School Canceled for Weather… GREAT Weather!

Readers — Here’s a story to make your weekend: A school in Seattle cancelled classes after months of dreary weather so kids could enjoy the sunshine and PLAY. I was going to say maybe other schools will catch on, but heck — maybe other companies will, too! Bosses:  Think how energized, creative and GRATEFUL your workers would be after a sudden, sunny day off!  Monday’s coming, so THINK FAST! – L

Thanks for appreciating the glory of a beautiful day! (signed) The Sun

40 Responses to School Canceled for Weather… GREAT Weather!

  1. Cynthia812 May 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    That’s fabulous!

  2. Joshua Kelley May 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    It should be clarified that this was because they didn’t have to take a snow day which was built into their schedule.

  3. Sarah in WA May 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    This was, of course, a private school, and I love that they did this! Unfortunately for the public school system, it’s under so much pressure from the parents, the state, etc., that this could never happen in a public school.

    Heck, when teachers in public schools go on strike (regardless of weather), there’s always an irate group of parents that comes to the surface because they’re furious that they have to come up with alternate childcare.

    Well, children are ultimately their parents’ responsibility, not the school’s, and, despite what some think, the public school system is not free childcare–it’s education. And if a principal determines that the weather is so unusually nice that the students might as well enjoy it–that they have, in fact, earned it–then why not? Sometimes people, including kids, earn and deserve a break.

    Yes, I would love it if bosses started doing this, too! :)

    BTW, those in WA know that Bellingham is not Seattle. ;) As liberal as Seattle is, Bellingham is much more so, so perhaps this isn’t too shocking. Still awesome, though!

  4. Emily May 4, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    This is a really nice story, but I bet that at least some of the kids spent that beautiful day in front of a screen.

  5. J.T. Wenting May 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    “Heck, when teachers in public schools go on strike (regardless of weather), there’s always an irate group of parents”

    most of them aren’t irate, they’re bloody furious that the teachers’ unions are once again striking to get their substandard, overly pampered, members get more money from the taxes paid by hardworking citizens.

    As to schools giving days off because of nice weather, that’s simply silly.
    What if it’s nice for a month running, kids will start expecting to get every day it’s nice off soon.

    Of course used to be schools organised plenty of outdoors activities on nice days. Biology field trips to the park, outdoors sports days, things like that that have all been stopped because “somebody could get hurt”.

  6. Sarah in WA May 5, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    “most of them aren’t irate, they’re bloody furious that the teachers’ unions are once again striking to get their substandard, overly pampered, members get more money from the taxes paid by hardworking citizens.”

    Is this a serious statement? Besides being completely inaccurate, it’s not structurally a sentence. Calling public school teachers “overly pampered” is laughably wrong!

  7. Earth.W May 5, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    I love a good news story.

  8. Sarah May 5, 2013 at 3:18 am #

    When I taught out in Adak, in the Aleutian islands, sometimes the whole base would shut down when the weather turned nice. “Sunshine Liberty” is what the Navy called it.

  9. gap.runner May 5, 2013 at 3:32 am #

    Apologies for going off-topic, but there is a principal who is actually doing something that makes sense. I saw this on Facebook.
    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/05/03/boston-principal-fires-security-funds-more-arts-sees-test-scores-skyrocket/

  10. Donna May 5, 2013 at 4:58 am #

    Nice. I take a “mental health” day as soon as the weather cools down every fall. After 4-5 months of unbearably hot, sticky southern summer, a nice comfortable day to play is well deserved. No reason kids shouldn’t get the same.

  11. Andrew May 5, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    Great for children (we are just enjoying some spring sunshine in England now, after a very cold extended winter) but not so great for working parents trying to juggle childcare arrangements.

  12. Deborah Caldwell May 5, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    Thank you gap.runner, for that great link. I passet it on.

    What happens to kids when the regularly scheduled classes (school) are not in session for 180 days of the year. The idea that schools are day-care places is ludicrous.

    When we get a day off together, we ourselves as parents take our kids out of school and enjoy them. Too many people do not know their kids well enough to spend lots and lots of time with them.

  13. In the Trenches May 5, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    We’re stuck with a business / labour model of education, where “bums in seats” equals “quality edumacation”. Hourly wages make sense in a manufacturing economy, and pretty much nowhere else. Here in Ontario, a credit is defined partly by how many hours kids are sitting in class.

    Many other parts of the world seem to have grasped the change from manufacturing to service or knowledge economies, and realise that ‘productivity’ can’t be defined the same way it was in Victorian factories. Hint: it actually *increases* when you make allowances for the humanity of the “product”. :)

    Most of the stupidest policies in education over the last century have been implemented because they make administrators’ jobs easier: checklists for “best practices” of teaching; tightly controlled or non-existent phys ed programmes to avoid the headache of litigation; standardised tests; etc. etc. etc. Nothing to do with teaching or learning. Kids are inducted into bureaucracy early in our culture, sadly.

  14. Emily, Mom of Independents May 5, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    It’s a reasonable expectation that schools will be open everyday, with few exceptions. That is their role. I don’t know any parent that thinks of it as free day care, but I know many that are screwed when schools close unexpectedly. That’s not a function of pawning kids off on the schools. That’s a function of reasonable expectations that we can have and that we rely on. Teachers themselves face these problems when their child’s school closes and they work at a different school.

    That said, I think this is great! Unless I had major responsibilities at work that day or was in danger of losing my job, I’d be all over a fun day with my boys. It’s a beautiful day here for me and a rare Sunday off! We’re off to have fun later today and can hopefully take my sons’ friends to the park with us. Their parents are in need right now and it’s a great time to teach them about helping others!

  15. Natalie May 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Well said, Emily. You saved me a rant as I would undoubted be one of those irate parents being talked about.

  16. Papilio May 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    So for the parents maybe it would have been more practical if the teachers just had taken the students to the park to play by themselves so the teachers could sip a coffee at the local Starbucks… Hey wait – that sounds awfully familiar… :P

  17. Amanda May 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    I feel sorry for kids today. Their parents have to be more concerned about their work than their kids. I mean what is the point of making a living when you or your kids don’t have much of a life? Shuffled from school to daycare…parents too busy to notice their kids are being bullied or are the bully. Parents get mad because their school wants to bring some joy to their kids’ lives by letting them out on a nice day- nope not for you Johnny! Off to daycare you go! The sad thing is here people is that most kids don’t get the right to have a childhood any more. Parents have careers that are more important. They have iphones, ipads, bigger cars, bigger TV’s to buy. They have to keep up with the Jones’. To hell with their kids and their true needs. Send them to daycare or the babysitter so you and the husband can have a date night, but forget about quality time with Little Johnny. Parents expect schools to be the parents now.

  18. Sarah in WA May 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Amen, Amanda! I totally agree! It’s sad. :(

  19. Puzzled May 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Emily – You’re right, and that’s a problem with our economy. We are too prosperous for people to have such pressing needs – the point of prosperity is to live better lives. However, until we decide to fix that, I think a simple fix is to say that kids can stay home (without consequence – they always can, of course) and that children who go to school will be taken outside the play, or can stay inside and use computers, gym, whatever. I’m uncertain as to whether or not catching up on schoolwork should be banned.

    JT Wenting – Never a bad time to beat up on organized labor, I guess. Please remember to give back those things workers have, as a matter of expectation, only because unions one fought for them. Looking more specifically at teacher unions, though, I have two issues with your claim. One – teacher organization is about more than wages. Teacher organization is supposed to protect teachers against misguided policies from administrators and politicians – such as linking pay to standardized test performance, which punishes those who teach thoughtfully. Granted, they didn’t do a great job stopping NCLB, but that has a lot to do with previous attacks on unions. Second, civil service, budgets, and taxes just don’t work the way you claim. If education is done more cheaply, taxpayers don’t get a refund – something else gets funded, usually something I’m against (in my experience.)

    That aside, I’m interesting in what you say about kids demanding a day off every time it is nice out. I hadn’t realized before your comment that this idea had such a great consequence! I think it is great to promote a serf revolt in the schools.

  20. Puzzled May 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Emily at 11:47 – more than likely. I’m not sure why that’s a problem, though. Go back a few generations and people would be outraged that they had the day to play instead of work on the farm. If a kid enjoys the internet more than the outside, so be it, in my opinion. I’m not sure why we adults remain so convinced that we know better than kids how to be kids (although that is likely true when it comes to kids we’ve already ruined or forced to grow up too fast), or what kids should do with their time, or any of that. We are not infallible, we in general haven’t done a great job with our world, and kids are real people. I think we need a lot less of adults thinking they have license to dictate to children simply by virtue of age.

  21. Natalie May 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Right on Amanda and Sarah!
    I’ve never met any parents that sound like what you’ve described, but I certainly do think cliches from The Lifetime channel are horrible! So sad that well-rounded characters in media are so hard to find. Those poor cliched children from those horribly cliched parents! So sad!
    :(
    :(
    Two frowny faces from me!

  22. Justin May 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    When I was in college I had a professor who would always have a class on a patio outside the building we normally met in for the first beautiful day of spring. Best class of the year.

  23. LRH May 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    It sounds like something I’m prone to doing. I’m a warm weather & sunshine person, I absolutely CANNOT stand cloudy weather at all. If I lived in Seattle or Portland I think I’d shoot myself.

    Even in Texas where I’m at we have tendencies with days where it’s cloudy and yet doesn’t rain. To me nothing is more of a waste. If it’s going to be cloudy then go ahead & rain while you’re at it to top up the water tables towards any drought prevention etc. Otherwise if you’re not going to do that then be sunny for crying out loud. Fish or cut bait.

    Once in 2007 (May-July) it rained to the point of breaking all-time records. Days with sunshine, any, were so rare that if such occurred it was all I could not to call in sick for work. There was a whole sense of “it’s sunny, you better go while it’s here because it will be gone in no time.”

    So I can certainly understand what this school did, and I applaud them.

    This is a really nice story, but I bet that at least some of the kids spent that beautiful day in front of a screen.. Not if they were my kids, they’d be kicked outdoors and made to stay there. Well my kids actually like the outdoors, but if they didn’t, I’d make them anyway.

    LRH

  24. Eliza May 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    @Amanda and Sarah, how sad for parents to provide a roof over a child’s head, or to provide 3 meals a day for a child, and to be able to provide the child with luxuries, such as clothes, sports and medical care. Lets not get into the argument of working Mums and Stay at home Mums. I have to work, otherwise my child and I would not have any of those luxuries. I’m also a teacher who has a regular job 1 day a week and the rest of the time I work as a relief teacher, so no job, no pay. Yes it is a pain when your child has a day off and you have to work. Lucky mine is now old enough to stay home by herself and entertain herself. I say “Go School” what a great idea, a day off so we can just enjoy it. Should happen more often. On the really nice days, I like to organise lessons outside with the kids. Landscape art lesson anyone? Joys of being a relief teacher.

  25. Emily May 5, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    I think I agree with the “move the normal school day outside” crowd. There are a lot of ways to do that–nature walks, plein air painting and drawing, reading groups outside, etc. That way, the kids still get to enjoy the sunshine, but parents of younger kids aren’t scrambling for childcare. Also, Puzzled–good point. I don’t think it’s a huge problem if a child prefers the Internet to outside; when I was a kid, there were definitely times when I’d rather read than play outside, regardless of the weather. I just brought up the point, because the school branded it as a day for playing outside, but I was just wondering how many kids actually did.

  26. LadyTL May 5, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Quite a few kids in public schools are children of minimum wage workers in retail and food service these days. In which case, yes an unexpected day off for whatever reason is indeed a bad thing. Retail and food service don’t care why you called off, just that you did a certain number of times. So unexpected days off from school add into days off from school for being sick and can easily get a person fired. Public schools are not filled with only kids of rich or even middle class parents. Schools may not be childcare but yes it is a hassle to find care for your kids when you don’t expect it and can’t afford to take a day off for either money reasons or job security reasons.

  27. Sarah in WA May 6, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    LadyTL, you are absolutely correct.

    “Retail and food service don’t care why you called off, just that you did a certain number of times.” True, and sad, IMO.

    I understand that businesses are businesses and they have services to provide, but why so much lack of understanding when it comes to family obligations? A person’s children are important, right? Well, it seems like they are not given much priority in the US.

    This is evident by the lack of funding in the public school system and low teacher pay in the first place. Children are not a priority in our country in many ways because they do not make money. Schools are not for profit. Also, employers don’t gain anything financially by letting employees take a day off with their kids. So, it doesn’t happen.

    But, as Lenore said, think how grateful the workers would be! Aren’t happier employees better employees? And to punish someone because their children suddenly need their parents (they could be sick, too–that happens) is absurd when you really think about it.

  28. Donna May 6, 2013 at 4:20 am #

    “I understand that businesses are businesses and they have services to provide, but why so much lack of understanding when it comes to family obligations?”

    Because the work still has to get done. If a waitress’ has to call in because her kid’s school closes everyone else has to work harder to cover her work AND tables get waited on slower, making people less likely to come into that restaurant again due to long wait times. Businesses hire enough people to get a work done. There are not spares floating around to do the jobs of parents because their children need them during work hours. It is one thing if your child is legitimately sick, but I don’t really want to do all my work and part of yours because your child needs a day to play in the sun.

    I currently work essentially part time (6 hours a day most days) due to child care issues. This works ONLY because I am my own entity at work. My job doesn’t cross paths with anyone else’s. Nobody has to do my job when I am not there. And I am willing to step up to the plate, even if it means bringing my child into the office, when I need to be there outside my usual hours to get my job done.

    And none of this considers that MANY people are hourly workers. Having to take a day off work for playing in the sun means that a fifth of their paycheck is gone for the week. For people who live paycheck to paycheck, that means that some bill isn’t going to get paid or some meals are going to be skipped.

  29. pentamom May 6, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    “As to schools giving days off because of nice weather, that’s simply silly.
    What if it’s nice for a month running, kids will start expecting to get every day it’s nice off soon.”

    And then they’ll find out that it doesn’t work that way, and the one day off maybe once a year when there’s room in the schedule is just a nice surprise.

    I don’t like the “don’t ever do anything unexpectedly and generously nice for kids because they’ll expect it all the time” approach.

  30. Puzzled May 6, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Sarah – actually, schools are largely for profit. That’s part of why obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed – contracts with Coke, Pizza Hut, and others.

  31. Warren May 6, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Tell you what, cannot afford to give them a day off with pay, but will do what I can.

    We have our May longweekend coming up. Gonna let my guys leave at lunch, to get a jump on traffic, or the lines at the beer or LCBO stores. Work for half the day, and I will pony up for the other half. I will cover any work that rolls into the shop. Usually alot of campers that never checked the tires on the trailer, or RV, before then. It is usually busy enough that Friday afternoon, so I should break even doing the work, and paying my guys.

    Let’s just hope it is a great weather day.

  32. pentamom May 6, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Yes, this probably does work better because it’s a private school. You’re less likely to have a large number of people who can’t take a day off, and in those cases where that is an issue, the community that grows around a private school makes it likely that some other parent you know will be able to take your child for the day if you can’t. It would be difficult, if not unworkable, in a public school, unless planned well in advance.

  33. pentamom May 6, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    “Sarah – actually, schools are largely for profit. That’s part of why obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed – contracts with Coke, Pizza Hut, and others.”

    Not exactly, Even if the contracts, rather than people not teaching their kids to eat properly and monitoring them, are to blame for obesity, they don’t have those contracts for profit, but to cover expenses to keep taxes down or provide amenities that would not be in the budget. For example, some years ago our local district got new turf for the stadium courtesy of one those deals.

  34. Emily, Mom of Independents May 6, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Thank you, Donna. I missed a week of work in January (I’m a casual hourly worker with no benefits) and we’re still recovering. We were “there” until I missed a day last week.

    Not everyone has the resources to take a day off of work. They’re not too committed to their jobs. They’re really committed to having a roof over their children’s heads, food on the table, clothes on bodies.

    Part of the point of Free Ranging it, is that one size doesn’t fit all. Parenting isn’t a black and white contest. We’re all in this trying to get it kinda right.

    Lets not turn this into us vs. them. The majority of their parents actually are doing their okayest.

    My family agrees with noting I do as a parent. The people here wouldn’t agree with everything I do. I spend time here, however, because it’s one place that I don’t have to justify my choices. Let’s please keep it that way.

  35. Natalie May 6, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Emily- I haven’t yet found an on-line parenting community that isn’t overly judgemental of others. These commenters included. I just don’t think a place like that exists. Internet.
    I like your statement about parenting not being one-size fits all. There’s plenty that I don’t agree with about free-range parenting or how some people here interpret it. I take what works for my family.

  36. Puzzled May 6, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Pentamom – so we’re keeping taxes low and still getting what we want by advertising to a captive audience of children? I accept your correction that it isn’t for profit persay, but it still sounds like a deal I expect from crooked businesses.

  37. pentamom May 6, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I think there are a lot of people who would argue with “keeping taxes low,” when it comes to the property taxes that fund education. And “getting what we want” — schools are cutting programs left and right.

    But I’m not endorsing the commercial deals in school — my point was mainly the one you accept, that it’s not about profit as such.

  38. Emily, Mom of Independents May 6, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Natalie, kids aren’t one size fits all, so how could parenting possibly be. My now 5 year old broke his femur walking across our kitchen while we were preparing to move. There was a wet spot from a spill that I missed. A 1 in 200,000 in jury. There was a little boy with the same injury in the ER that night who had also fallen on a wet spot. The surgeon joked that he was going to charge both of us double for messing with his statistics.

    Boy became super fearful of everything because of that injury. He also has motor delays so he’s not “like” the other 5 year olds and it’s visibly obvious.

    This last year has been an amazing one of growth for him. My mother got him a balance bike and he rides that up and down our sidewalk like a pro and it’s given him so much confidence.

    For almost 2 years, he just wasn’t ready for the independence that his older brother saw. I simply couldn’t treat him the same as Big Brother. They’re different children.

  39. Natalie May 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    You should have bought a lottery ticket that day.

  40. Beth May 9, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    @Amanda, judge much? Do you really, really feel that way about EVERY working parent? Dads too? How does your family get by without an income?