Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina came under a lot of intense fire for their decision to keep schools open on Thursday, February 13, 2014, including apparently an epic war of tweets with celebrity weatherman Al Roker. Beyond a doubt, the situation might have been handled better, but I am most worried that the incident is a distraction from the most pressing issues. at hand in N.Y.C.
Chancellor Farina, it seems, received the most flack for a seemingly insensitive comment, remarking upon the beauty of the day. Opponents have made tremendous political capital off of her opinion. I hate to say it, but, looking out my window at 7 a.m., I did find the scene breathtakingly beautiful. I wandered outside, without coat, but with my camera in hand to take some photos. I had never seen flakes that big before. They came down softly like feathers, falling from the heavens.
Granted, there was not a great deal of new teaching. Attendance rates were very low. I played a review and enrichment game with my students and, it seemed, given the situation, we did pretty well. I had no more than seven students in any given period and none for twelfth period, ending 5:06 p.m.
It was a strange day in so many ways. I could navigate the hallways with ease in my typically overcrowded building. I could socialize more with students without a Danielson Rubric hanging over my head like the guillotine. I probably smiled a little more than usual. Happily, I got home safely. I guess we all did, but I realized some had to dig out cars and drive with great care; some slipped along paths and some fell. Some of us have fallen on different days in this icy season when not a soul questioned the schools being open; thankfully, we all got up again.De Blasio took a political spill, but I expect him, in the spirit of a true New Yorker to pick himself up quickly. I cannot believe anyone who voted for him would now change his or her opinion based on the snow snafu. I could be wrong but I'm betting almost any N.Y.C. mayor might have done the same. People voted for a change with the Mayor; so, I guess they expected something different for a snowstorm. Let's not let a snow snafu snowball. Let's not let it distract us from the reasons for which the Mayor was elected, namely the more pressing issues at hand, issue like childhood homelessness in our Tale of Two Cities and the potential benefits of public pre-K which the press seems less interested in at the moment.
"The number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters has risen by more than 71 percent since 2002." (coalitionforthehomeless.org/pages/basic-facts).