We have work to do, and places to be, and kids who insist on test driving their tap shoes while I'm trying to have a conference call. It's difficult. It's more than difficult for parents whose employers are less flexible than mine and Larry's, who can't afford childcare and can't afford to take a day off, for fear of losing their jobs. And it's downright scary, as one Facebook friend pointed out, for children whose only decent meal of the day happens at school, who count on that breakfast or free lunch so they don't go hungry.
All of that is true. All of it is unfortunate. And none of it can be blamed on the school system. School is not daycare, or a meal delivery service. Yet, we expect it to make decisions as if it were. School's mission is to educate. It's "product" is educated children. When the weather makes it impossible to deliver its product, it closes.
Now, you might argue that the whole system needn't shut down for a few iced-in outliers, and that may be true. But the issue is so much bigger than that. For me, these incessant snow days underscore the hot mess we've gotten ourselves into as a society. A society in which the cost of living is so high, and the wages so low, it takes at least two incomes to support one family. A society in which many of us are so isolated, we have no community or safety net to fall back on. And if we need two incomes to support one family, and we have no community or safety net, damn it, SCHOOL HAD BETTER BE OPEN.
It's frightening. When we use school as daycare, we undervalue teachers without even realizing it. A good education becomes the cherry on top, rather than the whole sundae. Those who are financially better off resent public education for not delivering more than a cherry's worth. But public education can't deliver more, because the people who need it most aren't in it for the education--they're in it for the daycare, and the lunch.
There are people who will argue that everyone has a choice to be home with their children. That anyone can make it work. Where there's a will there's a way!
To those people I say, fuck you and the bubble you rode in in. It's just. not. true. We have a serious problem on our hands. Because there's so much will, and yet still no way.
Friends. My brilliant, beautiful, engaged and amazing friends. How can we channel our outrage into creative thinking and figure out how to make the whole system better? Instead of just weeping into our coffee cups while flipping the Snowbird the bird?