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Today’s students will inherit the awesome task of competing in a global economy while dealing with resource and energy shortages and creating solutions for climate change.

It is the responsibility of the nation’s public schools to prepare our children well and give them the strong civic and academic foundation, as well as the occupational skills and environmental literacy, they will need. To succeed despite the current budgetary woes, we must invest, not disinvest, in a well-rounded, well-supported education and in school buildings that are healthy, high-performing, sustainable, well-lit, well-ventilated and safe.

Aside from providing a huge health benefit to students and staff, constructing, renovating and maintaining sustainable school buildings are key components to an overall plan to create “green collar” jobs that will put Americans to work and give our economy a sorely needed boost.

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Like any good teacher, I try to spend the waning days of summer sorting through my desk, taking inventory of the past year and preparing for the next.

A few weeks ago, I was sifting through the mountain of papers, studies and newspaper clippings that had accumulated there, when I came across a booklet titled “Building a Profession: Strengthening Teacher Preparation and Induction.”

The booklet, published by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) more than a decade ago, summarizes a report from an AFT task force appointed to look at teacher preparation and how to improve it. Thumbing through it now, I was struck by how timely our task force’s observations and recommendations still are.

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