When a few dozen parents showed up this week for a Brazosport ISD board meeting, we took an approach we have taken often over the years — glad to see so many people engaged but wished they had done so earlier, before the school district had spent several weeks of time and resources to implement a plan to lengthen the school day they had approved a month before.
In the case of Wednesday’s editorial, however, we could have made the points better, without appearing to scold parents who have legitimate concerns about an important decision district leaders made. That was not our intent, and we apologize for how it came across.
By school district standards, the decision to add 30 minutes to the school day moved quickly. Given the foundation for the move — lost face-to-face instruction time to the pandemic that needs to be made up in the coming school year — there wasn’t much time for sloth before taking action. Given that every American has been more than a little distracted from routines since mid-March, that board teleconferences didn’t make blip on their attention span is understandable.
With the pandemic fog starting to lift, light hit a decision parents didn’t like and they reacted as soon as it did.
The result is a few dozen parents took time out of their Monday night to address officials about how a longer school day would affect their children and their families, an action that is laudable. That the school district moved its meeting location to accommodate them shows the board and administrators were open to hearing the parents’ case.
It has the making of a possible compromise between two well-intentioned sides who both have the same goal — to ensure students in their charge receive the best possible education possible without sacrificing other important parts of their lives. Discussions on how best to achieve that aim should continue, preferably through conference calls, face-to-face meetings and emails.
As is our mission, we will do our best to keep the community informed about the ideas exchanged and the final result of any discussions between parents and district leadership. We also will continue to tell people the when, where and what of government meetings so the public knows what their leaders have planned and when they will talk about it.
Those who think the bare information is enough can find it at the official websites of school districts and government entities — by state law if they have a website, meeting information must be posted there with enough lead time for people to attend. Those who’d like some context can find it on our pages.
Either option will tell residents how they can be engaged in local decision-making, and it’s an opportunity as many people as possible should take. We all have a stake in the outcomes, and we should be proactive about what our leaders are up to by getting involved and staying involved.