Lower electric bills come at high costs

v  By Claire Toomey  

   Finals after winter break? Really? Do people seriously expect us to study on our days off? Who came up with this?

   Starting last year our school schedule was majorly reconstructed. School starts later in August, first semester doesn’t come to an end until after winter break, and second semester doesn’t end until June. This year is somewhat better than last because we have a week of review after we come back before finals opposed to the two days allotted last year. But, students are still not in favor of this alteration.

   It is understood that we are supposed to embrace any education we have as an opportunity to learn and most of the time that happens, but that doesn’t give incentive to sit down and spend two weeks of winter break studying for tests. We also realize that if we were to have finals before winter break we would have to rush and cram in a whole semester of material in two weeks less than we would have normally. But it still doesn’t make sense. It would be much better to continue learning at a fast pace and actually feel like we have a break when we get off of school. Knowing finals are awaiting our arrival when we come back just changes the whole spirit of having two weeks off. Why do we have to start school later? It seems to me that the schedule has only caused more stress rather than relieve problems.

   One argument behind this state mandated change is that very large sums of money can be saved if we start school later in August and end in the first week of June. As August is the hottest month of the year in Texas, air conditioning bills are through the roof. By taking out two weeks in August and moving them to the end of the school year in the end of May/beginning of June, millions of dollars will be saved. But should the cost of lowering electric bills come at the cost of hindering our education? We think not!

   Students just don’t understand the driving force behind this change. It’s not like final grades are benefiting from this. Honestly it’s just a little difficult for everyone to stop in the middle of a six weeks, have a two week break, and then come back like we didn’t miss a day of school. Then to top it off, we are expected to take a test over a whole semester that should have ended before the break even started. It just doesn’t make sense. The school schedule should have never been changed.

            Because it is a state mandated change, the districts’ hands are tied because we have to go by what the state says as far as the date we start school. But, the district does control the semester schedule. Basically this is a plea to the district administration to make our semesters more practical. Can we cut a few days off thanksgiving break or something? People would be content if we went back to having three days off for thanksgiving if it meant being able to have finals at a logical time. A few districts were able to have finals before winter break; Austin ISD was able to. Therefore, it is possible, and we should be able to find a way to make our schedule more accommodating for students.