Subscribe to this Blog
Today's Blogs
    The Checkup:

'Greener' Schools

Most of the items on the school supply list make a lot of sense. Pencils, crayons, glue, notebooks, folders. But some just had me scratching my head. Scissors? Rulers? Pencil sharpeners? What happened to the scissors kids brought in last year ... and the year before ... and the year before that? Is there some Fiskars graveyard lying around where maybe, just maybe, we should rescue and reuse them?

Several organizations are working to make schools more environmentally friendly. The Audubon Naturalist Society, for instance, works with schools in Montgomery County for two-year stints to help make the school greener. Farm to School, which teaches kids where their food comes from and supplies schools with locally grown fresh foods, has programs in at least 45 states.

And schools around the country are taking initiatives to be "greener." Connecticut schools have several changes in place from automatic shut-off lights and solar panels on one school's roof to using both sides of a piece of paper before recycling it. In Desoto, Kan.,, a school is putting in recycling bins throughout the school and teaching the kids what goes in them. You'd think recycling bins would have been in all schools around the country years ago, but I, for one, am still waiting for them to show up at our elementary school.

In Mount Airy, N.C., students persuaded the school district to dump styrofoam cafeteria trays for a more environmentally friendly product. And in San Jose, Calif., one district will start composting lunch this year. All food waste at Union District Schools, including compostable plates, cups and utensils, will be turned to dirt.

For families willing to shell out some extra bucks, eco-friendly school supplies are around for the buying. PaperMate's Earthwrite pencils sell for $3.99 for a box of 48. And Smencils are recycled scented pencils that will run you about $1.20 per pencil. Also available for purchase, recycled paper notebooks such as those made by EcoJet, crayons made from soybeans and recycled paper.

How "green" is your school environment? What other innovative ecologically friendly initiatives have you involved your kids in?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 22, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers
Previous: The True Badge of the Parent: The Minivan | Next: Where Are All the Men?

Comments


Greener Schools
The True Badge of the Parent: The Minivan
Grant Me College
The Perfect Water Bottle
To Leash or Not to Leash

"You'd think recycling bins would have been in all schools around the country years ago, but I, for one, am still waiting for them to show up at our elementary school."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

"What other innovative ecologically friendly initiatives have you involved your kids in?"

What has Stacey done?

Posted by: Curious Yellow | August 22, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

"What other innovative ecologically friendly initiatives have you involved your kids in?"


We quit our high-powered, soul-sucking jobs. We gave away all of our money andcrap...oops..stuff to charity. In between Bible schooling and home schooling our super gifted and talented kids(future Olympic medalists, Nobel Prize winners, and saints), we beg on the streets and shift between homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, and the free ER.

My Brad Pitt lookalike husband is still sexily ripped and I am hot, hot, hot!

Posted by: A different drummer | August 22, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

First off, our school didn't even have pencils or paper on the list, which makes me very suspicious. I mean, they are supposed to be learning to read and write.

Oh, but the plastic bags and paper towels - they are asking for tons of em. Waste, all of it. I don't use that stuff in my house, but we've got to send our kid to school with tons of them. Why?

I don't know how green the school is, but from looking at the supply list, I don't have much hope.

Posted by: Kay | August 22, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

"but I, for one, am still waiting for them to show up"

Why are you waiting? Why don't you DO SOMETHING?

Posted by: LAY-Z | August 22, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Kay, you don't use paper towels at home? All ShamWow, all the time for you, huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm so tired of "green" products, being "green", living a "green" lifestyle, etc. I guarantee you that this is just another trend. Should we speculate what's next?

Posted by: Jack | August 22, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I too would like to know what happens to all those Fiskars scissors. I mean if they go dull and have to be replaced on an annual basis, perhaps we should try a different brand!!!

Posted by: Virginia Mom | August 22, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The schools probably refurbish, repackage, and resell all those scissors -- they're making a mint!

Posted by: Jack | August 22, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

My Brad Pitt lookalike husband is still sexily ripped and I am hot, hot, hot!


Posted by: A different drummer | August 22, 2008 8:09 AM

Hopefully your husband will not sleep with your brother, like mine did.

Posted by: Donna | August 22, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

It's not enough for recycling bins to "show up" at the school; somebody then has to come collect the stuff and take it to the recycling center. That means that either county or parents have to pay for the recycling people to come pick up/service the bins, or parents have to volunteer to collect the stuff and run it to a recycling center.

Paying someone to do it is not cheap. If the parents are serious, I'd suggest getting the PTA to commit to providing the bins and then collecting the stuff and turning it in once a week. That will show very quickly whether the parents are dedicated to "going green" or just want to pay lip service to it.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 22, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

"parents have to volunteer to collect the stuff and run it to a recycling center. "

Yippee! Another reason to buy a minivan!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

You have to buy fiskars scissors? What are they cutting paper or silk?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

A big help would be to discourage teaching kids that they need junk all the time. Our principal asked that parents stop sending junk food--a good thing. Instead, my kid comes home with 10-15 goody bags a year filled with landfill filler from the likes of Oriental Trading Co. (what's with the inherently offensive company name, anyway?). Some class moms plan activities consisting of "crafts" of spongy plastic stuff glued onto other spongy plastic stuff.

The Scholastic "book fair" sells as much or more plastic junk than books these days.

The elaborate educational programs described above have value, I'm sure. First though, PTAs, principals, teachers, and parents need to take a hard look at the wastefulness of the examples we set for children.

Does anyone have suggestions for efficient environmentally responsible fundraising activities that can replace some of the revenue of the no-brainer bookfair? Any tactful strategies for introducing the idea that some longstanding PTA activities may not be the greenest without coming off as a rabid treehugger?

There's no way to take an all or nothing approach in the schools. It can be difficult to make these changes at home too. Still, slow progress is better than no progress.

Posted by: Stop Teaching Consumption | August 22, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Here is what schools in Virginia Beach are doing: http://www.vbschools.com/GreenSchools/index.asp.

Posted by: Beach Bum | August 22, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Also, regarding "green" fundraisers, cells phone recycling is something our kids' schools have done. There are several companies that are using this as a fundraiser activity for schools and civic groups. I think there is info on that in the link I posted before.

Posted by: Beach Bum | August 22, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"First though, PTAs, principals, teachers, and parents need to take a hard look at the wastefulness of the examples we set for children"

My PTA is run by a bunch of uber SAHMs. There is no way they will give up any of "fun" stuff they plan for the kids (and themselves), no matter how wasteful.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"Any tactful strategies for introducing the idea that some longstanding PTA activities may not be the greenest without coming off as a rabid treehugger?"

If you don't know how to make constructive suggestions to other adults without sounding like a finger-wagging whackjob, there's not much we can do for you. One would think that this skill is a fundamental requirement for adult living, but apparently your insecurity drives all human interaction.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Public Education is like private industry, it all comes down to the budget. Many "green" initiatives in the private sector are being put on hold and more and more frequently families are making choices based on their budget, not their environmental concerns. In our county the school budget is so tight that any initiative is going to be tabled for better budgetary times.

My personal opinion is that much of this "green" stuff is a trend, some of the economical options will stick, while the expensive ones will not.

The true believers (a minority still) will continue recycling every scrap of paper, plastic and aluminum and the rest of us will try to conserve and adopt cost saving measures as our budget allows. Public education budgets will most likely follow the same path.

Posted by: Siggy | August 22, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

My son's school has an organic vegetable garden and the children are responsible for tending it and they eat and cook with the veggies. It appears to be one of the favorite things to do for all the students. The new section of the school will be solar-powered. Pretty cool. I never thought about all the supplies from the previous year. That's a good question.

Does anyone have solar power at their house? My husband really wants us to convert fully to solar within 3 years. It's a pricey proposition but tempting. I would love to hear from people who've done this.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 22, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I am the same way. My biggest complaint is the idea that the supplies belong to the 'classroom' or the 'school' and not to the student. We label everything with our kids name (well, not the tissues). But really, why am I supplying tissues and bags and what not? Isn't that something the school should be supplying - what with the property taxes I'm paying?

I have the same question with the scissors - I mean, what do they *do* with all of them? Seriously?

Posted by: atlmom | August 22, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

"Any tactful strategies for introducing the idea that some longstanding PTA activities may not be the greenest without coming off as a rabid treehugger?"

Parking lot full of "safety first" minivans?

Run for PTA office.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I never thought about all the supplies from the previous year.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 22, 2008 8:56 AM

Of course you haven't! Classic MM.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone have solar power at their house? My husband really wants us to convert fully to solar within 3 years. It's a pricey proposition but tempting. I would love to hear from people who've done this.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 22, 2008 8:56 AM


Thats how my husband and brother first got together. they worked on a "project" and spent lots of alone time by themselves. just be careful! yeah i'm bitter, but so would you.

Posted by: Donna | August 22, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I have the same question with the scissors - I mean, what do they *do* with all of them?

altmom

My kids bring them home. Gasp. What do your kids do?

Posted by: Wow | August 22, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"My husband really wants us to convert fully to solar within 3 years. It's a pricey proposition but tempting. I would love to hear from people who've done this."

Google it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm so tired of "green" products, being "green", living a "green" lifestyle, etc. I guarantee you that this is just another trend. Should we speculate what's next?

Posted by: Jack | August 22, 2008 8:34 AM

"Green" sex.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm so tired of "green" products, being "green", living a "green" lifestyle, etc. I guarantee you that this is just another trend. Should we speculate what's next?

Posted by: Jack | August 22, 2008 8:34 AM


Heads deeper in the sand.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Every year at the last day of school the kids brings home all their stuff: gluesticks, scissors, rulers, pencils, filler paper,etc. Some of these things are unused or barely used and go straight back into the backpack for the next school year. In addition, the PTA puts together the packets of required materials according to the supply lists, which the kids can purchase in the school store. This year cost: $23.50. I've heard about such services provided online, but those seem much more expensive. We never used it since we find back to school shopping kinda fun, with kids looking for cool/cute stuff, but obviously some people are buying, since the system is in place for the past three years, at least.

Posted by: Medina | August 22, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

We never used it since we find back to school shopping kinda fun, with kids looking for cool/cute stuff,

Posted by: Medina | August 22, 2008 9:14 AM

Shopping - fun- cool/cute in the same sentence on the OP topic "Greener Schools".
Thump.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

re: fundraising ideas -- In researching this, I ran across elementary school kids who brought in the toys they no longer liked or played with. They had a yard sale and the proceeds funded some things for the school.

Another idea I read about sometime last year is a dance-a-thon. The kids get pledges to dance and then hold a dance in the gym. Every minute danced = money.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | August 22, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"Green" sex = schools passing out recyclable condoms. :-O

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Shopping - fun- cool/cute in the same sentence on the OP topic "Greener Schools".
Thump.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:18 AM


Well, Ms anonymouse, if your kids prefer generic pencils and notebooks, more power to you. If I had to spend six hours a day at school I would appreciate nice pen and really white paper.

Posted by: life is beautiful | August 22, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Another idea I read about sometime last year is a dance-a-thon. The kids get pledges to dance and then hold a dance in the gym. Every minute danced = money.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | August 22, 2008 9:20 AM

Some of the kids ride in limos to the dance-a-thons AKA mini-proms...

The SAHMs love this stuff. They get to "tart" up their daughters, go shopping, book vendors, spend money, and brag, brag, brag for a good cause.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Shopping - fun- cool/cute in the same sentence on the OP topic "Greener Schools".
Thump.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:18 AM


Well, Ms anonymouse, if your kids prefer generic pencils and notebooks, more power to you. If I had to spend six hours a day at school I would appreciate nice pen and really white paper.

Posted by: life is beautiful | August 22, 2008 9:33 AM

Double thump.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

"If you don't know how to make constructive suggestions to other adults without sounding like a finger-wagging whackjob, there's not much we can do for you. One would think that this skill is a fundamental requirement for adult living, but apparently your insecurity drives all human interaction."

Look, the DC area has a transient population, so I don't think the "we've always done it this way" mentality is quite as entrenched as it is in communities that are more stable. Have you ever taken a new job in large corporation? See how fast you make changes to corporate culture.

Where I am, many of the PTA moms are 2nd or 3rd generation in the school system. It's not a rural area either--it's just that there's plenty of opportunity for people to stay here.

If you want to get personal about it, it sounds as though you might be the one with limited experience. I guess you've only operated in ideal environments with open-minded critical thinkers. I was asking for constructive suggestions to help expedite change where the status quo is long-established. I am confident that I can influence change over time--I hope that someone here will offer useful first-hand experience that will help with this specific type of change.

Posted by: Stop Teaching Consumption | August 22, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Ummmm, this thread is about greening the schools, not providing an outlet for - admittedly - bitter rants RE hubbies who cheat.

Back to greening. How about seriously exploring a four-day week, incorporating some of the better practices around building/renovation, using the PTA to provide the labor to take care of the easier energy-saving tasks like weatherstripping and adding motion sensors to classroom and hall lights, and, when the time comes to re-roof to help with adding a green roof? Also putting together carpools to get kids to school and home, or to get them to the bus stop (especially in outlying areas) would be a big step.

Posted by: C-Ville is Green | August 22, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Ummmm, this thread is about greening the schools, not providing an outlet for - admittedly - bitter rants RE hubbies who cheat.

Posted by: C-Ville is Green | August 22, 2008 9:50 AM

There's one born every minute.

"using the PTA to provide the labor to take care of the easier energy-saving tasks like weatherstripping and adding motion sensors to classroom and hall lights, and, when the time comes to re-roof to help with adding a green roof? "

Posted by: C-Ville is Green | August 22, 2008 9:50 AM

PTA and LABOR?!?! The gals that have standing spa, hair, and nail appointments?
The men who have never held a hammer?

No bragging rights. Pay attention. But thanks for a good chuckle.

Posted by: LOL | August 22, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Ummmm, this thread is about greening the schools, not providing an outlet for - admittedly - bitter rants RE hubbies who cheat.


Posted by: C-Ville is Green | August 22, 2008 9:50 AM

Now dont you be critizing Donna. She's going through a tough time what with her hubby sleeping with her brother. If this is the only outlet she has, let it be.

Posted by: Nancy | August 22, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"green" living is here to stay. All of these "green" ideas have been around a long time (since my college days almost 20 years ago, at least). It is just now that people are waking up. I suggest you do the same.

Posted by: Get used to it Jack . . . | August 22, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Look, the DC area has a transient population, so I don't think the "we've always done it this way" mentality is quite as entrenched as it is in communities that are more stable.
.........
If you want to get personal about it, it sounds as though you might be the one with limited experience."

Posted by: Stop Teaching Consumption | August 22, 2008 9:47 AM

Why do you assume the writer is in the DC? Sounds as though you might be the one with limited experience.....

Posted by: Odd | August 22, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'd be willing to bet that within 10 years the "green" trend will be gone. People are inherently lazzzzzyyyyy....

Posted by: Jack | August 22, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The starting gun has signaled yet anther Mean Mommy Marathon.

Who will medal in this event? AB, Moxiemon, ATB, Siggy or will an unknown Anon declare a name and come from behind?

It will be a grueling day over the OP course, tune in late this afternoon for the presentation of medals.

Posted by: The Olympic Committee | August 22, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Why do you assume the writer is in the DC? Sounds as though you might be the one with limited experience.....

Posted by: Odd | August 22, 2008 10:03 AM


yeah what do y'all do in flyover country? eat grass and hay?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

green" living is here to stay. All of these "green" ideas have been around a long time (since my college days almost 20 years ago, at least)

Posted by: Get used to it Jack . . . | August 22, 2008 10:01 AM

20 years, as long as that?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Please....I'm sure she can find an outlet somewhere. Here's an idea....Counseling?

Posted by: Good Grief | August 22, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Isn't the purpose of school to teach children how to be uber-consumers?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

what abour reusing your undies?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

what abour reusing your undies?

Fine, as long as you launder them each time.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

what abour reusing your undies?

Fine, as long as you launder them each time.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:26 AM

i meant reusing worn undies. just flip them inside out, wear the back in the front and vice versa. that gives you 4 days worth. saves on detergent! do you really mind skidmarks?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I was somewhat surprised to eat off of paper plates with those disposable plastic knives, forks, and spoons when I went to share lunch at school with my daughter. What happened to silverware? Also most of the side dishes, (fruit cups, sweet potatoes), were served in pre-packaged plastic containers.

The high school she attends has recently been renovated. The cafeteria is outfitted with booths similar to the ones used in fast food restaurants and includes several wide screen TVs along the walls. Much of the food served at lunch contains highly process ingredience.

Bike racks were installed in front of the school though, so I'll give it a few green points for that.

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | August 22, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The cafeteria is outfitted with booths similar to the ones used in fast food restaurants and includes several wide screen TVs along the walls.

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | August 22, 2008 10:33 AM

TV is evil!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"The high school she attends has recently been renovated. "

Wow! There's a cafeteria in your kid's school?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Wow! There's a cafeteria in your kid's school?"

Handball courts too.

No pool though, as many of the freshmen will soon find out when school starts next week. Hahaha!

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | August 22, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I thought only reading the OP blog would bring me to tears, but this one does as well.

Posted by: Nancy | August 22, 2008 10:36 AM

You might want to get checked for overactive tear duct syndrome.

Posted by: jes | August 22, 2008 10:39 AM


To Nancy:

True, some comments on this blog (as on any other) can be particularly mean. It is important to keep in mind when reading our comments, however, that most are said with sarcasm and/or humor in mind.

That being said and this not being the first time we've heard about you crying, can I get you a box of tissues? You seem to be prone to crying, so I must warn you- if you continue here with us, you will certainly have more tears in the future. Snark is what we do.

Posted by: Sully, sincerely | August 22, 2008 10:41 AM

I don't know however on earth poor Nancy manages to type her messages, what with all those tears in her poor eyes.

Posted by: tongue | August 22, 2008 10:45 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Snark is what we do.

Posted by: Sully, sincerely | August 22, 2008 10:41 AM

And fall for cons.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

And fall for cons.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 10:58 AM

OK, you win. Now you can go away victorious. But go.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Michael Phelps doesn't have a girlfriend, but he celebrated his record-breaking eight gold medals in Beijing by sneaking off for a sizzling game of tonsil hockey with one of Australia's hottest Olympians.

Phelps, fresh from shattering Mark Spitz's 36-year-old record, was spotted Monday night in a hot make-out session with Down Under swimmer Stephanie Rice, a source tells The Post's Clemente Lisi and Luke Dennehy. The pumped-up pair clinched and swapped spit at a celebratory bash outside the Olympic Village.

The Baltimore Bullet swooped in for the lip-lock with the 20-year-old brunette just weeks after she split from Aussie swimmer Eamon Sullivan. "All the swimmers are talking about it, and [Sullivan] is cut up about what happened," the source said.

The day after the face-sucking frolics, Phelps and Rice cheekily posed together for Speedo - laughing and playfully groping each other as a photographer snapped them in their swimsuits. "I definitely admire him for his athletic ability and everything he's achieved," gushed Rice, who won three gold medals of her own. "I'm just really glad to be in the mix with that."

Whether the dynamic duo is now a couple isn't known. Phelps' rep didn't return our calls.

Since winning, the 6-foot-4 wonder has been linked to US swimmer Amanda Beard, who posed nude for Playboy, and British model Lily Donaldson. Both have denied ever dating him, with Beard going as far as to fume, "Eww, that's nasty."

Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster's Free Press imprint has signed Phelps to write "Built To Succeed," a behind-the-scenes look at the training regimen that led to his victorious performances. It'll be out in December. Sources say Phelps got a $1 million advance in anticipation of its doing better than his 2005 tome, "Beneath the Surface," which sold only 10,000 copies.

Posted by: Phelps fans. | August 22, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"I was somewhat surprised to eat off of paper plates with those disposable plastic knives, forks, and spoons when I went to share lunch at school with my daughter. What happened to silverware?"

They're weapons. It's a high school. No sense giving a kid a knife. And tongs of a fork can be broken off to create a really neat object which can be used to throw at or stab somebody.

Also, saves time/money on dishwashing.

"Also most of the side dishes, (fruit cups, sweet potatoes), were served in pre-packaged plastic containers."

Portion control. Keeps costs down; nobody gets more than he/she should.

Also, ensures that you don't have a whole steamin' tray of stuff ruined because somebody sneezed in it. (The students like this feature, not the staff.)

"The high school she attends has recently been renovated. The cafeteria is outfitted with booths similar to the ones used in fast food restaurants and includes several wide screen TVs along the walls. Much of the food served at lunch contains highly process ingredience."

I'll let Grammar Sheriff address the typo. The other stuff: interesting, but not surprising. The TVs are often donated by companies that then sell "educational" programming - it's a loss leader. They get a captive audience out of it.

"Bike racks were installed in front of the school though, so I'll give it a few green points for that."

How many bikes were there? Two thoughts came to mind: bikes getting stolen; and high school kids with enormous backpacks plus music/sports gear trying to ride through traffic to school. Makes me worry. Probably makes Donna/Nancy cry.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster's Free Press imprint has signed Phelps to write "Built To Succeed," a behind-the-scenes look at the training regimen that led to his victorious performances. It'll be out in December. Sources say Phelps got a $1 million advance in anticipation of its doing better than his 2005 tome, "Beneath the Surface," which sold only 10,000 copies.


Posted by: Phelps fans. | August 22, 2008 11:10 AM

Closeted gay. Phelps is fugly to women.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"Is there a "Students Only" parking lot?"

Sure, not only that, but there is a special parking area for compact cars. I don't know if I would give them any green points for it because it is located at the far end of the parking lot. And to add insult to injury, the students who drive the whimpy foreign cars get to park in a much tinier spot.

Oh, I almost forgot. The school used to have a greenhouse on top of the west wing for the advanced biology students, but due to the renovations, it got axed (so to speak) in favor of more classroom space.

I think we're going the opposite direction of green.

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | August 22, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"How many bikes were there? Two thoughts came to mind: bikes getting stolen; and high school kids with enormous backpacks plus music/sports gear trying to ride through traffic to school. Makes me worry."

Nice arc back to the "need" for a minivan. Cool.

Posted by: Go OP | August 22, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Stacey

"In Mount Airy, N.C., students persuaded the school district to dump styrofoam cafeteria trays for a more environmentally friendly product"

Isn't fictional Mayberry, N.C. based on Mount Airy, N.C. ????

Posted by: Goober | August 22, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Student parking should allocate the closest spots to students driving the largest vehicles (Hummers, big pick-up trucks, etc.), with the smaller parking spots for compact cars farther away, and the bicycle lots even farther.

Likewise, children should learn the evils of recycling or reuse, because it discourages consumption, which hurts our consumer economy. Being green is an unpatriotic, un-American, and downright Commie plot. Green is NOT red, white or blue.

Posted by: pro-consumption | August 22, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"high school kids with enormous backpacks plus music/sports gear trying to ride through traffic to school. Makes me worry."

Nice arc back to the "need" for a minivan. Cool."

Nope - just the "need" for a cheese wagon. (Or big yellow school bus, for the older fogies.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Anonymous, I hear you ride the short bus!

Posted by: The Big Bus | August 22, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I've taught my children to "recycle" their food on pro-consumption's front lawn. And we save gasoline money by siphoning our gas from pro-consumption's Hummer.

Now if only pro-consumption's daughter would give me a Hummer...

Posted by: Brownie | August 22, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The kids bring no supplies home at the end of the school year. What I said earlier is that most of the supplies are taken from the students the first day of school, to be used as 'community' property, which is why we label EVERYTHING. We hate this and I haven't met a parent who thinks this idea is a good one.

How is a six year old supposed to know to ask for their stuff back? seriously. No one else is getting their stuff back, so what are they supposed to do? The teacher has a bunch of stuff to do.

Posted by: atlmom | August 22, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Here's an idea for greener schools:

Install those toilet paper dispensers in the bathrooms that distribute 1 sheet at a time.

Posted by: potty policy | August 22, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Student parking should allocate the closest spots to students driving the largest vehicles (Hummers, big pick-up trucks, etc.), with the smaller parking spots for compact cars farther away, and the bicycle lots even farther.


Posted by: pro-consumption | August 22, 2008 11:42 AM

Noo. Not the largest vehicles.

Student parking should allocate the furthest spots to the kids with the fattest a$ses - teachers/staff/parents also.

Posted by: pro-health | August 22, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

atlmom

"How is a six year old supposed to know to ask for their stuff back? seriously."

Duh. The parents tell the kid....

"No one else is getting their stuff back, so what are they supposed to do?"

Duh. Talk about a herd mentality!

"The teacher has a bunch of stuff to do."

Like what? For 6 year olds? Read Proust?
It doesn't have to be on the very last day of school.

Posted by: Sheesh | August 22, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Now if only pro-consumption's daughter would give me a Hummer...

Posted by: Brownie | August 22, 2008 12:10 PM


are you saying what i think you're saying?
naughty naughty!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

We hate this and I haven't met a parent who thinks this idea is a good one.

Posted by: atlmom | August 22, 2008 12:23 PM

Classic MM.

Posted by: Ha, ha | August 22, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Now if only pro-consumption's daughter would give me a Hummer...

Posted by: Brownie | August 22, 2008 12:10 PM

More likely the wife...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"The kids bring no supplies home at the end of the school year. What I said earlier is that most of the supplies are taken from the students the first day
of school, to be used as 'community'
property"

Atlmom, haven't you noticed that the public school systems are run by a group of pinkos? colleges aren't much different. You can't get a degree without getting bombarded with heavy doses of liberal propaganda.

Posted by: Green or pink, which do you prefer? | August 22, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Atlmom, haven't you noticed that the public school systems are run by a group of pinkos? colleges aren't much different. You can't get a degree without getting bombarded with heavy doses of liberal propaganda.

Posted by: Green or pink, which do you prefer? | August 22, 2008 1:06 PM

Blame the parents of the pinkos!

Posted by: Pinkos have better sex | August 22, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Our schools order supplies centrally which cuts down on packaging and shipping/parents driving to the store costs.

Posted by: Shandra | August 22, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Oakland is not so good in going green. I wish Alice Waters had chosen an Oakland school instead of one in Berkeley for her "Edible Schoolyard" project. I think the school-cafeteria composting project is another good one, but also that's in a neighboring district, not in mine.

My own kids get plenty of composting and growing-our-own-veggies experience at home because I like to garden (way cheaper than therapy!), but most city kids don't unless the schools get these types of projects started.

Maybe, when we get local control back from the state our district can start some of these things.

Posted by: Sue | August 22, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Working mom, I can only direct you to treia.org which is Texas based. I can tell you it tends to be a lot more complex and exclusive- you need lots of sun in the right way for a long time to make it work. But when it does work, it's phenomenal.

Posted by: Liz D | August 22, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"yep, i always laugh at these green nuts."

Would you laugh at blue balls?

Posted by: Owwwww | August 22, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I hear you on the supply lists. 2 ideas our school's kicking around are a)waste free lunch days (everyone brings reusable lunch containers + brings home) and b)greener fundraising. I put together links of schools already doing both while researching for my kid's school -

http://surelyyounest.blogspot.com/2008/07/back-to-school-greener-fundraising.html

http://surelyyounest.blogspot.com/2008/08/back-to-school-waste-free-lunches.html

Posted by: MamaBird/SurelyYouNest | August 22, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

If you want to get personal about it, it sounds as though you might be the one with limited experience. I guess you've only operated in ideal environments with open-minded critical thinkers. I was asking for constructive suggestions to help expedite change where the status quo is long-established. I am confident that I can influence change over time--I hope that someone here will offer useful first-hand experience that will help with this specific type of change.


Posted by: Stop Teaching Consumption | August 22, 2008 9:47 AM

Okay, so you're not only insecure, you're defensive. I do not operate, but I have served on several boards of directors for community organizations and work for a global corporation. Open-minded critical thinkers are in short-supply worldwide. It's interesting that you consider your inability to sell an idea to a group in an inoffensive manner to be a reflection on your audience and not on your communication skills. All it takes to sell an idea is to identify specific benefits to the organization, show that the benefits exceed the drawbacks, and communicate a sense of urgency. This is not rocket science. It is B-school 101.

Communicating new ideas and building concensus takes enough confidence to not react to every comment as "getting personal". I am confident that if you start with changing your attitude and develop a pitch that doesn't reek of evangelism, you can influence change over time. The green thing will fall into place after that.

Posted by: To Stop Teaching Consumption | August 22, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"Atlmom, haven't you noticed that the public school systems are run by a group of pinkos? colleges aren't much different. You can't get a degree without
getting bombarded with heavy doses of liberal propaganda."

I concur. I've made a lot of friends in college who were pursuing a liberal arts degree, but not one student working for a degree in conservative arts. What's up with that?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I was asking for constructive suggestions to help expedite change where the status quo is long-established. I am confident that I can influence change over time--I hope that someone here will offer useful first-hand experience that will help with this specific type of change.


Posted by: Stop Teaching Consumption | August 22, 2008 9:47 AM

Outsource.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

but not one student working for a degree in conservative arts.

Take that "joke" back to Jr. High where it belongs!

Posted by: Ha! Ha! | August 22, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I've made a lot of friends in college who were pursuing a liberal arts degree, but not one student working for a degree in conservative arts. What's up with that?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 2:26 PM

ROTC

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Most US adult male Pinkos are circumsized. What does that mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 2:08 PM

and you've checked every u.s. pinko male... no wonder you're anonymous.

Posted by: quark | August 22, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

""yep, i always laugh at these green nuts."

Would you laugh at blue balls?"

At your tiny ones I would.............

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

and you've checked every u.s. pinko male... no wonder you're anonymous.

Posted by: quark | August 22, 2008 2:34 PM


Hey - AB signed off on the project between Silicon Valley conference calls!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

fr Green or Pink:

>... haven't you noticed that the public school systems are run by a group of pinkos? colleges aren't much different. You can't get a degree without getting bombarded with heavy doses of liberal propaganda.

So go to a technical college. DUH. End of story.

In short, grow UP. Act your age instead of your shoe size.

Posted by: alex | August 22, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: To Stop Teaching Consumption | August 22, 2008 2:21 PM

Hey, you are a community organizer? you should run for President!

Posted by: Pickle Bob | August 22, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

haven't you noticed that the public school systems are run by a group of pinkos? colleges aren't much different. You can't get a degree without getting bombarded with heavy doses of liberal propaganda......


not if you go to bob jones or patrick henry or shenendoah college. those are the right wingnut colleges.

Posted by: quark | August 22, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes, apparently, school has evolved into a place where we teach communism to our kids.

However, I have a friend who is so far left, she wouldn't say that calling her a socialist is an insult. And even SHE is unhappy with the sharing of the school supplies. Go figure.

I'm hoping my influence (and I am far from right wing, whatever y'all think) will counteract some of that from each....to each...crap.

Posted by: atlmom | August 22, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping my influence (and I am far from right wing, whatever y'all think) will counteract some of that from each....to each...crap.

I sat down and explained the difference between the left and normal people to my kids. I gave them their allowance for chores. I then had them hand it back and and kept half. I told them I would decide who to give that part of their money to. They protested that that wasn't fair and why should they let me decide what and who to give their money to.I told them that was socialism. I then handed all the money back and said they should decide what to do with it. That's conservatism. They are now life long capitalist republicans. Even kids know socialism sucks.

Posted by: socialism sucks | August 22, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Socialism doesn't suck as well as mark Foley and Larry Craig do.

Posted by: Center Stall | August 22, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

You guys wanna go green?

Okay.

Pffffffffffffffffffftttttttttttt

Paint it green.

Posted by: Sailor Sam | August 22, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

That's not socialism, it's totalitarianism.

In our society the government of the people, by the people and for the people decides.

Posted by: to socialism sucks | August 22, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Basically, the people in this country who earn 50% of the income pay less than 10% of the taxes, and those are the people who are re-electing those who keep taking other people's money and giving it to them.

We are in a downward spiral, and other countries are going to surpass us quickly, unless we get back to our republic, but that is a farfetched idea.

Posted by: Not really... | August 22, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I then had them hand it back and and kept half.

Income tax in the US is nowhere near 50%, least of all for low-pay earners.

Posted by: do the math | August 22, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

My daughters' school ran a program called Walk Across America last year. The kids wore pedometers in gym and the class totals were tallied. Whichever class could "walk" to LA first won. They also allowed the kids who walk to count their steps to and from school towards the class totals. 90% of the students walked both ways everyday. (we do live in a walking district, so this was easier to implement than it might be other places)

We do have recycling bins in each classroom and PTA volunteers collect the bins and take them to the recycling center once a week.

They also asked that the students bring a cloth napkin in their lunch boxes. I was annoyed at first because I thought it would be a pain to make sure I had them clean everyday. It ended up not being so bad and we started using only cloth at home as well.

The school provides all of the kids supplies every year and reuses what it can each year. It saves me a trip to the store to shop for "fun and cute" new things. They don't need Hannah Montana pencils and folders with puppies, the plain ones work just fine (and can be decorated with stickers and drawings, so they are each unique).

Posted by: Momof5 | August 23, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"I'm so tired of "green" products, being "green", living a "green" lifestyle, etc. I guarantee you that this is just another trend. Should we speculate what's next?"

A hearty AMEN to that, brother!!!

Posted by: So tired of "green" | August 23, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company