This year grades were supposed to close on June 14th - the last day of school. However, due to budgetary constraints, that timeline has been pushed forward to June 6th. This 8 day loss strikes at the heart of the debate: do we as a community care about money or do we care about education?
To: School Reform Commission
440 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
May 2, 2012
Dear members of the School Reform Commission,
I am writing again to share another concern I have with policy in the School District of Philadelphia. There has recently been an unfortunate change in procedure regarding this year’s report card system that is going to negatively impact our students. While teachers were originally given until June 14th (the last day of school) to calculate and input our grades, that date has been changed to June 6th. While I would like students to take school seriously even after grades have been submitted, from experience I know this not to be true. Therefore, it seems that instead of 180 days of instruction, this decision has subtracted 6 days from that number.
I understand there are budgetary limitations and any corner that can be cut might help the bottom line. If cost savings is the goal, reducing money spent on postage will help. That being said, shouldn’t the well-being and learning of our students be the bottom line? If so, we should be striving to maintain their focus for as long as possible; this new decision does the exact opposite.
As a math teacher I wonder about the numbers behind everything. In this case, it seems that the costs of mailing report cards home after June 14th are negligible compared with the benefits of six more days of instruction. At $0.45 per letter, to send report cards to 150,000 in Philadelphia would cost $67,500 in postage. At $0.06 per business-sized envelope, that adds $9000 to the cost.
Therefore, it seems we are sacrificing six full days of instruction for a small gain of $76,500. I urge you to find cost savings somewhere else or attempt to raise money from a Philadelphia-based foundation to compensate. Something as specific as this is sure to have potential donors.
One Letter Per Day Campaign