In case you missed it, Obama took a time-out from a press conference on the economy to wonder aloud as to why his daughters' school was closed in the face of "a little ice." He pointed out that in Chicago schools rarely close for "winter weather conditions" and went on to state that his seven-year-old had even noted that in Chicago they would've had outdoor recess in the conditions we had the past two days.
Some bloggers and commentators have taken Obama to task, noting that Washington isn't Chicago. Here at the Curmudgeon, where the kids were hanging around most of Tuesday, all of yesterday and a good chunk of this morning, we're happy to hear Obama's comments. It's about time!
Tuesday was particularly pathetic. Many school systems cancelled classes in the morning in the face of a dusting of snow that later grew to 1-3 inches. In Arlington, they got all the kids to school in the morning, but then released them early--at about the same time it stopped snowing. Really, if the kids are already at school, why close early--you're going to send them home in the snow either way!
(Our 11-year-old did proudly note, however, that his school had outdoor recess in the snow on Tuesday, which, of course, was a lot of fun for him.)
Yesterday (Wednesday) was a closer call. Ice is more dangerous than snow, and the region had a solid half inch coating of ice. But proper treatment of roads, sidewalks, etc. would make even that manageable. Indeed, D.C. schools managed to stay open, albeit with a delayed start. Good for D.C.!
Arlington, which is very much like D.C., only smaller, closed its schools even though the main roads were passable. Yes, some side streets were iced up. The solution is to have alternative bus routes that stick to primary roads, which can be used in winter weather.
In Washington, people act like they've never seen snow before, notwithstanding that we average 15 inches per year of the stuff. People to the north of Washington routinely go to school while dealing with a lot more than that, so why can't Washington?
The real answer: wimpiness!