posted on May 29, 2015 10:10
We’ve all been there- hitting a standard snooze button on an alarm clock so we can sleep for 9 additional minutes. Research actually suggests that adding those minutes does nothing except throw your body clock out of whack. Reportedly, snoozing leaves you “zombie-like” day after day. In the end, you really never get much out of it, but many of us feel that we accomplished something.
Educators in Virginia hit the snooze button to conform to the state requirements. By adding 9, 10 or 11 minutes to the spring semester of 2014-15, our public schools have magically made up for 7 snow days that were missed. Adding those extra minutes makes everyone happy. It solves the pesky administrative state necessities, and it does not interrupt time off during spring breaks, Saturdays or summer breaks. Most importantly, however, this work-around keeps the educational funding flowing.
Meanwhile, across the country, in 2009, a California school district went in the opposite direction- all in the name of funding. CA Schools generally have one shortened day per week, allowing teachers to use the left over time for planning. Under state law, these days must be at least 180 minutes long. Knee deep into the 2009 school year it was discovered through an internal audit that these days were only 175 minutes long. The district stood to lose more than $7 million because of this error. This school district did not flinch at the decision to have the fourth, fifth and sixth-graders forfeit 34 days of their summer break to attend school well into July.
Let’s put things into perspective. A standard Peace Officer Standards and Training certification dictates that all recruits undergo firearms, first aid, criminal law, emergency vehicle operations, defensive tactics, physical fitness and report writing training. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average training takes typically 19 weeks (95 days). If 7 of those days were cancelled due to inclement weather, how can adding 9 minutes to the remaining training days satisfy the requirement?
What part of that training was rushed or omitted? Was the final exam for first aid offered on line instead of in class? Did the firearms training take place on a video game console? Would learning how to write police reports become something that is learned through “on the job training?
So I am left to wonder ……. which public school student (CA vs. VA) received the appropriate curriculum? Did California students need the whole 34 days to make up the curriculum that was missed when the day was shortened by 5 minutes per week, or was that busy work? Did they watch videos and have extended recesses to fill the time? Or did Virginia have the students sit in their seats with their coats on while waiting for the bell in the 9 minutes that were added to their day? When it comes to damage control, educators are starting to remind me of chess players moving our students around like dispensable pawns.
- What Happens to Your Body When You Hit the Snooze Button
Chino district's error delays summer break by 34 school days for some students
School systems work snow days into calendar
Schools squeeze in minutes to make up for snow days
How Long Do You Have to Train to Be a Cop?
Written By: Erica C. Wagner, Program Director; Club College Boulevard, Inc.