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Bring back the promotion ceremonies

Posted: April 4, 2010 9:23 p.m.
Updated: April 5, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
As the mother of an eighth grader in the William S. Hart Union High School District, and as a veteran elementary schoolteacher in the Santa Clarita Valley, I was appalled by the board members’ decision to cancel all of the eighth-grade promotion ceremonies.  

First of all, I do not buy into the district’s rationale.  

While I understand the budget crisis all too well (several of my very capable colleagues will not have jobs next year; the number of students in my own classroom as well as in my own children’s classrooms will increase to outrageous numbers, etc.) the Hart district’s claim that it spends $40,000 per year on the promotion ceremonies is absurd.  

If some of the junior high schools are paying money to hold their ceremonies off school grounds and/or after school hours, these situations can be changed.  

In addition, the eighth-graders’ parents were never asked to contribute anything (money, supplies, services, etc.) to offset the cost. In difficult economic times it is certain that some families would not be able to contribute; however, many of us could and would. Why weren’t we ever asked?  

Moreover, as a California public school employee, I understand the need to raise the public’s awareness of the severity of the budget crisis.  

My employer has scheduled mid-week furlough days for the 2010-11 school year to alert our largely working-class parent population to the situation. I fully believe that the Hart district board members’ decision to cancel junior high school promotion ceremonies only a few weeks before they were to occur, is yet another means to “get parents’ attention!”  

If this step was only a money-saving technique, then why wasn’t it announced earlier in the year?

Furthermore, the district is claiming that the decision will save valuable instructional time.  

Let’s be realistic. How much real instruction time is there during the last week (or in this case 1 1/2 days) of school?

In conclusion, if the Hart district still maintains that it is working in the best interest of its students, then I hope the board reconsiders its decision to cancel the eighth grade promotion ceremonies.

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