AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Building Minds, Minding Buildings

The AFT launched its Building Minds, Minding Buildings initiative in 2006. At its heart is the idea that the school environment cannot be separated from the academic agenda. The AFT has long championed higher standards and greater accountability. We believe that these principles must be reflected not only in high quality teaching and a challenging curriculum, but also in the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of our nation’s schools.

Building on that long-standing commitment to school infrastructure and the health and safety of staff and students the AFT has produced a series of reports that focus on two areas, crumbling school infrastructure and green schools. Links to each report are available here, but we also encourage you to visit the page links below for more in-depth information about each topic and additional materials.

Building Minds, Minding Buildings: Green Tools for Transforming Existing School FacilitiesBuilding Minds, Minding Buildings: Green Tools for Transforming Existing School Facilities Communities and districts often believe that replacing schools is the only way to improve school facilities. But upgrading existing school facilities is the fastest, most cost-effective way to improve schools’ indoor environments and enhance learning in the nation’s classrooms. Despite the daunting budget challenges ahead, school districts can make significant changes that will improve schools and reduce costs.

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Building Minds, Minding Buildings Greenguide Our Union's Road Map to Green and Sustainable Schools provides information to arm our affiliates in their efforts to promote green school construction and maintenance.

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Building Minds, Minding Buildings Crumbling Schools Turning Crumbling Schools into Environments for Learning provides an overview of the condition of schools, the affect of those conditions on the ability of students to learn and staff to do their jobs. The report outlines action for the AFT and our affiliates at the national, state and local level.

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In addition, we offer the following new report on school construction funding:

Building Minds, Minding Buildings Funding reportSchool Construction Funding Need: A State-by-State Assessment and Analysis of Court Cases is an external study prepared for the AFT that tracks the current level of school infrastructure funding in all 50 states. The report shows that total school infrastructure funding need is substantial, totaling some $254.6 billion.

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