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Project CLEAN

Susan Notes: I remember how shocked I was as a beginning teacher in New York City to see that the union contract specified that the absence of an adequate supply of toilet paper was a grievable item. I was shocked because I figured professionals should be able to take such things for granted. I later wrote a prize-winning article for Phi Delta Kappan about my exploits to secure an adequate paper supply in an upstate New York school. You can read "The Paper Chase" in Who's In Charge? A Teacher Speaks Her Mind, available for $1.46 at Amazon used books.

All this is to introduce really good news about a fellow who is doing something nationally about the quality of school restrooms.

Project CLEAN is a national leader in the endeavor to restore cleanliness, safety, respect and dignity to our schools' restrooms. Tom Keating, who runs Project CLEAN travels around the country helping students, educators, and school staff come up a plan for getting safe, clean restrooms in their schools.

Tom takes his campaign right to the students--talking to full assemblies about restrooms--and convincing kids to care and to be responsible.

And he posts checklists on the Project CLEAN website that show people how they can improve restrooms on their own. The appeal here is that these are things anybody can do immediately. The student checklist starts with the advice: Get to know your custodian's full name.

I'd take this practical plan of action to a whole lot of school issues. Local problems require local people to take responsibility. It's an important lesson for students as well as for the people responsible for their education.

— Susan Ohanian
Project Clean


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