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The National School Boards Association today launched the Clean, Green and Safe Schools initiative with the aim of providing school board members information they can use to develop policies and protocols to provide a healthy and safe environment for students, teachers, administrators and visitors. The initiative also provides access to experts who can help school boards develop and implement a working plan to improve school buildings, so they are energy and cost efficient, safe, and designed to provide an optimal learning environment.
A school’s physical structure is a critical component to student success. Studies have found positive correlations between building conditions and student performance. Unfortunately, the inverse is also true. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency found that that students who attend schools in poor condition score 11 percent lower on standardized tests than students who attend schools in good condition.
“School board members across the country believe every school-age child deserves the finest public K-12 education possible,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director and CEO, NSBA. “Striving to provide the highest quality education – one that enables every student to achieve their full potential – is grounded in many factors including the learning environment.”
A report issued in March 2016 from the Center for Green Schools estimated that America spends $46 billion less annually on construction and maintenance on schools than is needed to maintain a safe and healthy environment. One in six people in America spend their day in a K-12 school and schools represent the largest public building sector in America, yet the last Government Accounting Office evaluation of school infrastructure is from 1995 and the average American school is 44 years old.
“School board members are often forced to choose between maintaining the building and keeping teachers. This is a no win choice and it is our children who lose as a result,” said Gentzel. “A challenge exists to upgrade facilities with capital budgets that are tight. Fortunately, creative solutions exist to help school boards address these environmental and infrastructure conditions so they can focus on their primary goal: serving students.”
This is an ideal time to work on this critical issue as President Trump has spoken about the need to enhance our nation’s infrastructure. He has generated interest in an issue that needs it and there is no better investment than in school infrastructure. An investment in school infrastructure – making them cleaner, greener and safer – will help school districts create sanctuaries for learning and teaching, producing a brighter future for students and communities.
Honeywell, which creates solutions that improve quality of life for people around the globe, is supporting this important initiative. The company shares NSBA’s belief that every school-aged child deserves the finest public K-12 education possible and it has been helping school districts generate clean energy and increase safety and security. Honeywell’s extensive experience will benefit school board officials who are seeking guidance and expertise as they navigate a myriad of questions and issues related to school building infrastructure.
“Across the United States, upgrading the infrastructure of our educational facilities is a critical issue, because it has a direct impact on the performance and education of the next generation,” said Scott Maynard, director, Honeywell Building Solutions. “Honeywell and NSBA are united in advancing awareness and efforts to improve our school infrastructure through building improvements, energy conservation measures and other steps that ultimately improve productivity and save schools money so they can focus on what matters most—student outcomes.”
More information and an array of resources, including case studies, videos, “Ask the Expert” link, infographics and other content, is located at www.nsba.org/cgss. # # # The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA believes education is a civil right necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people, and all children should have equal access to an education that maximizes his or her individual potential. The association represents state school
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