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A different way of life for the Mid-Atlantic states?

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Badfish740, Nov 5, 2011.

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  1. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    My wife is a teacher and this year has got me thinking. Her school has already run through all of their allotted "snow days" for the year. Two went to Hurricane Irene-the first day was because the school didn't have power, the second was because kids couldn't get to school because there were so many washed out roads, downed trees, and wires. They lost the next three to this recent storm because the school had no power, and winter is still more than a month away. Previous years saw similar situations-freak October ice storms, late September/early August tropical storms, and record snowfalls had the schools taking away winter break and still going into the summer. Growing up in NJ we're certainly used to snow, but compared to places like the Upper Midwest in New England, it takes considerably less snow (6" falling in the late night/early morning hours will do it) to close schools, offices, etc...or at least delay their opening. Now that we're seeing so much time eaten up by other weather events where it's physically impossible to have school (no electricity or blocked roads), will we begin to see a shift in how schools and municipalities deal with snow? Will folks start buying snow tires, chains, and having tires studded/siped again? Just a thought...

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Our district just takes days away from the breaks. We lost Columbus Day and will lose one day of the Christmas break. It's common for us to lose presidents day and Easter Monday as well.

    Law says Pa schools need to get the 180 in before July 1. Latest we ever finished was June 25th, and that was due to a late start because of a construction project along with the Blizzard of 1993. Our usual end date falls about June 10th. The scheduled end date is usually around June 1st.

    Easier to adjust the schedule after than to try and plan around mother nature as she tends to laugh at the proactive plans.

    pen
  3. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Especially after last winter. Ditch the February vacation if need be. It is no fun sending the kiddies to school mid to late June wearing shorts and it is warm out. I have a theory that these February vacations may be written into a union contract as they never seem to get cancelled. ;-) It is also prime vacation that week, and those trips are planned out months before.

    Around here school cancellations are frequently due to sidewalks not being cleared in time. There are a lot of neighborhood schools and kids walking to them in my area.

    How about reducing the number of "teacher workshop days". Those weren't around a few years ago.

    Go easy on me, just ranting, no offense to teachers.
  4. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    No feb break here. The in-service days for teachers are built into the contract. We have 7 in-service days. Not a one of them is useful. I'd much rather see my kids (students) those days.

    pen
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's face it. There is no difference in what a kid learns in 170 days of school - vs. 180. It's the quality, not the quantity. IMHO, anyway......we could say that these weather events, in themselves, teach the kids something valuable.
  6. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Before Fossil swoops in :lol: just to clarify this conversation is NOT about climate change or teacher's unions. It is simply about how maybe we in the Mid-Atlantic states need to take a cue from our neighbors to the north and not close schools because there's six inches of snow on the ground at 7:00 a.m. If municipalities, counties, and states start dealing with snow more proactively, we can build in time to deal with the ice storms, tropical storms, and hurricanes that seem to be becoming more common. I do somewhat agree with Web's point about 170 vs. 180 days, but its like anything else, there has to be a standard of some sort if you're going make education compulsory.
  7. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    We don't have such a thing as winter vacation, but if we did, it would be the parents freaking out over losing a vacation. Not the teachers.

    As to the OP, I'd rather have kids in June then buses sledding down the mountain. But that's here.
  8. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Our problem is that legally many of our kids who historically walked a ways to a bus stop now are no longer allowed to do so. Something about a lawyer, liability, etc, etc. Our busses drive as many miles on dirt roads as paved roads in my area. Because of the "need" to have every kid picked up right at their own drive, busses are now being forced on dirt roads they don't have business on when dry IMO.

    Some drivers do use chains, but those who need them the most know who they are and plan accordingly. One bus has the fancy drop chains even.

    When talking about the liability involved with kids walking to a bus stop, the first thing that comes to mind is kids getting kidnapped, hit by a car, etc. However, perhaps the most real danger is the number of kids who don't have appropriate clothes to wear in making that walk in bad weather. We have kids that get picked up in the dark regularly during the winter (over an hour on a bus to school) and a bunch of those mornings where those temps are below zero.

    I'd say in general that our road crews do a pretty good job around here considering how rural the area is. If they can't keep up, it's bad. I'm sure it's not the same in all areas. However, if the road isn't plowed and someone is trying to get through in a chevy cavalier, then I blame poor planning on their part for their choice of vehicle, not the twp. But again, our crews generally really do bust their chops.

    The first snows around here are always "amateur day." People wait to the last minute to put snow tires on, get their 4x4 serviced, remember to slow down and leave earlier, etc, etc.

    Happens every year I suppose.

    pen
  9. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    We see that with the clothing also.
  10. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    When I was in high school we had a particularly snowy winter and were about to run out of snow days. Suddenly the bus company had all the buses chained up for the next storm and we had school with a 2 hour delay. I think they are way too quick to close school nowadays. I live in the suburbs and the biggest problem that we have with winter weather is that traffic just can't move anymore. The roads are already overloaded and the snow just shuts everything down. If school were open nun of the staff would be able to get there.
  11. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    I think that the vision of school as a building-based enterprise may be obsolete in another generation or two. Now *that* would, IMHO, qualify as a different way of life. Putting drop chains on buses, in my mind, does not.

    Oh, we'll all be drinking that free Bubble-Up and eatin' that rainbow stew . . .
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    We see the First Snow Storm Panic Center happen here too . . . always blows me away . . . I mean we're in Maine . . . it's nearly Winter . . . Snow happens every year . . . and you get the Panic People buying up snow shovels (I often wonder where their old snow shovels that they bought last year disappeared to), beer, bleach, batteries and whatever else they think they need to survive Snowpocalypse (i.e. a forecast of three inches or more.)

    Then you see the drivers who tend to fall into one of three categories: a) those driving 15 mph everywhere causing massive traffic jams and potential accidents as impatient drivers try to drive around them, b) those driving as if it was 67 degrees, dry and sunny outside and brake at the last minute, pass cars willy nilly and generally drive at or above the speed limit and c) those folks who exercise a bit of caution by driving at or slighly under the speed limit, give themselves time to brake and generally are driving as if road conditions are slippery.

    Every year it's the same thing . . .
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I agree . . . but I think one of the potential reasons they may cancel school earlier now is due to the "L" word . . . if a school bus went off the road and children were hurt due to the weather conditions or someone T-boned a school bus due to the slippery roads and someone got hurt . . . not saying it would happen . . . but I suspect this may play a factor into the decision to cancel school or keep it open.
  14. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    If parents weren't so ready to sue the school systems, they might have school more often.

    Schools will likely wind up cancelling one or more of the vacation weeks to make up the days. They're pretty unnecessary anyway...they get all summer and a week at XMas. They don't need a week off in February and then another week off in April.
  15. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Its not just the buses, but the kids who have to walk to school. Believe it or not some parents will push their kids out the door in -10F with no wind protection.

    I think it was less of a deal when at least one parent could afford to miss a day's work without putting the household into bankruptcy.
  16. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Parents get very upset when they loose their child care unexpectedly. There is always major back lash on the very rare day that New York City calls a snow day.

    I think that part of the reason to be so quick to call snow days, at least in the suburbs, is that school staff travel such distances nowadays, and traveling great distances in a snow storm is not always possible with out leaving yourself 3xs the time it usually takes. Another negative by-product of suburbia.
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