School Snow Days Are Good For Education

Even if some students make it to the classroom, keeping schools open on the snowiest days can hurt learning.

When a storm is brewing and the streets are soon to be rendered useless by mounds of snow, there’s really only one thing running through every student’s mind: please let tomorrow be a snow day. Now there’s science to back up canceling school due to nasty weather. According to a study by Harvard Kennedy School assistant professor Joshua Goodman, keeping the school doors open can actually hurt learning more than a snow day closure.

Here’s the lowdown: When districts and schools decide to call off school, they also tend to tack on extra days in the schedule to make up for lost time. But when weather conditions are snowpocalyptic, parents are going to keep kids home anyway, or transportation won’t be available for students to get to class. These absences can cause students to miss out and fall behind with academics. Additionally, teachers will have to devote time to getting these students caught up with their classmates that made it to school.

Goodman came to this conclusion after looking at data from 2003 to 2010, including students in third to 10th grade. If more school administrators listen to Goodman’s findings, students won’t have to worry while they’re making snow angels in the park about making up a fractions lesson or discussion on Tuck Everlasting.