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Cleaning the schools

Here are a couple of questions to start your day:

Do you feel better, sleep better in a house with a solid roof and floors and freshly painted?

Do you work better in an office with proper lighting, a nice store front, which is cleaned on a regular basis?

Now, look at the schools in the Selma School System.

Interim superintendent Don Jefferson has taken on the cosmetics of schools in the system. Most people have noticed already the workers around Selma High School, fixing the fence and trimming shrubs on the outside.

Work will come inside, too, Jefferson said Tuesday night during a Selma School Board work session. He asked for more workers to complete the tasks at various schools in the city before students return to their classrooms in August.

It makes sense.

Experts in education agree safe, clean, comfortable and attractive classrooms can stimulate learning. Schools are not big boxes where students go to sit up straight in a hard-bottomed chair all day long listening to teachers drone in class after seemingly endless class.

The National Center for Education Statistics has pointed out in various studies the important influence the physical environment has on student attitudes and behavior.

Education researchers Revathy Kumar, Patrick M. O’Malley and Lloyd D. Johnston spent three years exploring the association between physical environments of secondary schools and student problem behavior. What the researchers found is an attractive environment produces less truancy, cigarette, alcohol and marijuana use, especially for 10th-grade students.

The work by these maintenance people and school bus drivers featured in today’s edition of The Selma Times-Journal might just mean Johnny learns to read a little easier because of fresh paint on the walls.

It’s a good, solid concept.