It’s hot in New Jersey. How hot is it? It’s so hot even Mitch McConnell’s not freezing.

But is it hot enough to close down schools or reduce them to just half days? That’s been the case in several districts around the state this first week back to school.

Many schools with no air conditioning or only partial air conditioning have been deciding how to handle it.

The state’s second-largest district, Jersey City, did a half day Thursday and announced the same for Friday. So did Edison, the state’s fifth-largest district. But Newark, the biggest district in New Jersey, held firm and had kids and teachers tough it out.

So what’s right here?

Are we coddling kids by doing early dismissals over hot weather? Even extremely hot weather? Or is it common sense?

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There have been studies showing a learning loss of 1% for every 1 degree above a comfortable room temperature. So if ideal would be 72 and the classroom is at 87, that would result in a 15% learning loss.

I can buy that. Yet isn’t doing a half day amounting to a 50% learning loss? Listen, I know it makes one sound old and ornery and bitter to say things like, “Back in my day we got through it!”

Except, we did. Was it ideal? Of course not. Was it harder to focus and probably less effective? Yes. But it was still something.

With all the distractions in schools today taking time away from the education basics I feel the 180 full days are hardly enough.

It would almost be better to cancel school outright for heat than do half days because at least then a full day will be made up. This? You’re losing.

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Believe me, I get it. I grew up in a house with no air conditioning whatsoever. Same for all my schools. I remember working in class with the sweat falling from my forehead onto the paper I was writing on.

That being said, if it should get so bad in a sweltering school that children are going to become sick then by all means, call it off. But call it entirely off. Not early dismissals. Don’t pretend four hours equals seven hours. That’s math on heatstroke.

The 30 best rated schools in New Jersey

Here are the top 30 schools statewide, based on their 2021-2022 New Jersey School Performance Reports — involving scores for language arts, math and attendance. (For an explanation of how the state calculates the "accountability indicator scores" and overall rating for each school, see page 90 of this reference guide.)

The 30 worst rated schools in New Jersey

Here are the 30 lowest-rated schools statewide, based on their 2021-2022 New Jersey School Performance Reports — involving scores for language arts, math and attendance. (For an explanation of how the state calculates the "accountability indicator scores" and overall rating for each school, see page 90 of this reference guide.)

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