Why school start times need to be left alone

UPDATE: After four meetings, the CCISD School Start Time Committee (SSTAC) recommended moving the school start times to 20 minutes later. This poses several problems:

  1. The whole point of later school start times was for the high school kids to get more sleep, right? Twenty minutes isn’t going to make a difference.
  2. Now high school kids are going to be thrown right into commuter traffic. More kids driving in it, and more bus drivers dealing with it.
  3. Working elementary school parents will now have to either re-negotiate work start times with their bosses to get their kids to school for the later start time, or they’ll have to pay for daycare drop-off. That adds up.
  4. Intermediate school kids, in some cases, won’t get home until nearly 5 p.m. That eats into their homework and extracurricular time.

If you think this is a bad idea, please fill out the survey and attend the meeting on Tuesday, October 22 (which CCISD has kindly scheduled for 6 p.m., kind of inconvenient for working parents who will be the most affected).

Original post: Leave school start times alone

In case you missed it, after a bunch of parents and so-called experts spoke out at Board of Trustee meetings (and likely wrote a lot of letters), Clear Creek ISD formed a School Start Time Committee (SSTAC). The purpose of this committee is to determine if changes are necessary for elementary, intermediate, and high school start times for the 2020-21 school year.  

We can answer that in one word: NO. Here’s why:

CCISD can’t get its busing right

Clear Creek ISD, at press time, is still short a LOT of bus drivers. There aren’t enough to drive the routes. Transportation is a big concern for a lot of parents in the district, and if CCISD doesn’t stagger start times like it does now, a lot of kids will be left hanging.

Later start time for high school = later dismissal

And this just doesn’t work at all. Here are all the reasons why a later dismissal won’t work for high school students:

  1. It takes away afternoon time that could be used for homework or extracurricular activities. Other high schools in the area have an early dismissal, so it would be more difficult to, for example, hold sporting events during the week.
  2. High school students often are responsible for caring for younger family members. If they’re getting home after said younger family members, this adds another problem for parents to deal with.
  3. It will be more difficult for high school students to have part-time jobs. We don’t know about the folks who want a later school start time, but some of us needed to have part-time jobs in high school. That’s how we saved for college, paid for our car insurance, and in some cases, helped put food on our family’s table.

Elementary schoolers can’t be out in the dark

For goodness sake, what would we do, move the elementary school start time so that the little kids are waiting for their buses in the dark? It’s bad enough that CCISD thinks two miles is an acceptable distance for a kindergartener to walk to school.

Middle schoolers are too old for daycare

If you shuffle middle schoolers to an earlier start time, then what happens? They get out of school earlier. But they’re too old for daycare, and many daycares don’t even pick up at the intermediate schools! However, for the most part, they’re mature enough to be left alone at home for about an hour or so while their parents drive home from work. But if they’re getting home earlier, that ends up being too long of a stretch, and most parents aren’t comfortable with that at all. And many of them are not mature enough to care for younger siblings, as high schoolers are.

We’d love to know what’s being discussed at these SSTAC meetings. However, in typical CCISD fashion, the meeting minutes are not being posted in a timely manner. Transparency and CCISD are not good friends, apparently.

We must go to the public hearing.

To keep CCISD from making a terrible decision, we need to turn out en masse to the sole public hearing that CCISD will have on school start times. (That’s right, one hearing. One for a decision that would affect 42,000 students.)

The public hearing is Tuesday, October 22 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (so convenient for the working parents who will be affected the most!) he public meeting will be held at:

CCISD Learner Support Center
2903 Falcon Pass
Houston, Texas, 77062

More information can be found here: https://ccisd.net/UserFiles/Servers/Server_645402/File/Calendar/SSTC-Flyer.pdf

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