ERIC Number: ED441640
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Long School Bus Rides: Stealing the Joy of Childhood.
Every school day, hundreds of West Virginia children ride school buses much longer than state guidelines say they should. Under those guidelines, no elementary student should be on the bus more than 30 minutes one way, middle school students 45 minutes, and high school students 1 hour. In fall 1999, public hearings about school transportation times were held in four counties: Preston, Webster, Ritchie, and Lincoln. In three of these counties, most community schools have been closed or consolidated, and over half of the students ride buses in excess of state guidelines. During the past 10 years, over a fourth of West Virginia's public schools have been closed in the name of efficiency, and the state of West Virginia operates the most expensive transportation system in the nation, based on cost per pupil and cost per mile. Testimony at the hearings suggests that the people paying the highest price for the state policy supporting fewer schools and longer bus rides are some of the state's youngest citizens from its poorest families. Testimony from parents and students described wasted time, huge wasted portions of human lives spent on school buses; children too tired to perform well in school or to pursue higher-level work; children left out of extracurricular activities and accompanying benefits; and lost family time that affects family relationships. Testimony also addressed the health and safety of children during long, sometimes hazardous, bus rides and examined the myth that school consolidation would result in greater class offerings. Facts from a state-sponsored transportation study are listed. (SV)
Descriptors: Bus Transportation, Costs, Disadvantaged, Distance, Elementary Secondary Education, Parent Attitudes, Public Schools, Quality of Life, Rural Areas, Rural Education, Rural Schools, School Closing, Student Attitudes, Student Transportation
For full text: http://www.wvcovenanthouse.org/challengewv/resources.html.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Covenant House, Charleston, WV.
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia