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Cancelling School


Submitted By pkambour
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Canceling School
In the article, For Mayor, Keeping Schools Open Brings Another Headache, Michael Grynbaum reported that the new Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio and the schools Chancellor, Carmen Farina made the decision last Wednesday to keep NYC schools open on Thursday in the wake of the impending snow storm. The decision to keep schools open set off a firestorm of criticism and the Mayor found himself being publically called out by Al Roker of the Today Show. (Grynbaum, 2013)
NYC schools rarely close and have only done so on 11 occasions over the last 40 years. Mayor de Blasio defended himself saying, “It would be nice if we got a video the night before of what the next day looks like”. (Grynbaum, 2013) That remark was met with criticism from Al Roker who stated, “Mr. Mayor, I could never run NYC, but I know when it’s time to keep kids home from school.” (Grynbaum, 2013)
The decision to close schools or keep them open during inclement weather is a question that many districts are facing across the country this winter. School districts throughout Indiana are trying to figure out how they will make up the lost school days to meet the 180 requirement. I understand Al Roker’s comments that the schools probably should have been closed. But, sometimes I think we lose sight of other consequences of closing schools.
In my position, I worked with the NYC Department of Education for 6 years. Their student population is larger than the city of Indianapolis at 1,000,000+ children. It may be easy for someone like Mr. Roker who has the personal resources to criticize the Mayor and Chancellor for the decision to keep schools open however, there are other considerations. What about the parents who have to go to work and can’t stay home with their children or students who get their only meals from school?
In addition to the impending weather, the Mayor and his team took into consideration the complaints they received from parents about closing schools at the last minute. That last minute decision leaves parents scrambling to find baby sitters. There are parents who cannot afford to miss work and those children and in many cases would be left at home alone. Some parents defended the Mayor’s decision for exactly these reasons. (Grynbaum, 2013)
I believe that based on severity of the conditions on Thursday, the Mayor should have reversed his decision and closed schools early Thursday morning. Many students and teachers were unable to make into school and buses became stuck with kids stranded aboard. (Grynbaum, 2013) However, we have to remember that the decision to close schools or to keep them open is a complicated one and have consequences either way. I understand that not all parents have the same resources and that keeping schools open serves more than one purpose. At the end of the day, we as parents make the final decision to send our children to school, regardless of a school district’s decision to stay open.

Grynbaum, M. (2013, February 13). For Mayor, Keeping Schools Open Brings Another Headache. Retrieved from The New York Times:

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