Report: Half trillion needed to update schools

Horror stories abound about schools with roofs that leak, plumbing that backs up and windows that do little to stop winds.

America’s schools are in such disrepair that it would cost more than $270 billion just to get elementary and secondary buildings back to their original conditions and twice that to get them up to date, a report released Tuesday estimated. In a foreword to the report, former President Bill Clinton said “we are still struggling to provide equal opportunity” to children and urged the first federal study of school buildings in almost two decades.

Clinton and the Center for Green Schools urged a Government Accountability Office assessment on what it would take to get school buildings up to date to help students learn, keep teachers healthy and put workers back on the jobs. The last such report, issued in 1995 during the Clinton administration, estimated it would take $112 billion to bring the schools into good repair and did not include the need for new buildings to accommodate the growing number of students.

The Center for Green Schools’ researchers reviewed spending and estimates schools spent $211 billion on upkeep between 1995 and 2008. During that same time, schools should have spent some $482 billion, the group calculated based on a formula included in the most recent GAO study.…Read More

Going green with multimedia

Technology can help teach kids to be globally-minded.
Technology can help teach kids to be globally-minded.

The shift in technology integration has proven very valuable to learning, but it has also been valuable to the Earth. I have observed many computer lab lessons in the past in which the students worked very hard on a product such as a picture, document, slide show, etc. Just before the class ended the teacher said, “Okay, time is just about up. Everyone stop what you are doing and click save and print.” How much paper did we waste with these lessons? I can only imagine.

The amount was ridiculous when we looked at our spending on color prints in one year in York. It was such a high price that we have stopped color printing all together for the rest of the school year. This took place shortly after the winter holiday break. Of course, there were some arguments and frustrations, but this initiative has really inspired teachers to look towards new forms of multimedia products. It has forced many teachers to publish web sites, develop project based learning with multimedia, and enter the world of Web 2.0.

Projects created in the lab are now appearing on web sites across the globe. Early elementary students are creating single slides for class slide shows using programs like Clicker Paint, Kidpix, and Hyperstudio 5. They are blogging about their writing and books they have read in class. Second graders are creating biographies using Comic Life, Time Liner XE, and Keynote. Third and fourth graders are using GPS in the classroom to learn about places on the Earth and are even entering the world of geocaching to create virtual Flat Stanley travel bugs that are currently traveling all over the globe.…Read More