Fix The Roof First

So much yeah:

The major initiative with respect to schools in the short term is
likely to be in the stimulus package, in the form of rebuilding and
retrofitting decrepit and obsolete school buildings. There is well
over 100 billion in deferred maintenance just to bring school buildings
fully up to code. And that by itself will make something a difference
in the learning environment – it is hard to learn when it rains in the
classroom, or when there are not enough working toilets so they stink
and overflow, or when the HVAC is so obsolete it is either over 90 or
under 50 in the classroom.

All we do now, under the terms of the education debate as dictated by Republicans and Republican surrogates, is talk about how teachers’ unions are making outrageous pay demands and then sucking at teaching, or how parents in “some” communities don’t value education and therefore that’s why the schools fail, or how “some” kids don’t want to learn, and there’s nothing you can do about that, so … shrug, huff, back to your fireplace and your brandy and your cigar, Daddy Fuckin’ Warbucks, now you’ve given yourself an out, now you’re excused from giving a shit. Go you. Schmuck.

I’m absolutely certain that each of the above statements can be proven true in examples in schools around the country. Absolutely certain there are teachers who suck, and kids who are little assholes who’d rather be playing video games than learning, and parents who could give a shit less if their kids remember the multiplication tables. Absolutely certain. You simply cannot pay me to give a tinker’s damn is all, not whenthere’s a hole in the wall and the boiler is broken and there are chains on the doors and grates on the windows and the kids are wearing parkas in the classroom.

I mean, I’m sorry, I suppose I should be a serious person and demand that we punish and humiliate poor people before we “give” them anything (not like they pay taxes, after all, we’re the hard workers, they’re the shiftless layabouts). I suppose I should be serious like that but oh my god until you can no longer point to a single school that doesn’t look at least as nice or nicer than the average NFL practice facility I would like you to kindly shut the fuck up about what’s going on inside said school because I have no intention of listening to you and you’re just annoying the pets.


7 thoughts on “Fix The Roof First

  1. What Melissa Harris-Lacewell said on Maddow last night (about Illinois) applies to schools as well: “Everyone should spend the Christmas holidays watching every episode of The Wire.”

  2. Yet another post where I get to the end, and all I can say is “Yeah, what A said.”
    Well done.

  3. So am I correctly understanding that a large number of buildings don’t even meet the building codes or are otherwise in threat of being condemned? Can I take it that this tells the kids even more about our priority on education?

  4. The whole “fix the physical plants” thing goes helll, yes to the infinite degree for New Orleans schools…but it has to be done responsibly – if they’re gonna close a school for repairs, have a plan to temporarily relocate the kids.

  5. my inner city grade school was great. integration baby went to arts choice school in the core. 50/50. i LOVED that old school. the previous old school was good too. when we had FULL big windows.

  6. MapleStreet,
    that’s exactly right — and in South Texas demonstrably even new schools don’t meet code.
    In 2003 I was an IAQ inspector in one such facility that had been built and opened for the first school year the fall of ’02.
    the architect spec’d steel poles to hold up big spans of roof — the gym, the library, etc. — but the contractor actually put in aluminum irrigation pipe.
    The HVAC contractors installed most of the drainage system off-grade, so it rained inside the building from the condensate.
    When we went to do a major HVAC repair (the company I worked for specialized in fixing schools with poor IAQ) which consisted of adding an air-dryer unit and reinstalling the original equipment correctly, we discovered the aforementioned insufficient roof supports.
    I don’t understand how building inspectors let that go by.
    I personally worked in another building — a tilt-wall two-story — where the walls (these are those concrete-panel and humongous-bolt erector-set-like buildings) lacked 5″ meeting at the ground and 17″ meeting at the roof corners. The numbers of buckets of silicone-sealer that went into making that building ‘weather tight’ (it wasn’t) must’ve been mind-boggling. But these were semi-rural small-town ISDs in South Texas where 99.98% of the students were (a) on reduced or free lunches and (b) Spanish speakers first and (c) probably going to drop out to join their families working ag jobs by the end of 6th grade, so the local authorities didn’t care any more than the contractors … sigh.

  7. Other Sarah,
    Thanks so much. I am shocked that the idjuts in charge let so much go by from the contractors. I’m guessing backgrade condensate = mold, etc.
    Not to mention, I’d love to ask the jury after a roof collapse the obvious question – doesn’t Aluminum bend easy? This doesn’t even CYA.

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