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Give students the option of air conditioned school | READER COMMENTARY

A school air conditioning unit installed at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Chicago in 2014 as part of a broader effort to improve learning conditions in overheated buildings. (Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune).
A school air conditioning unit installed at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Chicago in 2014 as part of a broader effort to improve learning conditions in overheated buildings. (Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune). (Chuck Berman / Chicago Tribune)

Recently, The Baltimore Sun editorialized the following:

“Air-conditioned classrooms is a worthy goal, but it ought to be secondary to improved educational outcome whether measured by test scores, attendance, graduation rates, college and technical school admission or job placement or whatever yardstick is appropriate. And if one school can improve those measures more by hiring teachers or paying for whatever other resources needed to better teach kids than by installing AC window units, why would we insist on the latter?” (”School air conditioning: It’s not the heat, it’s the lack of humility,” Sept. 14).

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It is very strange that you present this as an either/or proposition. With educational spending increasing faster than inflation for many years now, you’d think the public school bureaucracy would have figured out how to make schools comfortable enough inside as well as provide adequate teaching and resources. Might be a good time to remind readers with kids that they have publicly funded options in the form of charter schools, as well as the BOOST program to pay for private school tuition.

And if those options aren’t readily available to some, it might be a good time to lobby legislators to expand school choice further so parents no longer have to put up with this false dichotomy.

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Jonathan Gress-Wright, Baltimore

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