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Why was school closed at 6AM?

March 3, 2009 am31 12:27 am

Closing school was the right call. With the storm coming late, and the extent not being clear until at least mid-morning, with the potential for dificult transportation, it was right. Even if we turn out to get a bit less than was predicted, it is important not to unnecessarily risk people’s safety.

But the DoE handled it badly. They canceled school after people had started their days. After teachers were driving through the snow, from Rockland, Bergen, Putnam, Fairfield, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk. After teachers were already in the subway. After kids had already left home. After kids were on the subway. After parents had left for work, leaving out lunch, clothes and money so their child could make it to school.

NYC Educator was shoveling his driveway.
Pissedoff teacher was up for school, but had not yet left.
Gotham Schools reports that commutes had already begun.
Chaz complains.

I walked to my school this morning, but 30 minutes after the normal start time. I saw footprints at the front, too many for them to have been anything but kids.

I spoke to a security officer at the local college. She arrived early to work (her shift). Only after arriving did she learn public schools were canceled. She called home just in time to stop her middle school son from leaving.

Me, I got up, looked out the window, figured there was school, put on coffee, and, too late, learned otherwise. Neighbors laughed at me as I walked back in late this morning, wondering why I hadn’t stayed under the covers.

Here’s what should have happened:

  • Sunday morning: announce that a winter storm is headed this way. Intention to keep schools open, but will continue to monitor.
  • Sunday afternoon: announce that the storm continues to head directly for New York City, but as most storms bypass or skirt the city we will continue to monitor its progress. Our expectation is that schools will be open tomorrow.
  • Sunday early evening: the storm has continued to track towards NYC, and the intensity has been maintained. It is still quite likely that the full brunt of the storm will not fall on NYC. Department of Education staff will continue to monitor the situation in conjunction with (weather people). We will make an announcement at 10PM. Please listen to the following radio stations, tv stations, or watch the following websites for further updates. (list them)
  • Sunday, 10PM. It now appears that the storm is headed for NYC, but it is not yet clear how severe conditions will be. Therefore, the Chancellor, his weather guy, his right hand guy, his driver, and a few other folks will meet at 4:30 to review the situation. A decision to open schools or to keep them shut will be made by 5AM. (list the radio, TV and web sites again)
  • Monday, 4:30, meet. Looks bad.
  • Monday, 4:45, announce that NYC public schools will be closed today (as well as all PSAL, after school, etc, etc)

    Is not doing this bad? Yup. Hundreds of teachers and thousands of students leave their homes between 5 and 6AM each morning. Were it simply inconvenience, that would be bad enough. But traveling in these conditions can be dangerous. In addition, tens of thousands more were left with unnecessary uncertainty. No one knew when the announcment would come, or what time without an announcement meant the decision to stay open had been made. Setting our alarms for 5, hearing the news, and either dressing for school or curling back up – that’s what we could have, should have been prepared for.

    This administration and its puppet school’s bosses are concerned with disrupting schools, closing schools, opening charters, persecuting senior teachers… So concerned, in fact, that they are completely unable to do little things right.

    This was not an act of malice. They didn’t intend to inconvenience and even endanger thousands of children and adults. In fact, they likely did not consider them at all.

    3 Comments leave one →
    1. March 3, 2009 am31 1:59 am 1:59 am

      So simple and obvious. So why is it so hard?

    2. Anonymous permalink
      March 3, 2009 am31 6:35 am 6:35 am



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