Thursday, March 11, 2010

Realistically Speaking...

Realistically speaking, if it was not CSAP week, the kids probably would not have had school yesterday due to the roads being so bad; that would have avoided the serious bus accident that Isabella was in.  And in a realistic world I wouldn't know that if I went to the school board to complain about seat belts in the buses that they would just pull the bus routes and it would make the commutes much more dangerous for us all.  Sometimes I hate speaking realistically.
Isabella is okay, thankfully, I may have to take her to the doctor, as usual I am writing this very early in the morning.  The accident was just yesterday morning on the elementary route on the way to school.  Due to the testing schedules, the high school had a late start and one of them slid into the back of the stopped elementary kids and threw them pretty good.  Five kids were removed on stretchers and three of them taken down the mountain in ambulances, we are not sure if the other two just went with their parents or what.  By the time I went to have lunch with Bella, one of the girls was back at school with a neck collar, and we have heard from her brother that one of the girls has broken ribs and a concussion.
Okay, so my point is this, we have had snow days for much less snow than this, and I strongly suspect that this darn testing is behind it.  I don't like the standardized testing anyway.  I think the free snacks the kids get during testing should go to the less fortunate kids year round and the candy rewards are over the top!  The extra recesses are nice, but come on!  My kids think these CSAP testing days are like days off of school!  Again, being on committees at school I see the benefits of our schools getting ratings of excellence on these tests, I know in the "real" world  we have to play the game, but I feel it goes too far when we are busing our kids to school on unsafe roads.
As far as seat belts go, I did a little research on school bus safety statistics because even the kids have asked me many times why buses are not required to have seat belts; and as a matter of fact many of ours do, but only in the front couple of seats for the very little kids.  I found an interesting article at WebMD that had this to say about how bus seats are built:
A key safety concept in full-sized school buses is called "compartmentalization." The thickly padded bench seats are spaced close together and have high backs, creating a compartment that protects passengers in a collision.
It's big, it's yellow, and it's covered in flashing lights; it even comes equipped with it's very own stop sign. School buses are as safe as they come, and on another website, Kaboose, the statistics speak for themselves:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "school buses are the safest motor vehicles on the highways." Children are nearly eight times safer riding a school bus than with their own parents or peers, and school buses have a fatality rate of 0.2 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, compared with 1.5 for cars.
And not only that, I can't imagine the costs that would be involved in putting seat belts into our rather old bus fleet.  As I mentioned,  I worry that the costs would just be too much for a school district that is facing monumental cuts as it is.  I would be worried that our district would just choose to cut transportation all together and have us all transport our kids ourselves (which I also understand many of our very low income families could not, or would not do), and as the statistics show, that puts us in no better shape.  So, realistically speaking, as a parent, I will call my district and complain about the fact that they are having school again today after another night of snow, I guess they didn't learn their lesson after the bus accident yesterday and the testing is still all important!  And, realistically speaking, as a committee member I understand the costs and benefits of some of these things and will tell myself them over and over as I sit at the doctors office with my daughter today now that she is up and I know for sure that is where we are headed.  Realistically speaking, of course.


Daisy said...

Stupid &*$!!! testing. It's a case of the tail wagging the dog.

Tiffany said...

I am glad Bella was okay! And I didn't realize the kids were hurt so badly. They told us the kids were transported "just to be safe." I agree totally that we should have had a snow day! Yikes!

But I also have to add this... In our defense, I have to point out that the testing is not optional. We have to do it. The snacks and recesses are to make it more tolerable. It is absolutely unbearable to sit in utter silence for that long. It may feel like a day off to your bright boys, but for most kids, it's really draining. The kids (and I) are exhausted. And we don't give them candy "rewards". We give them a peppermint candy during each session, because brain research indicates that peppermint stimulates brain activity, and helps maintain focus and attention. Most of us hate the whole thing too, but we are trying to do what we can to make the best of it. Just had to throw that in. You know I love you! (-:

Mishaun Search said...

Judy, I have a question for you. We are homeschooling and I think we can do these tests at home. We mail them in. It may be a different set of tests since my kids are not that old yet, I haven't gone through the process. However, couldn't you just say no, my child isn't going out in unsafe conditions and we would be happy to do them at home and mail them in? Or possibly do a make up session? Don't you have to right to pull her from school if you feel the conditions aren't safe? Take care! M

Daisy said...

to Mishaun Search: it's highly doubtful that a high-stakes test would be released to take at home. We (teachers in Wisconsin) have such strict security that we keep the test booklets locked in the school vault when kids aren't actively testing. We can't even set the booklets on student desks and then leave to use the bathroom; it's not leaving the test booklets secure.

lfhpueblo said...

Heads up.....They give all the kids snacks on testing day to up the glucose levels so the brain has this as fuel. Some studies have shown that children that have a snack that will up glucose (sugar) that our brains require as fuel, do better on tests.
They want to up the kids score, so they can prove no child is being left behind. Well, maybe for just the testing days anyways.
Yep, Colorado has snow days built into the school length each year, so why not use them. I mean testing shouldn't override common sense. Yet, maybe they don't have common sense because they didn't get their little snack, so their brains have no fuel to think.