21st Century Schools Create Good Jobs and Healthy Learning Environments for California’s Students

Modernizing and greening California's schools will create thousands of good jobs and improve the educational environment for students, according to California State Superintendent for Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Carl Pope.

October 17, 2011

California State Superintendent Joins Labor and Environmental Organization to Support President’s Jobs Plan and Investments in Modernizing, Renovating California’s Public Schools

PASADENA, CA (October 17, 2011) Modernizing and greening California’s schools will create thousands of good jobs and improve the educational environment for students, according to California State Superintendent for Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and BlueGreen Alliance Co-Founder Carl Pope. The two held a media availability today at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium after speaking to the California Green Schools Summit to call on Congress to pass a nationwide jobs plan which focuses on rebuilding infrastructure and modernizing public schools.

The President’s proposed American Jobs Act would invest over $2.8 billion into K-12 schools and an additional $1.1 billion into community colleges in California alone. Those K-12 investments would create 36,600 jobs and provide economic benefits for a whole host of California industries, from services that these workers will use now that they are back to work to solar installers to window and glass manufacturers and everything in-between.

“America needs a real plan to create jobs, and that plan should include critical investments in modernizing and renovating our nation’s public schools. These investments will create much-needed jobs and help to get California and America back on track,” said Pope, Chairman of the Sierra Club and Co-founder of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Now, we need Congress to pass the President’s plan so that we can get started on these vital projects, and start creating good jobs in California and across the country.”

More than 2.1 million Californians are out of work, and the state’s unemployment rate of 12.1 percent is significantly higher than the national average of 9.1 percent.

“We can put Californians to work ensuring that our schools are cleaner, safer and more efficient,” said Superintendent Torlakson. “Students from Kindergarten through college should have a safe and healthy learning environment. The investments we’re calling for today will move our state forward-they will create jobs, they will improve our learning environments, and they will help to prepare our students for the future.”

High performance, green schools can use 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water than other schools. On average, they can save $100,000 per year on operating costs – enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 new textbooks, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Reducing waste and pollution means a healthier environment, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and cost savings for taxpayers,” said Pope. “We need to do what’s right for our economy, our communities, our environment and our future by moving forward to modernize our schools now.”

Jobs21! is a nationwide grassroots campaign for good jobs in the 21st century that is coordinated by the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations working to expand the number and quality ofjobs in the green economy. Jobs21! works to create and maintain good jobs in emerging industries – energy efficiency, renewable energy, manufacturing, transportation and transit, recycling, green chemistry, broadband Internet and a smarter electrical grid.