COMMUNITY VOICES | Teaching kids in this weather, and the District’s response

Minneapolis Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson said she had no second thoughts about going ahead with classes. “We have hot days during the year,” she said. “I think that we’ll be able to handle it.”’ This is a quote from Steve Brandt and Bill McAuliffe’s August 27, 2013 article in the Star Tribune. Yeah, we’re handling it. We’re handling it by having students eat ice every hour or so and ensuring they don’t move so much as to generate more body heat. And by having them spread eagle on tile hallways so they can maximize skin-to-stone contact in a vain attempt to cool down. We’ve shucked any plans that involve fun and team-building and climate-enhancing physical activity because it would only increase core body temperature beyond its dangerous current state. We’ve also either found creative ways to teach kids to write while anchoring their paper amidst 5 whirring, oscillating fans, or deleted that activity altogether. We teachers wake at 4 in the morning thinking, “What can I possibly do today that will engage my kids and teach them anything but tolerance for suffering heat and humidity?” All the usual tricks are rendered worthless. Continue Reading