The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Bad Weather and School Closings:
What Are Parents Supposed to Do?

Jan 29, 2024

Lately, weather conditions have been horrible. Numerous states have been hit with snow, sleet, rain, and then freezing temperatures. And at the same time the local weather reporters are letting us know what to expect, school closings announcements are at the bottom of the TV screen. Closed, because there is no heat—the boilers went out. Closed because bus drivers can’t get out on the icy roads. And often the announcements come at the last minute.

The only thing that doesn’t close, however, is workplaces. And people who have pre-school and school-age kids have to go to work. As one working class parent put it, “What are women supposed to do?” She is right.

This parent may have said “women” because it is women who by far carry the most responsibility for the care of children in this society. But whether it is single parents, or most working class families, people have to work in order to provide for their families. And they are faced with expensive childcare arrangements. They are faced with schools having been permanently closed altogether in their neighborhoods, requiring their children to have to oftentimes be driven further in order to get an education. Then, when the weather hits with a vengeance, these parents are faced with no good choices: do I stay home and lose income because my kids are not in school; do I risk losing my job; OR, do I scramble at the last minute in order to find some kind of alternative child care arrangements that may be unsatisfactory or more costly?

In a rational society, when bad weather hits, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing answer. Schools would be properly maintained with heating systems that would work. More schools and other child care facilities would be built in people’s immediate neighborhoods, that wouldn’t require extensive commuting.

And even with these improvements, if schools are forced to close due to inclement weather, workers with children should be able to stay home from work and not lose a day’s pay!

If we want a rational society, we will have to throw out the current one and build anew. The bosses won’t pay for it and the politicians—forget it!