The National School Boards Association has launched the Clean, Green and Safe Schools initiative. The aim of the initiative is to provide school board members with 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 can be 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% 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 of 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 for 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.”
Honeywell has also announced that it is supporting the NSBA initiative. The company says it 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.
“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 of 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 resources can be found at www.nsba.org/cgss.