Boycott on First Day of School by City Parents

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    While standardized test scores have improved on the margins, California public school students continue to underperform.

    It seems as if the kids aren't the only ones who don't want school to start today.

    An awkward calendar schedule, in which Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah fall within days of each other has created an strange school schedule where students showed up today for just one day before getting the rest of the week off.  Due to the Jewish holiday,  students are off Thursday and Friday and don't return until Monday.

    Parents who say that the school day will be a waste with very little teaching have turned to Facebook to protest.


    The Mothers Agenda NY, on their Facebook page released a statement saying, "We are calling for a Boycott on September 8th of all NYC Public Schools. Summer vacation ends when parents send their children back to school on Monday, September 13th."

    "I'm totally against the start date. It's ridiculous," said Maria Dougherty, whose 14-year old son, Thomas, will enter his sophomore year at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts HS in Astoria, Queens, to the New York Post. "I told my son that it was up to him. What's usually a slightly wasteful day is now a total waste."

    School officials, however, have called the strike both "irresponsible" and "damaging to students."
     
    In a press conference, Mayor Bloomberg lamented both that the calendar fell that way and also that the teachers union would not accept a plan from the DOE to move the first day of school to September 13th, while moving the last day of school year to June 9th.
     
    "I'm sorry that we could not come to an agreement with the UFT," he said today. "And it's unfortunate the calendar worked out that way…but it is what it is, and I would expect a reasonably high attendance."

    Others are not as optimistic as the mayor. "It's just going to be a day of baby-sitting...I expect that a third of the kids won't even show up," James Eterno, a social-studies teacher at Jamaica HS, told the Post. "So I understand [the boycott], but I don't necessarily endorse it."

    But some parents are looking on the bright side, especially for children who are just entering the school system.

    “If you can introduce them to the environment, then have them spend the holiday at home, they can start the week fresh,” said Brian Craven, 28, whose son is starting pre-kindergarten at Public School 130 to the New York Times. “He can go home and take it all in.”