Commuting and schools

So, a union representing elementary teachers wants teachers to get snow days–whenever school buses are cancelled, the argument is that the school should close and teachers should stay home.

This is a pretty merit-less request, as the Citizen‘s David Reevely points out. There are, as I see it, three basic arguments against this proposal:

1. Other people have to go to work, so they should too (this would be a rather flimsy and petty reason).

2. There’s other work that teachers can do, even if kids aren’t there.

3. Not all kids ride school buses.

It’s this third point that deserves a little closer inspection. Obviously, we all know that some kids don’t ride school buses. Lots of kids take public transportation, walk, bike or get rides from their parents, however the implicit underpinning of the union’s request is that busing–and by extension, commuting–is rightfully the status quo. There’s no wiggle room for non-bus riders in the proposed policy.

This is what it means to live in a commuter culture, having our infrastructure and our public institutions constructed to primarily serve those who commute. This proposal goes even further, as it would structure a public institution to primarily and solely serve one particular commuting class.

Thankfully, there is no real chance of this being implemented.

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