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September 27, 2005

Snow Daze

President Bush singled out Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue for praise yesterday because the chief executive of our state called on all of the public schools in the state to use two of its snow days, Monday and Tuesday, in order to conserve diesel fuel.

This decision was communicated to the schools at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, so the kids came home for the weekend with a slip of paper announcing their great news and an unexpected two-day vacation.

There weren’t many people in Georgia singing Perdue’s praises, however, except the school children. Although the governor was no doubt trying to exert leadership and preempt shortages, when Rita failed to destroy as it was expected to, the snow days looked silly. And for parents who had to miss work because there wasn’t time to make other arrangements, the decision was maddening.

The irony is even greater when you know that Georgia’s public schools are routinely ranked #49 or #50 in the country (sometimes the state can brag: We beat Alabama!) What does it say about education priorities when sending the kids home is the first line of conservation.

Perdue gained some political capital earlier in the month when he lifted the state gasoline tax, to bring post-Katrina gasoline price back below $3 a gallon. He’s mismanaged that good will away.

This is all an exercise in controlling perceptions and panics. Two days off school or the Governor carpooling to the State House are not going to make a significant difference. The President suggested a number of similar “band-aid” measures yesterday.

We need more leadership to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, on all fossil fuels, and on one region of the country for refining oil. We need more refineries. And we need to fast track the moribund nuclear power industry.

In the meantime, just calm down. And let the kids go back to school.

Posted by Jim at September 27, 2005 08:37 AM

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One word: Homeschool. >smile

We're already saving gas, and are used to having the kids at home.

I know, I know, this isn't an option for everyone. Just thought I'd mention one more reason it can be a good idea.

Posted by: Doug Payton at September 27, 2005 09:18 AM

Heh. Homeschooling was the first thought that occurred to me.

Posted by: Kent at September 27, 2005 01:51 PM

Telecommuting is nice, too. I'm saving at least 200 miles per week that used to go toward driving back and forth to work.

Posted by: eLarson at September 27, 2005 02:22 PM

Same here (nice to work in a softwre company with bosses that trust us), and about the same mileage savings. I still go in once or twice a week as needed, but that's still 150-200 miles per week saved.

Posted by: Doug Payton at September 27, 2005 03:24 PM

First, I didn't approve of Perdue's removal of the gasoline tax - something that encouraged us to continue using fuel as usual.

And I strenuously object to the school children of Georgia being shortchanged on the possibility that something "might" happen. Some county school systems build "snow days" into the school year, meaning that - if there is no snow - the school kids actually have "bonus" instruction days. Additionally, the Fall Semester generally expects no snow days meaning that the Fall Semester has been shorted for a number of counties. In some counties, the kids were instructed to show up Wednesday with homework for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday completed - that tests scheduled for Wednesday would be taken Wednesday, meaning that many of the kids will be tested on material never covered in class - that being the only way to stay on the Fall Schedule and complete that semester by Christmas. I am a faithful Republican, but voted for Perdue without enthusiasm, primarily because I thought he was just dumb enough to do something like this. Whatever "secret" energy information he had, an immediate short changing of our children's education surely was not the answer.

We in Georgia badly need someone to run against and, hopefully, defeat Perdue in next years' primary, then to beat Cox or Taylor in the general election.

Posted by: Fran at September 27, 2005 03:40 PM