School calendar has too many days off
I have just received the school calendar for 2020/21 and I am again frustrated by the amount of early dismissals and non-instructional days. There is at least one of each per month, on top of stat holidays and vacation days such as two weeks of spring break in March. It adds up to a lot of time in which parents must try and find childcare.
I tread carefully as I write the next statement, but I feel like a lot of the burden for finding/providing that childcare falls to the mothers. It is upsetting to write that as a woman raised to believe in equality (as taught by my mum and my dad!) but I have to admit that it is my lived and observed experience. My thoughts are with mothers who cannot work full time or who cannot pursue their careers fully because they cannot find someone to pick up their kids one hour early each month on early dismissal days or for the monthly non-instructional day that gets written randomly into the school schedule. It ends up creating a glass ceiling imposed by the school district. This should be looked at closely as the school district is in charge of educating our children but are part of creating a cycle for women who cannot escape the silent shift. Children see their mothers taking this on, thereby teaching our children that this is normal. The school district is helping to perpetuate the cycle.
This inconsistent school schedule also creates a lot of financial burden and stress for families. My thoughts are with the kids who have to come home to empty houses on those days — and to parents who are quiet with their guilt because they just don’t have another option. For others, we end up paying for full time after school care that we don’t need all the time but there is no other way to provide for the the random care needs invoked by the schools. COVID-19 has created a lot of economic hardships and I would have hoped the school board could have been more supportive of families.
I hope this letter encourages the school district to think about the social and economic ramifications of the early dismissals and non-instructional days scattered throughout each month.