May 14, 2009
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On House Passage of Bill Promoting Green, Sustainable Schools
The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 2187) would help create safe, modern and energy-efficient learning environments that are important to raising student performance.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives passed "green" legislation today that will address two pressing issues confronting American public schools: deteriorating learning environments and the burden of high energy costs.
The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act will establish incentives to repair deteriorating schools and build high-performing schools based on green and sustainable principles. Energy-efficient construction will mean significant savings for school districts and the creation of well-paying construction jobs.
A 2008 AFT study, "School Infrastructure Funding Need: A State-by-State Assessment and an Analysis of Recent Court Cases," showed that repairing school infrastructure will require a significant infusion of money. By providing $6.4 billion annually, H.R. 2187 begins to provide the resources needed to make this happen.
The AFT strongly supports the goal of promoting green schools, which has a tremendously positive impact on student performance, school operational costs and staff attrition. The AFT urges the U.S. Senate to join the House and pass similar legislation in the near future.
# # # #
The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.