Op-ed: The Reality of School Start Times
We moved to Randolph for reasons that worked for our family. Our reasons may be different from your family's reason, but schools were important to us then and are important to us now. Within a few months of living in our neighborhood, I told my husband we were not moving from here unless it was out of state. That is how much I loved it here.
I never think of what it would be like to live in a Utopian society. It is not realistic. I suppose if I were to imagine it, everything would be wonderful, everyone would get along, everyone would be happy all the time, nothing would be wrong, nothing could go wrong. We could all live together in harmony, things would always go our way. But if I want something one way, and another person wants it a different way, how does that fit?
School start times are the perfect example. Each family has their own needs and not everyone will be pleased with the results...whatever they may ultimately be. While I have questioned decisions Dr. Browne and the School Board have made before, right now, I really believe the Randolph Superintendent and Board of Education members are attempting to do what is best for our student population. They have an obligation to do what is best for our students, not what is best for Randolph families and the community. They make decisions for our school district, taking into account what is best for the majority of the student population based on studies, reports and other means at their disposal; they make educational decisions based on educational criteria, not a family’s schedule. Regardless of which age group goes first, I do not believe school should start at 7:15. I don't think anyone should walk to school or be waiting at the bus stop in the dark ever, no matter the age! It simply is not safe, not for elementary, middle school or high school students. Just look at the ticker tape on this website: http://www.startschoollater.net /to get an idea.
In the end, it is not up to me (or you) to decide when school starts and ends. It is up to me (and you) to voice an opinion, bring studies and information to the forefront of an argument and to make informed decisions. To say school start times should stay as they have been over the years, is to ignore recent studies and recommendations from the AAP.
Will the final decision the district makes regarding school start time please every family? Of course not, but I do know I voiced my opinion and had my say. I may not like the board’s final decision, but at least I said something. I didn’t sit by and just let it happen. Others have voiced their opinions and the board members and Dr. Browne are listening. I trust that they looked into various scenarios, so that when they make this difficult, yet informed, decision based on many factors, it is the right one for the students of our district. There are multiple factors to consider: state laws, contractual agreements with the REA, what is best for the student population as a whole, bus schedules, cost analysis of what is financially possible for our district, and so many others.
They are continuing this discussion until they get it to the best it can be for Randolph’s student population. There will be more information at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, March 10 at 8:00 p.m (Randolph High School Library).
These are difficult decisions to make. In my imaginary Utopian society, schools would start after 8:00, we would have 2 weeks off school at winter break and there would be less snow. My children would be perfectly behaved and help around the house more, but I live in reality. In my reality, I have to trust those elected to the School Board and Dr. Browne will do what is right for the collective student body of Randolph Schools. In the end, what may work for my family will not work for other families, but I hope the School Board and Dr. Browne base their decisions on what is best for the education of Randolph’s children, not what is best for my family or yours.
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