As temperatures rise & classrooms get hotter, the lack of air conditioning in many schools is creating unsafe and unproductive learning environments.


When a public school educator takes to Twitter to lớn declare “We did it!” you might expect some good news about student achievement, a school victory, or maybe an advocacy win benefitting public education.

Bạn đang xem: English test 1

But last May, Mark Westpfahl, a history teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota, was pointing khổng lồ a milestone that was hardly worth celebrating:

We did it! We topped 100° in my #CHCougars classroom. I'm not sweating anymore.I'm light headed.I have a headache.All the classic signs of heat exhaustion.Imagine what my my pregnan và nursing colleagues are going through & of course my students, esp, those observing #Ramadan pic.twitter.com/NE0fdd6PD7

— Mark J. Westpfahl (

One week later, there was no relief in sight as a heat wave gripped the midwest. With only a few days left in the school year, Westpfahl wasn"t letting up.

7:18am. Already 82-84° in the #CHCougars classroom. Yesterday got up into the high 90°s again. I haven't seen a class room temperature below 78 in my room in more than 3 weeks. 2 more days. But, summer school starts a week after school gets out. It'll still be a problem. Pic.twitter.com/RDWHVLANEB

— Mark J. Westpfahl (

Westpfahl had already written a letter to district officials about these unacceptable conditions that had forced him khổng lồ send a dozen students khổng lồ the nurse"s office. He was soon lugging bags of ice và igloo coolers into school and took to lớn Twitter again to asked if anyone in the area could spare a few barn fans lớn help create a little cross breeze in the school"s stifling hallways.

School officials in St. Paul acknowledged the problem and delivered 2,000 water bottles and 361 fans lớn schools cloaked in hot temperstures. They also told families to provide their children with plenty of water and wet towels to wrap around their necks .That the district had khổng lồ scramble khổng lồ help students & staff cope with the heat is unsurprising in view of the fact that air conditioning is installed in only one-third of its schools.

Relying on Stopgap Measures

Very few districts have mandated temperature maximums, nor is air conditioning required in many schools. A 2017 analysis found that a dozen of the largest districts in the country, including Baltimore County, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, và Jefferson County, Colorado (suburban Denver), did not have fully air-conditioned schools.

So what actions bởi vì they take when classrooms become too hot? Often schools just close early, or they stagger toward the last day of school with a patchwork of quick, temporary, & usually inadequate fixes.

Many districts deem air conditioning to lớn be an inordinately expensive investment, pointing out that the suffocating heat of summer generally arrives và stays after school gets out. Students và staff, however, still have to cope with May & June, và oppressive temperatures stick around long after they return in August or early September.

And even if a school is equipped with air conditioning, systems break down và often don"t get repaired or upgraded. The air conditioning in Mark Westpfahl"s school in St. Paul, Capitol Hill Magnet, malfunctioned as the heat wave hit the area in May.

Many of the largest school districts in the United States bởi vì not have fully air-conditioned schools. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

At Attleboro High School In Plainville, Massachusetts, students spent much of their time of the last days of the 2017-18 school year in the air-conditioned auditorium, library or computer labs. The school"s AC system wasn"t pushing enough cool air to reach most of the classrooms.

School officials và educators kept close track of any potential heat-related health effects và moved students around when classrooms became too hot.

As Brianna, a junior at Attleboro, told The Sun Chronicle, “It can be really hard to concentrate in class when it’s this hot. I vày a lot better when it’s cool as it helps me stay calm and relaxed.”

On the hottest days, she added, the two fans situated in her classroom don"t provide much relief.

Xem thêm: Tìm Hiểu Sự Thật Lịch Sử Vua Hùng Có Bao Nhiêu Đời Vua Hùng ?

“This time of year you do the best you can do,” said Plainville Public Schools Superintendent David Raiche.

Hot Classrooms Make it Harder lớn Learn

But “best” may not be good enough. Coping with oppressive heat in a sweltering classroom isn’t just a bothersome rite of passage before summer break. Hot classrooms are unhealthy for students và staff and, as a team of researchers concluded recently, the lack of air-conditioning in schools is directly impairing student outcomes.

In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Joshua Goodman, Michael Hurwitz, Jisung Park, và Jonathan Smith examined thử nghiệm results of 10 million students attending high school from 2001 khổng lồ 2014. They then used federal weather sensors to lớn measure the temperature experienced by students on school days in the year leading up to lớn the test.

By crunching this and other data, the researchers were able lớn determine that students who took the exam after experiencing a hotter year had lower scores compared khổng lồ their test performance after a cooler year. Without air conditioning, each 1°F increase in school year temperature reduces the amount learned that year by one percent (or the equivalent of being absent for two days).

“Air conditioning appears lớn offset goodsmart.com.vnrly all of the damaging impacts of cumulative heat exposure on academic achievement.” they concluded.

As a heat wave gripped St. Paul in late May, teacher Mark Westpfahl hauled bags of ice & igloo coolers into the classroom lớn help students cope. (Photo: Mark Westpfahl)

Most troubling, though hardly surprising, is the disproportionate impact of hot classrooms on students of color. The report"s authors conclude that “heat effects trương mục for up khổng lồ 13% of the U.S. Racial achievement gap.”

Black & Hispanic students are more likely lớn attend high-poverty schools, which are more likely to lack air conditioning. In addition, more affluent parents are better positioned to reduce the academic effects of hot classrooms on their children with trang chủ air conditioning, or paying for a tutor after school.

The researchers acknowledge the strain air conditioning can put on a district"s budget, but argue the long-term benefits can"t be overstated.

Goodman, the study"s lead author, told Earther in June that since the paper"s publication, he has heard other ideas about curtailing heat in classrooms.

“I see school air conditioning as one piece we know for sure how khổng lồ do,” Goodman said. “It doesn’t mean it’s the best solution or only solution but it is a potential one. I’ve gotten e-mail from folks about planting trees & shading schools that could help.”

Lawmakers in New Jersey are stressing this point as they marshal tư vấn for a bill, introduced in March, that would require all schools to have temperature-controlled classrooms. The bill’s supporters in the legislature say there are various ways lớn help cool a classroom, but air conditioning tops the list.

If the bill is approved và signed into law, the New Jersey departments of education và health will be charged with creating guidelines, which districts will be responsible for implementing.

Xem thêm: Đóng Vai An Dương Vương - Kể Lại Toàn Bộ Câu Chuyện Xưa

The state’s public school educators have lined up to support the bill.

“Extreme temperatures lượt thích those that exist in too many of our schools hurt student learning,” said New Jersey Education Association President Marie Blistan. "If we can air condition every movie theater in New Jersey and heat every fast-food restaurant, there is no excuse for failing to modernize our schools in order to lớn give our students the best possible learning environment."