An Emotional Appeal to American School Districts (in 1000 words or less)

A purpose of education and our schools should be to replace an empty mind with an open one. Science, when done right, helps fulfill this purpose.

This year, 2017, brings a great opportunity for all American schools. They can help serve their purpose by arranging their school year such that every child gets an opportunity to watch an extraordinary natural event: The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017. This Total Solar Eclipse is happening on Monday August 21, 2017. Unfortunately, this is likely to collide with the start of a new school year. However, we know that cosmos does not care. It is destined to happen on this date under the dark sun on this date and these times: Start at about 10:19 am in Madras, Oregon and end at about 2:43 pm in Columbia, South Carolina. All that can be rearranged (among many, many other things) is our school year.

So, here’s an appeal: Please consider starting the school year not before Wednesday, August 23 2017. This might be one of the best decisions taken during your school year 2017! We have some time to go, so act now.

This natural song-and-dance that we are about to witness is not an everyday, every-year, or every-decade phenomenon. If you are still not convinced and think that there could be another solar eclipse that everyone can find time and opportunity to go to, then you are encouraging deferring something so special to an unknown time in future. Yes, it is true that we know exactly when the future total solar eclipses are going to happen, but encouraging people to attend those in favor of this one is a suboptimal decision because

  1. The next one is expected on April 8, 2024. But that is springtime and we don’t know if cloud gods will favor us. The one after that is expected on August 12, 2045.
  2. On August 21 this year, the past weather patterns suggest that we can expect clear skies.
  3. Total solar eclipse is very different from partial solar eclipse (even a 99% one).

I cannot believe that my friends who are parents say that they would have attended this phenomenon only if the schools were not to interfere. I want you not to give them any such excuse.

Marc Nussbaum suggests the following in his book (buy the book!):

May I count on you?