Sunday, March 17, 2013

Two Hours Before the Sun, Jim Burdsall

A shorten version of the following was published in today's Sunday Indianapolis Star newspaper.

Two Hours Before the Sun

What are Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma afraid of? Why won’t they permit a summer study to review Indiana’s time zone? Is it because there is no social, commercial, or geographical reason for any portion of Indiana to be in the Eastern Time Zone? In 2005, the leadership of the General Assembly killed a proposal for a time zone referendum to be placed on the 2006 ballot. It is obvious that Big Brother believes Big Brother knows what is best for us. In a more perfect world, acts of government would be reviewed periodically to determine if they had achieved their original purposes and free of unintended consequences.

The proposed summer study would not be a rehash of the Daylight Saving Time debacle of 2005 in which the time zone issue was conveniently ignored. The Central Time Coalition is not opposed to Central Daylight Time. 4:15 AM sunrises in June with Central Standard Time don’t make any more sense than post 8 AM sunrises in January, March, October, November, and December do with Eastern Time.

Time zones are based on geography and by geography all of Indiana is located in the Central Time Zone. During the 1960s, federal agencies relocated most of the Central-Eastern time zone boundary from the Indiana-Ohio border to the Illinois-Indiana border. 6 northwestern and 6 southwestern Indiana counties remain in the Central Time Zone. In 1971, the Eastern counties were granted an exemption from Eastern Daylight Time because they were in effect observing Central Daylight Time the year round.

If they were to observe EDT their clocks would be two hours ahead of the sun. The 2005 Indiana General Assembly voted to surrender the exemption from EDT and now Hoosiers in the 80 Eastern zone counties set their clocks to the same as Atlantic Standard Time 34 weeks of the year and to Eastern Standard Time the remaining 18 weeks. This results in most of Indiana having on average the latest sunrises and darkest mornings of any location in the 48 adjacent states.

For Hoosier kids on their way to school the difference between Eastern Time and Central Time is the same as the difference between night and day. Eastern morning darkness amounts to an insidious type of child abuse. Strong words? Yes, but probably not strong enough. The Central Time Coalition has compiled a list of recent incidents in which students have been robbed, raped, beaten or killed. All of these unnecessary tragedies occurred in the dark while on the way to school. This list is available on request. The harm done by Eastern Time to our children’s education is not nearly as apparent but it has nevertheless done so. This damage cannot be repaired by more tax dollars or more school days.

It is our responsibility as adults to provide a safe environment where the young can learn and grow and achieve. Instead, we needlessly force them out into the dark where they are placed at unnecessary risk. We give our children an unnatural clock that tends to deprive them of sleep then we agonize over their low test scores and poor attitudes. More money, a longer school year, and innovations such as charter schools, have barely made a dent in the problem.

The Central Time Coalition believes the Eastern morning darkness is part of the problem and Central morning daylight is part of the solution. Brighter Central mornings should make for safer, brighter students. Resetting our clocks to a more Hoosier friendly time will provide the most educational improvement for the dollar. We shouldn’t just request Central Time. We should demand it. After all, Central Time is every Hoosier’s birthright that has been taken from us by a federal bureaucracy without our permission.

Jim Burdsall
Central Time Coalition

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jim. Yes, your language does sound harsh, but until this situation is remedied, what choice do our kids have? We would never put our grandparents out on pitch-black dark streets in the morning, so why do we continue to put our children in harm's way? How many deaths is enough?