California's Classrooms Going Green

With what some are calling the worst classroom conditions in the nation, California is trying to solve the problem by replacing all of its portable classrooms with green buildings.
June 10, 2009, 7am PDT | Liyuan Huang
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"California's classroom conditions are among the worst in the nation, according to studies by the Air Resources Board and the Department of Health Services. Some 85,000 trailers-euphemistically dubbed "learning cottages" by manufacturers-pepper the state's poorest districts. Cheaply built and designed to be towed down the highway, the trailers were originally intended to provide a temporary solution for student overflow. However, they've become a permanent problem, as 2 million students now attend classes in them every day. Often saturated with volatile organic compounds, the trailers leach toxins into the air. Those toxins cause asthma and respiratory infections, which beget absenteeism. Absenteeism, in turn, translates to shrinking allotments of state and federal budgets for schools.

Enter Project FROG, a design company that's building energy-efficient classrooms to tackle this problem. "As you would imagine, the way that we learn best is completely unrelated to the size of an interstate freeway," explains Adam Tibbs, FROG's president. "That's why building a trailer is the wrong learning environment to create." Tibbs's goal is to replace all of California's portable classrooms with green buildings by 2015."

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Published on Monday, June 8, 2009 in Good
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