First it was the PTA Meetings at 9:00am. Then it was the Halloween Party at 10:30am. Today, it’s early release on Election Day. And for the rest of the week, it’s Parent-Teacher conferences. This week, my San Jose Unified Elementary school is functioning on “half-days” to account for Parent-Teacher conferences. That means my son is only in school from 8:58am to 1:05pm. Four hours and seven minutes. When I take into consideration the time it takes to drop him off and pick him up, I’m getting about three and half hours of work time before all hell breaks loose (aka the kids are home from school).
I totally get the importance of the Parent-Teacher conferences. I appreciate getting to sit with my child’s teacher for 20 minutes and talking exclusively about my child’s strengths, weaknesses, and progress in the Third Grade. But those 20 minutes of 1:1 time with our teacher are far outweighed by the inconvenience to find alternative childcare for every afternoon.
I’m incredibly lucky to have the ability to work from home for a Fortune 100 company. I have a lot of flexibility in setting my hours. But lots of families aren’t as lucky. Every family I know as at least one working parent. We live in an affluent area, but I’ve yet to meet a family with parents who retired rich in their 30s or 40s.
It seems to me that elementary schools would be looking at ways, especially when its a Parent Teacher Conference, to include everyone. Volunteer times that are only during business hours or conferences that run from 1:30 to 3:30 every day are not friendly hours to the working parents of our community. I understand why teachers schedule it that way… it’s easier for them! But a whole group of parents is being excluded while those in charge of the school calendar are making it only convenient for them.
Which makes me wonfer if elemenatry schools hate working parents?