CHICAGO — When city students arrived for the first day of school under the blazing temperatures of a Midwest heat wave, staff greeted them with some unusual school supplies: water bottles, fans and wet towels to drape around their necks. What they couldn´t always offer was air conditioning. (Snip) This year´s late August heat has exposed a tug-of-war in school districts that are under pressure to start school earlier than ever but are unable to pay to equip aging buildings with air conditioning. Parents who worry hot classrooms are a disadvantage for their kids are issuing an ultimatum: Make classes
Comments: [with Lindsey Tanner, Jeni O´Malley, Chris Blank, and Barbara Rodriguez] Easy problem to solve. Stop taking so many days off during the school year and you won´t have to start in the middle of summer!
FTA: staff greeted them with... water bottles, fans and wet towels to drape around their necks.
Wow. Given such an enhanced educational environment, there out to be 20, maybe 30 Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine Nobels going to these kids in 15-20 year. Fermilab can recruit in its own back yard. Go, Rahm.
[Guess you and I were kept from a Turing Prize or a Nobel because our schools were too short-sighted to provide a water bottle and a wet towel. Bummer.]
It´s not surprising, though, that managing a school calendar is a challenge nowhere near being solved. How long have major, multi-school systems been around? 5 years? 7? Certainly no more than 10 years.
Of course, given that these are Chicago schools, a "Heat Day" could also mean "The cops are gonna come in and search e´thang."
The school buildings I attended weren´t designed to be used after Memorial Day or Before Labor Day. The only times school was closed for the weather was when the plows actually couldn´t keep up with the snow, which was about four or five times between kindergarten and senior year. Otherwise the school was open.
How did we survive in these very same schools in Miami, Florida in the 1940´s, 50´s, 60´s ad infinitem..... We slept on sweaty sheets, pushed our beds up to the window and slept with our heads outside the windows with the screens pushed out. Ah, those were the days; we were made of hardy stuff. When we visited NYC relatives, we slept out on the fire escapes. Yes, we were hardy stuff. We actually played outside in the heat and my husband wore wool baseball uniforms when he played on teams in Miami...yes hardy stuff.
Part of all the closings for weather is connected with the legal liability issues that arose when school consolidation and integration plans made the school districts rather than the parents responsible for transporting kids to the classrooms.
Neighborhood schools didn´t close every time a few snowflakes fell.
Wisconsin passed a law making the Tuesday after Labor Day the first day of school. Pools stay open because lifeguards are available, etc. Folks can enjoy the best weeks of summer at end of August, as June can be chilly here. And Wisconsin test scores don´t seem to have suffered.
Oh, for crying out loud. Our school usually started the Monday after Labor Day and in this area that meant Hot Weather Time. We usually had at least a week or two of temps in the high 90s, even low 100s, with no A/C, no fans, no doting teachers passing out relief. We sucked it up and soldiered on. It was a fact of (our) life.
#9 I remember making folded fans from notebook paper in the San Fernando Valley when it was 105 and without a breeze to be found. We found no sympathy from the Irish Sisters of Charity wearing their black habits complete with white wimple and waist long veil..."offer it up to the cross."
I always told my kids that they didn´t remove the air-conditioning after we went to school.
We didn´t even have fans...they just threw open the huge windows and let the late summer wasps in to bang against the ceiling. I remember the day I stood to give my answer to a question(Do they still do that?)and sat back down to the most incredibly painful feeling on the side of my leg. As I moved 2 wasps flew out from under my skirt. I was in so much pain but didn´t tell anyone because I´d have to show the Principal (A very nice Nun)my butt.
We didn´t start until the day after Labor Day and ended the first week in June. Also.. as long as the Sister´s could cross the walk from the convent to the school we NEVER had a snow day.
OK, I am going to start something here. Why do you think that just because you went to school in the heat it really isn´t a problem? AC is no different than heat. Would you have a problem with your child sitting in a room that was 32 degrees? Schools start at different times for different reasons. What works in WI might not work in FL. I work in a school. Most schools are not built like schools 50 plus years ago. They are not thick red brick with big windows to open surrounded by trees which shade the rooms. Most of the classrooms in my school have no windows and the ones that do do not open. I use to be a computer tech and I remember when we had AC problems and it ended up being over 100 degrees in the lab. You cannot suck it up and soldier on under those conditions. How many here live and work in AC? Would be you overjoyed to find out tomorrow that your AC would be taken away? We can have cool weather in May and hot weather in October. Maybe if obama would stop giving money to loser electric car companies maybe it might be possible to get some of these schools hooked up to AC. Don´t laugh this off until you try teaching 35 students under these conditions. I´m just saying think about it.
#13: I agree. Making the kids sit there through horrendously hot days doesn´t do much to educate them as they´re going to be twice as lethargic as usual.
They should eliminate a few administrative positions and install air conditioning in all the schools with the savings. Or maybe the teachers union can step up and use the money they would otherwise have used for political campaigns on air conditioning for the students. Maybe a combination of the two approaches would see that the schools are up to snuff for education.
I was another one of those that went to school with no AC. We just opened the windows and suffered. This was late forties through 1960 in the deep South. It could get really hot even with the windows open. Usually only lasted a couple of weeks but I can remember sweat dripping on my papers.
I do agree with the poster who said the schools nowadays are built to have AC and become ovens without it. Modern buildings and not just schools can become useless without AC or power.
Poor little babies. I grew up in Texas. Often well over a hundred well into the school year. Mid to upper nineties all the way to October. I NEVER had air conditioning grades 1 through 12. I´ve seen it 83 on Xmas day and 93 in early February. We had fans and open windows. It was hot. We survived.
This is just liberalism at work turning our citizenry into whiners who look to the government asshats for everything.
Oh, by the way, the school offices and teacher´s lounges had big window a/c units. No surprise there.
OK everyone who suffered though the heat. We respect your suffering! We put up with 20 below zero days in the north. Yes, we have heat but it is still cold. And icy and snowy. And we also get into the 90´s and 100´s in the summer. For us, it makes sense to start school the Tuesday after Labor Day (not Monday, as one poster mistakenly said, as Labor Day is on Monday).
In Central Texas the schools I attended had no air conditioning until we got to high school where part of the building had A/C. Kids are getting too soft and entitled these days. What else would you expect in Chicago?
Back in the old days, the Sisters closed the shades, opened the windows and classroom doors for cross ventilation, and let us take off our ties (regular for boys, bow ties for girls). We still had to put up with the woolen uniforms, but like another poster said, they did teach us how to make little paper fans from looseleaf paper.
And school started the Monday after Labor Day and went through the end of June, with no week off in February for "heat conservation week."
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