We’re in the midst of another winter storm here on the East Coast. The local news is running all day with reporters bundled up on the edges of highways and train platforms. Gleeful weather-reporters are enjoying their moment of sun, as it were.
Schools here in New Jersey were closed by 5 PM yesterday, which is pretty unusual. Our superintendent usually prefers to wake us up with a robo-call at 5am, because he loves to fuck up our sleep patterns. It was a good decision to cancel school, because no four-wheeled vehicle could make it down our block right now. The schools may be closed tomorrow, too.
For me, it’s a minor hardship. I work when the kids are in school, but nobody is paying the mortgage with the money I bring in from my various activities. But lots of people still went to work today. How I’m not sure. But some folks went.
Unlike his Jersey counterparts, Mayor deBlasio kept the schools open. And he was very frank about why he kept the schools open, even when the teachers complained. He said that a lot of working parents need their kids to go to school, because they need someone to watch their kids. He added that many kids need schools, so they can get a hot lunch. Next week is winter break and they might not get a good meal for that whole time.
In other words, schools are providers of food, childcare, and shelter, not just an education.
Look, schools have been providers of more than an education, since the beginning of public education, but that fact isn’t something is widely acknowledged. I kinda like deBlasio for pointing that out.