Air-Conditioning Finally Approved by Cold-Hearted DOE

May 3, 2017 by

Except for possibly the internal chambers of a mortician’s crematorium immediately after a normal operational processing, there is no hotter or stickier work environment in the developed world than any of the eleven thousands classrooms of the New York City public schools that  are sweltering steam-baths for a couple of months every year.

Temperatures reach 100 degrees ( at least its Fahrenheit!). Windows cannot be opened because of safety precautions, nuisance regulations, principals’ edicts or they are just jammed or hopelessly stuck.

The Department of Education’s decision-makers luxuriate in their climate-controlled offices, so they’re not troubled by health hazards to kids and rank-and-file staff.

But give them time. It’s been this way only since the invention of air-conditioning.

It wouldn’t be tolerated in most workplaces. Some authority would step in or employees would take matters into their own hands. But these are our public schools, where educators are evaluated and prove their selfless dedication by putting up with, and sometimes practically volunteering to be abused.  For them to endure is fulfillment of the DOE’s culture of expectation.

If your classroom is a sweat-box, don’t mind the shedding of a few pounds over a couple of hours. It’s only water weight. Seize the teaching moment. You can always replace your potassium later.  Just don’t let your knees buckle an fall into the “smart-board.”

Well, it took an eternity of waiting, which is just the wink of an eye to the DOE Help Desk.  Just shy of the infinity mark, our city government announced last week that they will spend $28 million over the next 5 years to install air-conditioning in the eleven thousand classrooms where heatstroke is the curriculum in June.

That’s not too big a splash of loot, considering the DOE, (coincidentally called the Hot Air Agency) relieves the public treasure of almost 30 billion dollars every year, much of which is frittered away.

But as spendthrifts, they have historically drawn the line at providing air-conditioning to ordinary classrooms, even though charter schools and private schools differ in this regard, as they don’t view making life livable for kids and staff a profligate indulgence.

What made them do it now?

Their decision was clinched apparently by their compassion for inanimate objects. Under Death Valley conditions, many computers and other technology were breaking down.

Unfortunately the new air-conditioning units will not be placed in schools cafeteria where food handlers slave away under inhumane conditions..

Among my proudest moments as a teacher was when I was reprimanded by a supervisor of a summer school feeding program, because on a particularly sultry day between hours when I was off- duty, I helped a dizzy 75-year old diabetic cafeteria employee move a box. I was sternly lectured that my intervention was not part of my job description and there were potential liability issues involved.
Aren’t there always?

The entire Department of Education  needs to be ventilated of stale attitudes. But there’s not enough Friedrichs in all the world to do that.

Ron Isaac

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