Shaping the Future: Trends in Education
Building green is part of a
comprehensive effort that includes sustainability, indoor air quality, energy
conservation, and all other matters that pertain to the environment and the
overall health of students and faculty.
This is reflected at local state,
national, and international levels. Recently CEFPI was asked to participate in
two major national collaborations concerned with green building in education.
We were invited as a lead organization by the Clinton Foundation and the USGBC
to participate in the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Energy Efficiency Building
Retrofit program to help reduce energy consumption in educational facilities
nationwide. Less than a month later, we were invited to Capitol Hill to participate
in the launch of a Green Schools Caucus, a bipartisan effort begun in the House
to educate Congress on the benefits of green schools.
CEFPI also joined with the U.S.
Green Building Council to co-sponsor a 2007 McGraw-Hill Green Building
SmartMarket Report in which MHC economists forecast that education would be the
fastest growing sector for green building.
Another indicator is that our
annual High Performance Schools Symposium, held each January, has grown in
popularity every year and routinely attracts attendees from around the world.
Merle Kirkley is president of the
Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) Board of
Directors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peeking Inside the Beltway 2008
No one in their
right mind would ever want to call themselves an inside the Beltway soothsayer. Crystal balls and
Ouija boards, while often useful for looking into the future, have proven
ineffective in predicting what a Congress or President will do and even less so
in an election year. 2008 will be one of those years. Given the current swings
in public sentiment, political pressures, election year posturing, strange
bedfellow partnerships, the war against terror, and party alignments makes it
doubly challenging to guess what path Congress or the White House will take in
2008. No one has ever said I was totally of sound mind, so I am taking on the
challenge to trying to describe some of the things one can expect in education
inside the Beltway in 2008. However, one must admit when attempting this for
2008, there are more unknowns than answers to the questions.
Given the end of
the year appropriation battles for FY 2008 and the minimal increases in
domestic spending won by the Democrats while holding a majority of Congress,
the 2009 fiscal year budget proposal and appropriations process should be as
protracted. There will be a lame duck President and Congress, with the latter
campaigning to return to office. Unless there is early agreement on appropriations,
it is most likely that there will be a continuing resolution or another omnibus
bill, including at least 12 of the 13 appropriation bills, and possibly all of
them. Also, Congress will most likely come back after the election for a few
weeks to clean up things.
A key piece of
education legislation, No Child Left Behind, has yet to be reauthorized. At the
end of 2007, the conventional wisdom was that nothing would happen during an
election year. However, just at the end of the session, it has become clear
that a significant effort is going to be made by both the leadership of
authorizing House and Senate Committees to get a new bill written and passed in
2008. The word is that the fundamental principles of NCLB will remain, but the
leadership is looking for new approaches and strategies to enable students to
reach the skill standards and achieve proficiency; train and retain a quality
teaching workforce; provide new educational opportunities for those at greatest
need; and build an accountability system which provides quality information to
improve teaching and learning, as well as means to address poorly achieving
classrooms, schools, and systems.
Given we are not in
a balanced budget situation, it is doubtful that there will be significant
increase in education spending. If the current experience with the FY 07
appropriation is any indication, there will be few, if any, increases. The
President will ask again for additional funds for Reading First, and the math
and science initiative, as well as token increases to Title I and special
education and, possibly, English language learners.
Members of Congress
will as always seek increases for Title I and special education to begin to
meet the glide path towards full funding, which was agreed upon several years
ago, but has yet to be met. It is doubtful under the current budget condition
that the Democrats will be able to restore funding that has been cut and move
back on the glide path. There will also be efforts to increase funding in other
K-12 areas such as 21st Century Community Learning Centers, arts and
music, literacy, English language learners, and other areas that have lacked
support, such as middle and high school transformation, foreign languages, and
the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) initiatives.
has seen increases for Pell grants, but there will be a continuing effort to
continue that level of funding, as well as improve funding for access and
preparation for college programs such as TRIO and GEAR UP. There will be a push
for more support for higher education programs such as foreign languages and
institutional support. But the focus will be on elementary and secondary
funding for SCHIP (funding of child health insurance), vetoed twice by the
President, should get a third run early in 2008. Senators Oren Hatch (UT) and
Charles Grassley (IA) were strong advocates for the legislation and worked
tirelessly to get their fellow Republicans in both the House and the Senate to
vote for the bill to override the President’s veto. Now that the President is a
lame duck, some additional Republicans should join the ranks and have enough
votes to override a veto.
All in all, it will
not be a very eventful year for domestic programs, much less education.
Politics, with a capital “P”, will be dominant, and that will have an impact on
legislation and appropriations.
Fritz Edelstein is
a principal in the PublicPrivate Action consulting group. To gain daily insight
into what is going on inside the Beltway you can subscribe to Fritzwire.
Send your contact information to email@example.com.
Regulation from the IRS a New Challenge
There are always key issues that
school business officials will deal with on an annual basis, such as the
allocation of resources and budget management. In times of declining resources,
continued unfunded mandates, and the focus on student achievement, we
continually find that there is an ever-increasing competition for the same
resources. This is not a new challenge. This next year, however, school
business officials across the nation can expect to be spending an inordinate
amount of time dealing with new regulations from the IRS.
There are a number of changes in
the IRS regulations dealing with 403(b) and 457 revenue procedures, tax-free
transfers and exchanges, as well as other new compliance regulations. These new
regulations will require that the school business official be well versed in
the new regulations, as well as maintain an intense focus in order to assure
compliance. In fact, even if a school business official worked on these regs
100 percent of their workday, it still would be a very difficult task. As the
SBO’s across the nation work for compliance of the new regulations, they will
also be overcoming the continued challenges in the areas of school nutrition
services, maintenance and operations, student transportation, financial
services, procurement, as well as technology and other support operation areas.
ASBO International will be
providing resources in the area of the IRS regulations to help SBO’s
effectively manage all areas of support services. Those resources will include;
- [if !supportLists]a
common plan document,
service provider agreement,
RFP for 403 (b) administration procurement and
salary reduction and hold harmless agreement.
School Business Officials can
expect strict enforcement of these regulations and thus, will need to be
spending a good deal of their time and energy in this area. Other resources
that will help SBO’s can be found on the ASBO Website at www.asbointl.org/index.asp?bid=9709.
John Musso RSBA, is executive director of the Association of School
Business Officers International. He can be reached at 866/ 682-2729, ext. 7063
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Crystal Ball Points to Energy
As 2007 ends and 2008 begins with the price of crude oil tip-toeing
around $100 a barrel, the importance of energy management in the operations of
our nations’ schools is being seen as a necessity, rather than a luxury, by
more school administrations and boards. There is still a long way to go.
During the past year, visits and discussions with many school districts,
both large and small, rural, urban, and suburban across the nation, the
following foundation elements in energy management are have been put into
place: 1) inclusion of energy education materials classroom learning
experience; 2) either hiring or appointing an individual to be responsible for
management of energy resources; 3) increase use of utility management programs
or services; 4) increase emphasis on energy awareness training of all school
personnel; 5) adoption or adherence to high performance/green/sustainable
design standards for new, renovation, or replacement construction projects; and
6) increase understanding, value, and use of existing energy management
With key foundation elements being put into place, what new elements
appear during the new year — 2008 — to increase effectiveness of energy
management: 1) adoption of an energy policy and energy management plans aimed
at reducing energy use initially by 50 percent; 2) adoption of new technologies
— energy efficient transformers (U.S. Department of Energy’s C-3 Standard), LED
or fluorescent exterior lighting, oil-free centrifugal chillers; 3) adoption of
new strategies — dark schools, control of classroom outlets, hallway lighting,
lighting levels, plug and phantom load controls, sub-metering of key electrical
circuits; and, 4) laying the ground work for net-zero energy school operations
As 2008 begins, out of necessity, energy management is rising to the top
as a key element in schools to control budgets, reduce environmental impact,
and provide their students with the tools needed to advance energy efficiency
and sustainability into the 21st Century.
Larry Schoff is
president of Energy Efficient Solutions (E2S). His 42-year career in facilities
management includes 21 years working specifically with educational facilities.
He currently provides consulting services to help schools nationwide improve
energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption, in addition to contributing
articles on Energy Efficient Design to numerous national publications.
School Security and Emergency
administrators will stress one school safety theme in 2008 — Being Proactive.
the coming year, expect escalated violence from gangs and opposing neighborhood
cliques in communities with a presence of such rivalries. Non-fatal shootings
and firearms incidents will grow. Additional security needs for school athletic
events, on school buses, and to and from school will also challenge educators
and safety officials.
leaders need to better prepare for assessing and managing threats. Bomb
threats, death threats, and rumors of school shootings will continue to plague
administrators. Poorly prepared school officials will make questionable,
knee-jerk decisions, such as repeated evacuations or closing schools, when
other options may be available.
will demand greater attention to school security. Expect calls for “by-name
accountability” of administrators and boards who fail to have adequate
risk-reduction and preparedness measures in place.
high-profile incidents and crisis situations, parents will demand assessment of
security procedures and measures, in addition to the traditional calling-in of
must partner more with public safety and other community partners to prepare
for emergencies. Greater joint planning, cross training, and tabletop exercises
are needed to test written plans.
security vendors will be more aggressive, and sometimes more manipulative and
misleading while targeting school budgets. Be leery of “free security
assessments” and other offers that seem too good to be true.
to be better-educated consumers of security and emergency products and services.
Avoid “doing it on the cheap,” as pennywise but pound-foolish school security
decisions will increase financial and school image liabilities.
demonstrations, tear-jerking presentations, templated checklists, and canned
reports are old news. Educators want experienced, analytical experts and school
safety services tailored to meet each district’s unique needs.
S. Trump is president of National School Safety and Security Services, a
Cleveland-based national consulting firm specializing in school security and
emergency preparedness training and consulting, school security assessments,
and related school safety consulting services. He may be reached at www.schoolsecurity.org.