15 February 2007

School environments - are they healthly?

As a teacher I understand the importance of education; however, I am not sure we cover all the basics students need. For example, when do we teach them about the criticality of a healthily environment? I know as a biology teach that we have 6 weeks to cover ecology, which doesn't leave much time for drilling down on the how's, why's and what's of being environmental stewards. Yes, there's time in class to discuss the importance of recycling and share some facts, like the hundreds of years it takes for a plastic diaper to decompose. It would be better if we can instill in students the importance of environmental friendly behaviors so they can practice them - but that takes time and it's not a "Standard" in our District.

Looking from a whole different point of view, what about the status of our nation's school buildings? I know at our school we have one very old building. Teachers that have been in that one for years swear its' air system is spewing bad stuff. I don't mean to point fingers, I am simply saying I don't think there is a procedure in place to check the health of school buildings....and that scares me. One think for sure, schools carry lots of germ and bacteria. If you need the evidence .... look at the the sick sniffing, coughing, blurry eyed students traveling the halls every day.

On another approach all together to the environment in schools, why hot have facilities produce an income. Here in AZ we have lotsa sun. Why not put some solar panels on the schools? They will be active all year long. Surely in the summer, when school is closed, they can produce energy that will be sold back to the utility company. Better yet, the students can work on these projects. Doing that they obtain life skills, learn environment stewardship, and help the school economically. It's time to get out of the box on how we think about school environments.

We need to make sure our students have healthy buildings and we need to help them understand the necessity of being environmental stewards.

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