I used to walk to school in the wind, rain and snow. Uphill. Sometimes the drifts would pile up so high that kids who started out the door of their homes in November weren't found until the next spring. It was horrible. Or at least hyperbole. I do find myself, at times, waxing nostalgic for those days when the weather was so fierce that the superintendent of Boulder County Schools would call a "snow day," and all us kids would sit, huddled about the radio, for the warmth as well as the announcement. Upon hearing that conditions outside were such that the man in charge of our county's education deemed them unfit for man nor beast, we raced about the house, pulling on scarves and mittens, hats and boots to prepare ourselves for a day spent frolicking in the snow. We weren't men nor beasts. We were kids, after all.
I find this same spirit in the mildest form here in California, where we periodically have to have recess indoors because of rain. There are a certain number of kids, no matter how torrential the downpour, who stare up into the sky and insist that there is no problem with the weather. They want to be in it. Not really a surprise there.Grownups tell you to be inside, therefore there must be something about being outside that is fun or forbidden. That distinction is generally lost on children. And adults.
Now imagine this: A school district that calls off school because it's too hot. Blame global warming or the budget crisis in education, but kids in the Midwest are getting "heat days." Schools in Fargo, North Dakota and Minneapolis have been shut down, while others have been sent home early. Schools are starting their year in August, before Labor Day. They want to get the jump on all those new standards and expectations for their students. But they don't want to pay for air conditioning. "I was up on the third floor and it was 93.8 degrees in the classroom
and the kids hadn't been there in hours," said Matt Patton,
superintendent of a one-school district in Baxter, Iowa. "You put twenty bodies in there and it will go up to at least 95 and you can imagine all
the sweat on the desks and textbooks."
I think that will be enough imagination for now. Unless you would like to imagine taking a Slip 'n' Slide to your fourth period class.