Editor: In a recent editorial, the Sun Gazette scratched its head about why there weren’t any School Board members at a number of Arlington high-school graduations. Welcome to the club.
A more important issue, in my opinion, is the lack of any comprehensive approach to how APS deals with sustainability.
The search for a new superintendent to succeed Patrick Murphy may be getting started, although the selection process seems to be a closely guarded secret. Because of my concerns about sustainability in schools, I asked the School Board about the timeline and process. I was told, in a form letter, that “information will be shared with the community through the normal APS communication channels.” Again, more head-scratching
The new superintendent must be committed to teaching and promoting sustainability at all levels within the school system. A top-down approach, seriously lacking under Murphy, is badly needed.
Schools should be leading, not trailing, the residential community when it comes to solid waste – the stuff that goes in our black, blue and green bins. There is an astronomical amount of waste in schools. Sadder still, teachable moments are being lost.
From recycling in the classroom and offices, to food waste and excess plastic packaging in the cafeteria, APS has done the bare minimum to move the county in the direction of recycling, never mind reducing and reusing. Astoundingly, the recycling rate within APS is less that that in the residential community. If a curriculum exists in this area, it is not apparent. The school system is, contrary to popular fiction, NOT a leader in this area.
But don’t take my word for it. Google “APS Recycling and Waste Management Report (2017)” or “APS Superintendent Advisory Committee on Sustainability Year End Report” for 2017 and 2018. These all point to the need for a recycling culture campus-wide, the need for a full-time “sustainability and outdoor-learning coordinator” and more.
My outreach efforts to School Board members on these issues has had little success. Some board members seem sympathetic, but otherwise there seems to be a complete lack of response.
While the School Board and school system have excelled in many areas, sustainability does not seem a priority for them at a time when it should be. Arlingtonians deserve better.
Allan Shnerson, Arlington
Shnerson is affiliated with GoGreen Arlington.