Excerpt from an e-mail I sent today to DCPS:
I would like to volunteer to help DCPS with any advisory committee that exists, or to help form one, regarding policies for snow days, late starts and professional-development days. I believe that as a parent who has been in DCPS for the last several years, as a classroom “parent,” and as the full-time working husband of a full-time working wife without child care or immediate family in the area, and who evenly splits childcare responsibilities with his spouse, that I could offer a useful perspective in guiding DCPS policy in this area.
My wife and I believe that DCPS has too many snow days in many school years as well as professional development days. We are very strong supporters of DCPS in actions and words (she has also volunteered as both a room parent and room-parent coordinator, and we also volunteer outside DCPS). But we are disappointed that the somewhat frequent snow days and late school starts, combined with the number of professional-development days within the school year, wreck havoc on our lives and work schedules. And that’s not to mention the disruption in education and socialization.
Our other concern is that parents less fortunate than us, who work for an hourly wage and may have limited or no childcare backup, are put in an even
more difficult economic situation than us when they have to miss a day of work and possibly reduce their income, or, assuming they can find someone,
pay what may be a significant portion of their daily wages to a child-care provider. This may happen every time a snow day is declared, or a late start occurs, or a professional-development day is held within the school year (as opposed to before the start of classes for the school year or after classes have concluded for the school year).
Because we realize that to an extent when DCPS declares snow days or late starts is outside the system’s control, I would hope to help the system also coordinate in particular with the departments of Public Works and Transportation to increase plowing of sidewalks and roads between every school and the closest Metro station.
We also hope that, when there is a delayed start or a snow day, that the DCPS Twitter feed, not to mention the email distribution lists, will nearly simultaneously with the mayor’s office announcing it disclose such news.