Saturday, May 04, 2019

More in Bad Ideas from MORE--Opening School Saturday, June 27th 2020

After MORE dumped all my friends in an effort to achieve ideological purity and cleanse itself, it managed to go from winning the high schools to winning nothing. (That's much deserved, because there's something repugnant about the whole ideological purity thing. It certainly precludes the entire notion of union, representing a diverse group with a profession in common.) On the bright side, it's a pretty low bar to improve on that. And yet, rather than do so, they've managed to come up with an idea that does nothing to address the issue.

I'm talking about December 23rd, the day we're supposed to come back, work one day, and take off the rest of the week. That's inconvenient. I don't want to do it, nor does any teacher, student, or even administrator I know. However, it's often inconvenient to come in, what with other exigencies, like walking the dog, reading a book, taking a nap, or going out somewhere. Yet day after day we go to work.

Inconvenient though going to work is, I don't complain about it. Truth be told, I like my job. I spend half the day helping kids, and the other half dealing with union issues. I can retire, but I can't retire. That's mostly because I remain fascinated with what I do every day. I understand that not everyone feels that way. One reason people lose that feeling is the lack of respect we get. That's exemplified in the idiotic train of thought that demands we come in an extra day for no reason.

The extra day is not going to fundamentally affect anyone's lifestyle. The worst thing about it, though, is that hundreds of thousands of kids won't even come in, and teachers will be stuck twiddling their thumbs, handing out busy work, or worst, doing things that will simply have to be repeated on days when students are actually present.

Now we in the high schools already have one useless day of class. Dennis Walcott, in his infinite wisdom, decided that we should all come in and teach one day in June after Regents exams were completed, observations were over, and all grades were in. So for a few years, I'll come in that day and meet a handful of kids who trek in. It's nice to talk to them and see them, but they'd be offended if I tried to teach them. Maybe they'd get up and walk out. Why shouldn't they? There'd be nothing I could do about it.

I live in Long Island. My daughter's school would close if anyone even whispered the word snow. Sometimes they'd ask her to come in on break days. Usually we'd be away, and there was no way I was gonna cancel our plans to send her to school. In retrospect, there was no irreversible damage caused if she attended school 179 rather than 180 days. Of course, I'm not a genius from Albany, so I'm in no positions to be making those determinations.

Here's one determination I can make--If it's a waste of time for kids to come in one day in June after all relevant work is completed, it's even more of a waste to have them come in for two days in June. While MORE has garnered a few thousand signatures to oppose December 23rd, I'm not sure all the signers read the last line.

I don't want to waste my time coming in for nothing on December 23rd. However, wasting my time coming in on June 27th is hardly an improvement. It just trades one waste of time for another.

And by the way, if that's not enough of an argument, June 27th, 2020 falls on a Saturday. It's telling that neither MORE Caucus nor Chalkbeat, which wrote a feature on this, could be bothered with consulting a calendar when writing about, you know, a calendar.
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