Many — if not most — of the NYC public school classrooms are still not air-conditioned. Newer schools have central air-conditioning, and in most of the older schools, only the principals and some administrators enjoy office window air-conditioning units. Although the Department of Education tries its best to use as many AC-equipped sites for summer programs, often they have to use non-AC sites as well. It’s not easy to motivate kids these days, but even harder in summer, and harder still in hot classrooms.
I taught in such a school up in East Harlem. The building was competed as part of the WPAduring the Great Depression. When we had a hot June, students would take Regents examsfully equipped with frozen water bottles on their desks.
So, during the last week, I have been thinking of NYC’s public school students and teachers in those hot classrooms on their first week back in the classroom. And it’s not going to be much better this week, as we hover around the 80s until the middle of the week.