California School Board Might Give The Mexican Children Air Conditioning Even Though They Are Mexican, Hooray!
A lady on the school board in Martinez, California, name of Denise Elsken, made people very mad in March, by saying that this one elementary school, where the white kids go, needs all the A/C, and that this other school, where the Latino kids go, does not. Why? Because the brown kids are "more acclimated" to heat, because they are poor and Mexican, we guess. Here, specifically, is what she said:
“I would say 95% of the students at Las Juntas do not have air conditioning in their homes. So whether that means those students are more acclimated and can handle a little more heat than the John Swett students — which I would say 95% of their residences have air conditioning in their homes.”
Elsken was very upset, because everybody said "THAT'S RACIST!!!" when that's not what she meant at all. All she meant was that maybe we could just plant some nice trees for shade, and that will keep the Messicans happy. And then she was upset again, because everybody was like "THAT'S RACIST!!!" Gah, can a white lady catch a break? Also, she's from that neighborhood, she's not rich, and her own kids went there, so why is everybody so upset?
The issue at hand, of course, is school funding spread thin. The board was debating how to spend $2 million allocated for "Measure K" projects, which include things like A/C and other school improvements. Should that money go to installing air conditioning, or should they just buy a bunch of sombreros for the kids and call it a day? Elsken is standing by her contention that her position is based on what the staff of the two schools actually want, which is, er, true, as it's been reported that the staff of John Swett listed AC as their highest priority, whereas the staff of Las Juntas gave higher priority to other stuff they say they need more:
Still, the situation raises the ongoing issue of the inequality in public schools. Ultimately, it’s not that the kids and teachers at Las Juntas want or are more accustomed to sweating through math class when the temperature hits 100 outside. Like their peers at John Swett, they want/need air-conditioning. They just said they want/need other things more.
Moreover, the entire school board DID vote in favor of the "cool the white school, not the Mexican one" proposal, so it's not like Elsken was alone. She was just the one who said the weird thing about Latinos being more "acclimated" to hot sweaty temperatures in schools.
Elsken says she is very sorry for what she said, and that maybe her comments were made "in not perhaps the best way," and uh, yeah, probably, but it also seems she was indeed very upset by this whole thing, since she actually cried while she was apologizing. And the good news is that they ARE putting air conditioning for the other school back on the agenda, so maybe the kids will be okay and not have to bring extra towels to school, just to keep the sweat from falling on their worksheets?
IDEA: How about we just make sure all schools in America are adequately funded, would that work? Naaaaaaah. Forget we suggested it.