Make it a day well spent

Parents are accustomed to having to make other child-care arrangements when public schools are closed at short notice. It is impossible to do much advance planning for snowstorms.

So West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s action Tuesday, in declaring that schools would be closed Wednesday as West Virginians joined the nation in mourning the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, presented a challenge of the kind with which we are not unfamiliar.

Justice acted on the spur of the moment out of a sincere desire to demonstrate his fellow West Virginians’ high regard for the late President Bush. For that reason, criticism of what he did is not warranted. A suggestion, however, would not be out of place: Should a similar situation occur again, using the school day as a special educational time, rather than a holiday, might be a better course.

Few public school students spent even part of Wednesday learning more about Bush, we suspect. For them, it was just a day off from class.

How much better it would have been if they had been at school discussing the life and times of a man who has been described as our last gentleman president.

Dealing with that curriculum challenge would have been more difficult for younger children, of course. But surely the many creative teachers in our schools could have come up with something worthwhile.

It is observed frequently that young Americans do not seem to know enough about our heritage and how our government works. Learning more about Bush — a true hero as well as a dedicated public servant — could have helped fill the gap. It is something to consider the next time a similar situation occurs.