habit of staying home. You’ll rarely hear a peep from working people who have real jobs and real responsibilities to attend to.

    If there a blizzard or really dangerous conditions, so be it, close the schools. But if a majority of people are at work, it is intolerable to have lazy school personnel decide to wreck havoc with people’s jobs and schedules.

    Thath my opinion and Iím thticking to it!

  30. Everyone needs to look as to why the schools are closed in ACounty… it’s that the roads are not clear enough for two cars to pass much less for a large bus.

    WE should be looking at the County and City workers who don’t clear the roads. They don’t have the experience or knowledge like the Northern states who seem to clear the roads within hours instead of days like VA. They run up and down Rt.29 a hundred times with 10 trucks yet they only hit the back roads twice with two trucks.

    If the County and City was better prepared and pushed the snow further off the road then there would be room for all vehicles to pass.

    Quit blaming the officials for trying to keep our kids safe. I don’t care what happened in the days of yore, then there was fewer buses, cars and kids going to school. Technology is better now so why not use it.

    To make up the time, why can’t the kids go to school an hour or two later. Let’s see how many people will compain about this.

  31. The only reason we have Spring Break in the public is for Easter.

    I can think of a dozen reasons that may not be directly tied to Easter, but chief among them is the fact that by spring time everyone has slugged through a long winter and they want to enjoy the spring. Why not let this coincide with Easter?

    It [Christmas break] is unfair for those who do not celebrate those holidays.

    There is no law preventing someone from studying or working on Christmas day.

  32. There is no mention of separation of church and state in the constitution. It says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof:"

    So the congress cannot establish a state religion and it cannot prohibit individuals from the free exercise of religion. I think it is pretty simple reading, but the interpretations of judges have not been intellectual in nature, but political statements of personal beliefs that reflect what they believe the Constitution should have said, but didn’t. There is also nothing in the constitution about life being fair and nothing about the right not to be offended. I find it interesting when minorities (on any issue) say they feel offended by something so it shouldn’t be allowed. Well, if the majority is offended by what the minority is doing or saying, should that be considered? No in both cases. There is no right to not being offended. The majority rules in this country and can do anything it wants if it is not prohibited by the constitution (or temporarily prohibited with a favorable judicial ruling whether it is really in the constitution or not). It doesn’t matter if it’s politcally correct or not and it doesn’t matter it some people think it’s not fair or they are offended (everyone is offended by something). No one has a constitutional right to go to school on a certain day or not. The majority rules and this is a Christian nation. If local school boards, or state college boards, want to have holidays at a certain time and call them anything they want, they can. The minority is not being forced to practice this religion or to observe the holiday, school is just not open for the convenience of the majority. If the minority wants to spend every day of the holiday practicing their own religion or their hatred of all religions, the government has no problem with that. In colonial times, when the constitution was written, there was a state religion in VA and you were taxed to support the church, no matter what your beliefs were. This was the state church… where the law revolved around certain religions and beliefs of the state, and you were forced to pay for it. It wasn’t about separating the church from the everyday lives of americans, it was just about being able to worship the god of your choice and not being forced to financially support a state religion. If an atheist is offended, that’s too bad because there is no right not to be offended. Of course, the atheist can’t be forced to worship god, but if he is offended by others worshipping god, that is his problem. I will agree, that in these politically correct times, when the average american has become afraid to say what he really thinks, society pressures have forced a different outlook without even passing an amendment to the constitution. It is part ignorance and part cowardice. It people today truly want a separation of church and state and feel they are in the majority, they should push for a constituional amendment that actually says this rather than hoping they can keep the right judges in power who will continue to misinterpret the current constitution.

  33. Who determines what the majority wants in terms of religious support in schools? There are a few slight little teeny loopholes in the very orderly rules you’ve set there for our messy real-life world there…

  34. Okay, I realize I’m a little late to the party here, but felt compelled to post all the same. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I teach in Charlottesville City. I’m also going to throw in a few comments regarding a previous post about our budget.

    I’d like to point out that for the last 2 years (and it is my understanding it is a permanent change) Spring Break has been held during the first full week of April for both the City and County – regardless of when Easter may fall. Last year, it worked out that it was around Easter, but it’s my understanding that will not be the case this year or next.

    In my mind, taking Spring Break to make up for the lost days has both positive consequences as well as negative. If we make up the days during Spring Break (and in Charlottesville, we haven’t missed as many days as the County, so we’re not in the position of having to touch SB yet), we are not losing time before the all-important SOL tests. When we add days to the end of the year – we’re more often than not simply marking time, and in many places it is no longer quality instructional time. Now, if there is one thing I have learned in my short teaching career is that the kids need a break if they are going to stay focused, and we are currently looking at having no days off (save future snow days) between January 19th and April 5th. Charlottesville City will be extending its school year through June 10th (I believe). We will be taking SOL tests (again, tentative) the week of May 12th. We will then be looking at a month of school with "nothing to do." I put that in quotes because I know as well as everyone else that there is always something else to do, something else to learn, something else to explore, but I am telling you that it is often the mindset of the student that "they’re done."

    My preference is to keep Spring Break. if for no other reason than it will give me 3 or so days of vacation, and 4 days of extra planning.

    A few years ago we DID have 3 days built into the calendar for snow days, we didn’t use a single one for two years, and they were promptly taken out of the calendar. I don’t think I need to tell anyone here what the last two winters have looked like.

    I don’t dispute the fact that there are teachers in any system – like employees at any job who do the absolute minimum, and I don’t wish to be judged by that minority. I believe a great majority of teachers my school do not fall into this category. If you were to drive past my school on any weekend day, you will find cars in the parking lot, you will find cars in the parking lot well after school lets out. I have not worked a 40 hour week since I stopped working in the public sector. I went into teaching fully understanding what I was signing up for, and I love it.

    We do not get paid for holidays – summer, SB or Christmas- and there is no amount of work to be done at school during the summer that will pay the previously suggested $13,000, even in an excellent budgetary climate, let alone the current one. I can absolutely go get another job during the summer and it’s always an option. However, it is during the summer that I usually take the classes required to be recertified when my teaching certificate expires.

    I work very hard during breaks, on weekends and over the summer improving and refining the curriculum for my classes – work for which I am not compensated. I am not whining about it, I’m simply stating a fact. I get paid the same $33,000/year whether I do the extra work or not. I know that by doing the extra work I’m becoming a more effective and prepared teacher, but I’m single and have no kids – I have the time to do this. That is not true of everyone.

    I would happily invite anyone to come spend a day in school to find out what really goes on there. It is not a perfect system, not by any measure, but please don’t judge those of us who put our hearts into our kids and classrooms because there are others who cannot or will not do the same.

  35. What’s your point? That you work most of the year? Good. And?

    You say: My preference is to keep Spring Break. if for no other reason than it will give me 3 or so days of vacation, and 4 days of extra planning.

    Yes, we know, teachers like vacations. Why else would they be teachers? For the pay? Well, I know many teachers and teacher organizations are aiming to eat their cake and have it too. Right now, as we speak, there’s a propaganda war being raged on unsuspecting citizens. Soon, teachers will be so damn expensive, we’ll be expected to take an appointment and sit in a waiting room for an hour for an “audience” with her majesty, the teach.

    In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I teach in Charlottesville City. I’m also going to throw in a few comments regarding a previous post about our budget.

    Where are your comments regarding the school’s budget? My children’s homework are a lot like that: their teachers mix up their own photocopied assignments (from previous years, no doubt) and end up giving hours and hours of stuff to be done in a single night to catch up for the snow days. So, my kids are up until midnight desperately trying to complete the assigned tasks, while the teacher sleeps and wakes up the next day and says when the kids complain: “oh, I didn’t realize it was THAT much!? I guess I got the work mixed up. Sooooooorrrry.” There are even teachers who have the nerve to require parents active involvement with the homework. Who the hell are they to make demands on parentsí schedules?

    So, Christine. you say you’re a good and conscientious teacher. Well bravo! ‘Cuz you are a minority. You say: I would happily invite anyone to come spend a day in school to find out what really goes on there

    You do realize that a majority of hard-working folks would challenge YOU to come look at what they do, no? And you do remember THEY do not have 3 months of vacations to look forward to EVERY year. I sure hope you teachers work your hearts out during the time you do work. Hey, there are 365 days in a year. Including federal holidays, teachers work around 180 days. Guess how many are either weekends, holidays and flat our vacation? 185!!! Many of the people I know work 6 days a week, 10-12 hours per day, 50 weeks per year. In other words, 300 days of real work for 65 days “off”. And they don’t have any “teacher appreciation days”.

    But because schools are de facto monopolies, like their medical community and other governmental counterparts, they tend to loose sight of REALITY.

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