As any K12 educator assigned to bus duty can confirm, choking exhaust fumes can be overwhelming for students and everyone in the area. I remember it well. Unnecessary school bus idling pollutes the air, wastes fuel and causes excess engine wear, and is a health hazard in almost every district. Twenty-four million children spend on average an hour and a half in school buses each weekday, and school buses drive more than four billion miles each year, so the problem is significant.
In the spirit of Carl Vogel's article "Green Light on Energy Use," on making buildings more environmentally friendly, it is therefore appropriate to address environmental concerns outside schools as well. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to implement policies and practices to reduce car and bus idling on school property, as presented through Web sites such as Clean School Bus USA from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus). Districts across the nation are now implementing "no idle" policies, and idle-reduction materials for schools are available through the site.
Other features in this issue include "Picture This," on the exploding uses-and abuses-of digital cameras and cell phone cameras in school districts, and part three of our commissioned study on the buying power of districts, which focuses on curriculum.The research discovered that districts reached by DA spend an amazing $2.95 billion yearly on curriculum. Moreover, 96 percent of readers are "brand builders," whose decisions led to purchasing a specific vendor's products within the past two years, whereas 93 percent are "brand burners," whose opinions led to rejecting specific vendors. In fact, nearly 49 percent of readers built a brand and 39 percent burned a brand in a one-month period, which underscores the need for continuing access to information.
Shared Product Expertise
In addition to keeping up with advertising and product reviews in District Administration each month, one of the best ways to gain information for making wise purchase decisions is through the shared expertise in our expanded and searchable online products database. This growing resource, maintained by our editor Ken Royal, lists thousands of products in hardware, software, books and related materials, and the Internet. So whether you seek curriculum products in math, or plan to purchase printers or digital cameras, look to the database for options that are available from each company. And thanks to a unique "star rating system," where users rate each product from one to five stars, you will see aggregate evaluations for each item. This rating system will also be used in preparing a special thirteenth products-only issue of DA that we will publish early in 2008. But we need your help in selecting the Readers' Choice Top 100 Products in K12 Education, to be announced in that issue, so make sure you visit our site and vote for your favorites. www.DistrictAdministration.com/Products
Senior Editor Gary Stager has been exceptionally active this year. In addition to editing and writing for District Administration, coordinating our EduComm conference and traveling throughout the world, he was new media producer for the Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project's Simpat?co CD, which won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year. And now we learn that Gary was selected by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) as one of the "20 to Watch" educators for 2007. While I kid him that the award means that Gary is "someone to keep an eye on," we all give him our heartfelt congratulations!