Who Dat Say They Gonna Cancel School?

by Robert Pondiscio
February 2nd, 2010

Arne Duncan has backtracked on his claim that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans.” But schoolchildren in the Crescent City probably think the Saints making the Super Bowl is the best thing to happen, since the city’s schools are likely to call an emergency day and stay closed on Monday. 

“We feel that it is not in the best interest of our students to be required to attend school on a day when a significant number of absences or tardiness will be the reality, and when learning will not be optimal,” says one school official. 

Not one to let les bon temps rouler, PBS’ education correspondent John Merrow thinks closing for the day sets a bad example for the kids.  “Call me an old fogey, but I find closing schools to be irresponsible behavior on the part of the adults,” Merrow writes on his blog. “Are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders going to be worn out from partying? What are working parents supposed to do, or are they also exempt from going to work?”

By canceling school, says Merrow, the adults “are inadvertently revealing who’s really in charge: the kids. The unspoken message is clear: what we offer in schools isn’t enough to hold students’ attention.”


  1. I on occasion tell my kids that if the only thing they learn is how to work when they don’t want to, it will be one of the most valuable lessons of all.

    Such a thing would never happen here in Buffalo. If we were ever to win the Super Bowl or the Cup, the entire city would simply be walking around in a daze, unsure as to quite what had just happened.

    Comment by Obi-Wandreas — February 2, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

  2. No fair! I had to go to work the day after the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 84 years…

    Comment by Crimson Wife — February 2, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

  3. Well, in the case of New Orleans, it makes sense. It could pose a safety hazard trying to walk through all of the tears shed by Saints fans. Kids could slip and fall.

    Comment by Robert Pondiscio — February 2, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

  4. Aw, come ON. There was nowhere I would have preferred to be than in the Canyon of Heroes on the day of the Yankees’ parade. Still, I dragged my sorry butt to work. No FAIR, as the kids might say.

    Comment by Miss Eyre — February 2, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

  5. Robert,

    Thanks for the mention of John’s post! I’m an admirer of Core Knowledge and it’s great to be included in the dialogue.

    I assume you’ve seen our other work that focuses on New Orleans? Our series on Paul Vallas has been airing on the NewsHour intermittently for the past two years, but recently we’ve released a seven-part series on Teach for America teachers during their first year in New Orleans. You can watch here: http://learningmatters.tv/blog/video/the-real-world-of-teach-for-america-the-series/3669/

    Please feel free to leave comments or email me with questions. Let’s keep in touch, and again, thanks for your great work on the blog.

    Elena Schilder

    Comment by Elena Schilder — February 4, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

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