Having school open yesterday while the streets of Queens were in abysmal shape seems to shows a cruel and insensitive city administration for sure. Don't expect to hear the mayor's de facto deputy mayor for teachers Michael Mulgrew complain at all about the decision either. In all fairness they do have a logical reason to keep schools open as the school calendar is just too tight this year to grant snow days. I don't think it would have made a difference if there was a longer school year; they still would have kept the schools in session yesterday but this year is different.
Let's all recall that there is a very tight school calendar as Eid-Al-Adha in September and the Lunar New Year on February 8 were both added in as holidays. In addition, the Jewish holidays all fell during the week this year so even in a leap year the New York City school year has only one day over the state minimum. Therefore, we could only possibly use one snow day without having to give back days off as we did after super-storm Sandy in the 2012-1013 school year when we lost three days of our mid-winter recess.
Should we have used our one snow day one day after one of the worst blizzards in New York City history? That can be debated but at the very least why couldn't there be a delayed school opening yesterday? Many districts in the region are delaying the start of school even today.
Queens roads have been a mess since Saturday. It would seem to make sense to give employees and students extra time so that we all aren't on the roads or the buses and trains during the rush hour. Public Advocate Letitia James on Sunday called for a delayed opening for Monday. Part of her statement is quoted in the Queens Chronicle: "Too many families and educators are still struggling with mountains of snow and ice outside their doors - particularly those in the outer boroughs. Which is why we must ensure that every neighborhood in our City - from Williamsburg to Woodhaven to the South Bronx - gets equal snow removal services from our plows."
Carmen Farina and Bill de Blasio obviously disagree with James. In a sign that they do care, however, they have cancelled Farina's beloved professional development for this week. This news came in a text from the UFT,
"The DOE has announced that teacher professional development has been cancelled for this week, Jan, 25-29." Does this mean that every day is six hours and twenty minutes or six hours and fifty minutes? Someone please inform us.
Off to school nice and early today. We'll see what happens.