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Tony Zizza

Stop Calling Off School For Cold Weather
By Tony Zizza
Jan 21, 2009 - 10:08:52 AM

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There are just some things that once done make you want to scratch your head until you draw blood.

On January 17th, Tennessean letter writer Beth Clark made excellent points in her equally excellent letter bemoaning the decision of many area school systems on Friday to essentially - call out cold.

This is great. This is an effective way for all the alleged adults running Tennessee schools to show students by example that they are willing to do everything they can to improve the graduation rate and Gateway test scores. Well, this is not so great. The inmates running the asylum called public education in the Volunteer state have officially lost the keys. They're nowhere to be found.

I had to pull my right hand away from my head when Beth Clark wrote, "Are our children's schools not equipped with the proper heating and cooling systems to take of them and still provide the education they need?" A question like this should not even have to be asked, but asked it well should when on a Friday - our education tax dollars and the educators themselves - are once again shown to be not working.

I mean, the temperatures were merely cold. Who would have gotten hurt on the way to school? Was there ice? Was there snow? Was there no warning ahead of time that states we would have an Arctic blast? Since when does temporary temperature discomfort cancel out the needed lesson our students must always hear?

That is, put education first. Nothing of value worth having is received by dumb default alone.

Idiocy doesn't even begin to explain the decision to call out cold when we are in desperate need of strong students and strong educators. I don't exactly mean this in the physical sense. I'm thinking more on mental lines here. As students and educators, this ought to make one feel really silly. As a state, it makes us look extremely weak and timid.

All the head scratching and hair pulling you do to try and figure out public education in Tennessee is truly in vain and quite frankly, insane. I say this so long as the grown adults in charge can call everyone out cold. They have done a tremendous disservice to not only students, but to their parents and the public at large. Stop calling off school for cold weather.

When I pay my property taxes and play an occasional lottery ticket, I expect warm bodies to be sitting in the schools my hard earned taxes help finance.

Even if the bodies were cold coming through the door.

Tony Zizza is a free-lance writer who lives in Hermitage, TN. He writes frequently about education and popular culture. Email:

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