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The Politics of a Snow Day

The Washington Teachers Union is claiming some of the credit for the closing of District of Columbia schools today, according to a local news blog.

A record-breaking winter storm this weekend has shuttered school systems throughout the Washington, D.C., area today. But the decision on DCPS schools--which, under chancellorship of Michelle Rhee, has been very conservative in dolling out snow days--was quite drawn-out. Initially, yesterday afternoon, the district boldly announced that its schools would in fact be open on a 2-hour delay, puzzling many parents who looked around and saw limited transportation options. A few hours later, however, after even the federal government declared its offices would be closed, the district's officials gave in and announced that, well, schools wouldn't be open, after all.

Why the sudden change? In an e-mail to members, WTU president George Parker suggests that they had a lot to do with it: "Your calls to the office of the Mayor and Chancellor expressing your disagreement and outrage has [sic] resulted in success!"

Possibly. And certainly there were many very good reasons to close the city's schools today. But it makes you wonder: Do teachers really want to be sending the message that closing schools is a "success" to be celebrated?

(Full disclosure: The author of this post is a (snowbound) DCPS parent.)

—:Anthony Rebora

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