Schools Are For Lunch and Shelter, Too

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.


17 thoughts on “Schools Are For Lunch and Shelter, Too

  1. Laura said:

    “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.”

    But what if the teachers’ kids’ daycares are closed while the school is open? Where do those little kids go if the teachers have to work?

    At least with school kids, it’s somewhat plausible that you could leave them home with a full fridge and TV for the day. With 0-5 year olds, not so much.

  2. Coincidentally, a friend of mine on FB (a Queens resident) just posted this tweet:
    DiBlasio isn’t doing anything different from any other mayor; he’s just telling the truth about why.

    11 days in 36 years? Wow. We’ve had 3 snow days already, and did you say this was your 6th? All of us are home except my husband. Mail was delivered, as was our weekly dairy order. (The delivery guy was so sweet–he asked me, “Do you need anything else?” I said, “Nope. You’re giving me milk and eggs–I have what I need for french toast!” He said, “What about butter?” LOL.)

    My kids have been playing Minecraft online with their cousin on Long Island. I’m working on a paper on DNA, genealogy and history. This means I have to read boring scientific essays on DNA and genetics. I’m ready for a nap now.

    1. I now have two saddles and some horse armor. Tonight I’m going to search for a horse, after I finish sledding. Still no carrot.

      1. We have had no snow days and that makes us sad. We did have a dusting of 2 inches or so of snow last Saturday (got to make a snow timelapse!) but the kid went out early on Sunday to make sure he got the snowman built before the snow melted. Our other light dusting of snow was on the Friday before Christmas, when our school was closed already. We did appreciate the cancelling of practices and games because of the snow on Sunday.

        But, I can see that you all in the south & east are suffering from a want of muchness — and a too much snow (maybe MH has the right attitude.– walking in the snow with a carrot and saddle hoping for a horse).

    2. bj,

      We’re in the South and we keep getting these freezing or nearly freezing temperatures and then just a few teasing flakes. The conditions are just about perfect for producing snow, but we don’t get anything.

    3. Growing up in western Canada I thought snow days were a myth. We only got two in 12 years, and it took 19 inches of snow to get that!

  3. “walking in the snow with a carrot and saddle hoping for a horse”

    Shouldn’t economic theory predict that he should find one?

  4. Regarding “11 days in 36 years,” New York City is a lot more snow-resistant than most suburbs: big thoroughfares instead of cul-de-sacs or country lanes, very few people driving themselves to school, subways that aren’t much affected by the weather, etc.

    Let us know when the paper is done (or when it is published, if that is its destiny).

  5. People are celebrating 2 feet of snow in the mountains in my Facebook feeds. We have rain. Snow pack in the mountains apparently getting to normal, though.

  6. In MN, we’ve had five days off this year due to cold temps. Each of those times the temp in the morning was around -20 to -25 without wind chill and they don’t want kids waiting for buses in that weather. I understand that but it has been really hard on working parents (not to say it’s easy for SAHPs but it’s often less of a scramble). My younger son’s day care follows the school district’s decision to close and that created quite a dust up filled with all sorts of class tensions around the third day that school was called off. Some parents felt the need to email everyone in the school to bitch about the child care’s policy in an nonconstructive manner. Both the district and the child care decided to remain open for days in the spring that they originally intended to be closed to compensate for all of the days off.

    While there have been five days closed due to cold we’ve actually had seven days of closed schools the whole year. The second and third days of school were cancelled because it was too hot and the schools don’t have air conditioning.

  7. A friends school had what she jokingly calls a “slippery floor day” (something to do with the HVAC system and a cold night followed by warming creating a moisture covered floor that was so slippery that you couldn’t walk in the halls. It was funny until they closed school for all the snow days, with Saturday school in the offing to make up the time.

    1. I once lived in a small Russian town that had a “broken mercury thermometer” day (or days) after some kids purposely broke a bunch of thermometers in the school in order to close the school down.

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