Rich Tucker

President Bush is wrong.

“Gov. Perdue of Georgia, I thought, showed leadership by saying, ‘We’ve got to anticipate a problem, here’s what we need to do to correct it,’” the president recently told reporters. Well, Bush is correct that Sonny Perdue showed leadership. But he’s wrong to praise that leadership, because Perdue’s leading us in the wrong direction.

Perdue asked local school districts to cancel classes on Sept. 26 and 27. He called the days off “snow days,” but they were really “hurricane days,” called to save fuel after Hurricane Rita slowed down refineries on the Gulf Coast. “[The closings] will save almost 500,000 gallons in diesel fuel,” Perdue announced. Plus, he added, the state will save energy by closing the school buildings.

Here’s an idea: Let’s save even more fuel and energy. Let’s simply close schools down altogether. Sure, we’d be sacrificing our children’s future, but at least we’d save energy in the present.

The real problem here is that nobody -- not the state, not the parents, not the students -- seems serious about education.

“I won’t be getting any work done at all,” one parent complained about the closure. “I don’t have child care!” another whined. As if the biggest problem here is the disruption to their schedule. Meanwhile, students went to roller rinks, golf courses, malls, etc. Very educational.

Some parents put their finger on the problem. “We didn’t think it was the best solution for conserving gas,” Randy Faigin David told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Education is always the first thing to get cut.”

“Georgia needs to do everything it can to improve its education status,” parent Elizabeth Hanna told the paper. She’s right. Think about it this way: Could your employer simply shut down on a Monday and Tuesday to save fuel?

Somehow factories, dry cleaners, supermarkets and doughnut shops across Georgia and across the country managed to remain open, even with higher fuel costs. That’s because they’re serious about their business, and they realize that if they close for a few days, they might be closed for good.

On the other hand, we close schools when there’s an inch of snow or a hurricane in another state, and most parents get worked up not because their children are missing valuable educational time, but because they’re now required to find something to do with their children.

It’s no surprise our students aren’t learning enough. We’re not giving them a chance.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for