“I did not think this one would be that controversial,” state Senator Janne Myrdal (R-District 10) said of her bill, SB2220, during a floor debate.
I didn’t think it would be controversial either.
The change is pretty simple. Under current law if a school wants to waive the obligation to make up days lost due to extreme weather they have to petition the governor. Which seems silly. Why can’t that decision be made by the local school board which is accountable to local voters?
That’s just what Myrdal’s bill would have done. Instead of the governor deciding, the local school board could opt to waive making up days missed because of “extreme weather” or other emergencies. They would have to notify the Department of Public Instruction of any days waived.
But the bill got panned in the Senate Education Committee, receiving a 5-0 “do not pass” recommendation.
Senator Don Schaible (R-Mott) carried the committee’s recommendation to the floor. He said schools already have the ability to put weather days into their schedules (off days they can turn into school days if need be), saying “only in the most extraordinary circumstances” should days be waived. Thus the committee thought it appropriate that school boards should have to petition the governor for waivers.
But Myrdal pointed out a simple reality of school make up days, noting that when her kids had to make up a day this school year they didn’t get a lot of instruction. “That day our children watched movies,” she said.
That’s been my experience, too, as both a student and parent in North Dakota. If schools aren’t prepared to offer instruction on make up days, what’s the point of requiring them? Why not give school boards some flexibility to waive them?
Can we not trust local school boards to do what’s in the best interest for local schools and children?
Apparently the state Senate doesn’t think so. The bill failed on a 10-36 vote.
Here’s video of the floor debate: