We devote this Hotline message to an important request from the American Federation of Teachers for your input on a short “Green Schools Survey”:
“The new school year is in full swing. We’re hoping that you or your children returned to a school that is safe and welcoming and that provides a healthy environment with good air quality and temperature control. We know, however, that conditions are less than ideal for many educators and their students. A national survey of school nurses found that more than 40 percent knew children and staff who were adversely affected by avoidable indoor pollutants.
“We know little about the general condition of America’s school buildings. One study by the 21st Century School Fund found that the average age of a U.S. school is 40 years and that the cost to modernize schools would be at least $270 billion.
“We’d like to hear from you about the conditions you or your children found when you returned to school this year.
“Help us reclaim the promise of a high quality public education. Take a moment to answer our survey about the state of your school.
“We’ll use the results to advocate for repairing and modernizing schools—making them safe and healthy for students and staff. Modernizing schools can save big money. The U.S. Green Building Council reports that modern, green schools can save $100,000 per year on operating costs—enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers or purchase 5,000 textbooks.
“Fixing our schools is part of the AFT and the BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America campaign—our effort to upgrade the systems we rely on every day for water, energy, communications, and to move people and goods around our country. Modernizing our schools to be healthier, safer and more efficient will put people back to work and ensure America’s students have high-quality learning environments.