Monday, February 08, 2010

The idiocy of Minnesota's schools

My day began in the small Minnesota River Valley city of LeSueur. Of course I had to drive there to begin with which sucked but driving back to my office in the metro sucked much more than I can even begin to describe here.

I busied myself, trapped behind a three-wide MNDot snowplow assault on U.S. Highway 169 for 20+ miles, by endlessly scanning through the FM radio dial. Stopping at one point, I heard a Mankato FM station (Hot 96.7) rattling off a few school closings. I was on the road heading back to my office between 9 and 10 AM and the majority of these school early releases being aired were before noon.

Assuming that most schools begin between 8 and 9 AM, this boils down to a nice half-day for kids in many parts of outstate Minnesota. The confusing part was that more than a few of these early closings were around 9:30 AM! Yeah, that means that after the wheels on the bus went 'round and 'round on roads that were already fairly shitty, they have to turn around 90 minutes later and slip and slide down barely visible country roads to take the little brats back home.

What the hell changed so much in a mere 90 minutes to change the mind of school administrators in these mainly small towns? Did the near-whiteout conditions become a total whiteout? Did they actually listen to a weather forecast and hear the part about another 6 or so inches of snow falling throughout the day complete with some wind to further fuck up the already sketchy situation?

The point is that these schools get at least some money for bringing the kids in to the buildings for even a partial day. And some money for the day is better than none. But isn't the safety of kids, which these school are entrusted with, the highest priority? Shouldn't safety trump money any day of the week? What happens when someone makes a bad call and sends the kids home too late and a bus rolls over on an icy, unplowed road and all 38 kids die? Wouldn't it have been a better call to keep the kids home if the weather already sucked before sunrise and was predicted to keep getting worse as the day dragged on? And, really, how many schools a mere one county south of the Twin Cities will actually stick it out and keep the kids in class for a full day?

But all of the Winter weather makes for interesting photos at MinnPics. Check out the stunning photos of Minnesota today!

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