When the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space in 1957, reactions among political leaders in the United States ran the gamut from outrage to indifference.
When KIPP DIAMOND Academy opened in 2002 the new charter school leased a handful of classrooms along two corridors in an existing public middle school in a gritty North Memphis neighborhood. It was one of the first charter schools in Memphis, championed by the local Hyde Foundation and aimed at attracting underperforming students from throughout the city. It was an exciting new option for parents in a city school system where only 6 percent of high school graduates are deemed college ready. The people at KIPP Memphis wanted to make a difference, and they did.
Based on national averages, a teacher’s starting salary is about $39,000 a year; retiring teachers average $67,000. For many of them, that puts the prospect of home ownership out of reach. Today, despite the drop in home prices since 2008 and historically low interest rates, the problem persists for teachers in communities around the country. It is particularly acute in major metropolitan markets. According to Paycheck to Paycheck, a 2009 survey of more than 200 U.S.
The ideal envisioned by advocates of the Smart Growth and new urbanism movements of the ‘70s and ‘80s--and embraced by a generation of planners and designers--is one of mixed-use communities that are walkable and bikeable, where kids attend community-centered schools, and residents walk to nearby retail shops and businesses. It’s an idea that’s been made increasingly compelling by the growing recognition that we have to reduce our energy consumption and gas emissions--and improve the health and fitness of our children.
In 2011, like thousands of other U.S. schools, Fairfield Senior High School in suburban Cincinnati was facing a budget crisis. In response, among other cutbacks, the school board voted in March to eliminate school bus services for high school students for the 2011-2012 academic year, a move that would save the district $300,000 a year. This wasn’t the first time the district’s school board felt forced to address funding shortfalls by eliminating bus services.
In 2009, NJN Public Television and Radio produced a documentary, Green Builders, spotlighting four pioneering green building projects. One was a school--the Willow School in Gladstone, New Jersey. Built in 2003 according to sustainable practices, the school sits on a 34-acre site. It is an idyllic environment, with natural meadows, butterfly gardens, and hedgerows as well as a constructed wetlands that provides a natural filtration system for wastewater. The school building, which has a traditional but rustic quality, is filled with natural light.