Even with three young kids, there is something so blissful about Sunday morning. And, there’s something so satisfying about your internal clock (or your early bird 5-year-old) waking you up at your usual time — around 6 a.m. — then falling back to sleep for a couple more hours while your darling children devour the juice boxes and granola bars that you were saving for lunches this week and watch whatever the newest Netflix recommendation may be.
Last Sunday, I happened to grab my phone and breeze through my email during that 6 a.m. moment of wakefulness. Obviously, the weekend of unplugging worked wonders.
Here are the basics of the email that caught my eye, even through the crusted-on mascara from the night before: (my own interpretation, obviously)
Hi, Overly Involved Parent Who Signs Up for Emails Like This!
Seattle Public Schools is considering switching high school and elementary school start times next year and we think this is fantastic! Please take this survey and tell us which proposed elementary school start time would work best for you!
Love and kisses!
People Who Don’t Have Kids in Elementary School
At first, my sleepy little head thinks that this could be great! A couple of years ago, they pushed our Seattle Public School K–8 start time back to 9:20 a.m., which has been tricky to manage. I dream of the days when school started at 8:30 a.m., also leaving more time after-school for activities and, my favorite, early bedtimes!
Then I saw the survey.
Click here if you think that a 7:30 a.m. elementary start time would work for your family! (Enthusiasm assumed.)
I’ll be honest with you. I swore when I saw that suggestion. A good swear too. Not a measly one.
It gets even better.
Click here if a 7:30 am elementary start time would mean that you would no longer need before-school childcare! (Ditto with the enthusiasm on this one.)
Trust me, I am completely empathetic to parents who need to employ before-school childcare options because there is no way that, with a 9:20 a.m. start time, for example, they can wait until nearly 10 a.m. to get to work. This is the real world after all.
But, let’s do the math (my second grader helped me on this one).
Q: Janie starts school at 9:30 a.m. and gets out of school at 3:30 p.m. How many hours a day is Janie in school?
A: Six hours
Q: If for some insane reason, Janie now starts school at 7:30 a.m., what time will she get out of school?
A: 1:30 p.m.
Sorry. Did you just choke on your coffee? I should have warned you.
I fully understand the plight of the American teenager. I understand that there are studies that suggest that allowing them to start school later in the morning, letting them rest up from that late-night text session with their BFF, is beneficial to their learning. I was a teenager once. I remember what it was like.
Beyond that, it will be the blink of an eye before I have teenagers of my own and it will likely be me sending out those surveys for poor, bewildered elementary school parents to curse at. Call it the parenting circle of life, if you will.
However, I’m currently the mother of three young children, which means that it is impossible for me to see past the next public potty training accident. I can’t see beyond that potential 7:30 a.m. start time and even more so, past that earlier than early potential afternoon release time. My solace lies in the confidence that the parents of Seattle’s elementary school population will likely shut down this proposed start time quicker than my 3-year old can devour those Trader Joe’s chocolate covered potato chips that I was hiding in my sock drawer.
Until then, please forward all future 6 a.m. Sunday emails to my spam folder.
Note for Parents: The email and survey I received were generated from Start School Later Seattle. You can find the survey, in its entirety here. To voice your opinion directly to Seattle Public Schools regarding upcoming decisions on school start times, please contact your District's School Board Member.