Claim: Climate Change is Making US Classrooms Too Hot

Essay by Eric Worrall

Apparently in the South schools are fitted with air conditioning, but in Philadelphia and Baltimore schools cannot afford a bit of insulation and some air conditioners.

Climate change is forcing schools to close early for ‘heat days’

With no air conditioning and no money to install it, districts are sending students home

By Laura Meckler and 
Anna Phillips
June 4, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Temperatures kept rising in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Finally, it was just too hot to keep students in classrooms without air conditioning. On Tuesday, both systems let students out early.

For Principal Richard M. Gordon IV, it was just another early-summer day in the halls of his West Philadelphia high school, where sweltering temperatures, high humidity and a lack of ventilation made classrooms so uncomfortable that students could barely sit still.

“Can I honestly say effective learning is happening in my building? I can’t,” said Gordon, the principal of Paul Robeson High School.

Climate change poses a growing threat to American schools. Regions where extreme heat was once rare — from the Northeast to the Pacific Northwest — now periodically find their buildings unbearably hot as spring turns to summer and again when classes resume in August or September.

In much of the South, air conditioning has long been a necessity, and schools are typically outfitted with centralized systems, although rising temperatures may require upgrades.

But in places such as Philadelphia, air conditioning was a luxury decades ago, when most school buildings were constructed. Perhaps there was a hot day in mid-June or an uncomfortable swelter in early September. They were flukes.

No more. Urban areas, in particular, tend to have a dangerous combination of older buildings, less money to upgrade them and concentrated heat. Designed to maximize space in crowded environments, urban schools often lack green space and shade. Asphalt often covers their playgrounds and other open spaces, radiating heat during the summer.

Read more:

My first impulse was to slam Principal Richard Gordon for being a useless teacher making excuses, but in 2020 Principal Gordon received “National Principal of the Year” award – so maybe the problem is not him. And reading the article carefully, Principal Gordon just said the classrooms were too hot – maybe the global warming claims were added to the story by the journalist. And to be fair, the pictures of the schools I’ve viewed, they look like ovens – large blank sun facing walls made of bricks, no obvious attempt to mitigate the heat, say by covering the walls with heat reflective paint.

Of course, that leaves the question – why can’t Baltimore and Philadelphia schools afford a bit of building maintenance and air-conditioned comfort for their students?

The article I quoted suggests teachers are fed up with the political neglect of their students’ needs.

One possible explanation for the lack of cash for schools is that civic leaders of Baltimore and Philadelphia are too busy blowing money combatting climate change to spare some funding to care for their crumbling educational facilities.

In January this year, Mayor Brandon of Baltimore promised over $100 million by my calculation, to support the city’s net zero push. Given a basic aircon system costs around $1000, that would have been enough cash to install 100,000 air conditioners in Baltimore’s classrooms.

Philadelphia also committed to Net Zero in 2021. Although the Philadelphia document didn’t throw budget numbers around, I think we can be safe assuming Philadelphia is also wasting crazy amounts of cash chasing the carbon demon, when they should be taking care of their children’s educational facilities.

Maybe I’ve misunderstood the situation, it looks like some complicated things are happening. There may be other issues I’m unaware of. But from what I have read, if I was a voter in Baltimore or Philadelphia, I would demand that my civic leaders stop wasting money on “climate emergencies” and other irrelevant grandstanding nonsense, at least until real problems like the poor state of their district’s school buildings was addressed.

via Watts Up With That?

June 4, 2022 at 08:59PM

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