Literary Activism

Action Item: Baltimore Public Schools Are Freezing

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

It’s been cold through much of the US the last couple of weeks. In the midwest, we’re finally emerging from nearly three weeks of single-digit and sub-zero temperatures. The East Coast, from Florida all the way to Maine, has been battling the double punch of a lot of snow and a deep freeze.

But for the students in Baltimore Public Schools, it’s not only cold outside. It’s cold inside. The city’s schools are lacking heat, and funding to fix the HVAC systems isn’t coming. Children are bundled up in all their winter gear, shivering in their classrooms, unable to escape the winter pains and unable to get the education they deserve.

And more, it’s not just any Baltimore Public Schools suffering. It is primarily schools with a large black student population. You can—and should—read about the racist politics at play in Baltimore Public Schools and the impact that has had on the heat situation here.



While a little out of the normal range of “Action Item” Donors Choose projects, it’s impossible to ignore what’s going on. Here’s a round-up of a number of Baltimore Public School classroom projects worthy of support. The might not fix the heat, but they can certainly enhance some aspect of the day-to-day school experiences for these kids.

Let’s use our combined passion for reading, for literacy, and for education to support these classrooms. Noted with these projects are schools which were specifically denied funding for fixing the heat (per the tweet below).




If everyone who reads this post donated $5 for a project, we’ll make a helluva dent. We might not be able to turn the heat higher, but we can make the experiences these students (and teachers) have in their classrooms a little bit more enjoyable.