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

Hot Schools

Jun 17, 2024

Nearly 40% of schools in the U.S. were built before the 1970s. Temperatures were cooler then. Fewer buildings needed air conditioning. That has changed. In recent decades, due to climate change, the zone experiencing high heat has moved northward. Large parts of the country experience at least one month of school days with temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Many schools in these places don’t have air conditioning.

Last fall, school officials were forced to send thousands of students home across the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic—right when many were returning from summer break—because of extreme heat and no air conditioning in schools. In Baltimore and Detroit, high heat led to early dismissals—the same as four months earlier, when summer temperatures struck in May. In Philadelphia last year, administrators moved the first day of school from late August to after Labor Day, in part to avoid a repeat of heat-related school closures.

America’s aging schools need air conditioning to keep up with global warming. But they also need newer buildings, not to mention more teachers.