82 Pages.  That’s how many printed forms, guidelines, and advertisements my two kids were sent home with on their first day of school.  Some multi-page documents aren’t even double-sided.  Most of the forms ask for the same information: name, address, phone number, signature.  There’s so much printed paper that one page is devoted simply to listing all the other forms I need to sign.  But because I’m a great lover of irony, my favorite sheet in the whole pile is the “LMMS is Green” flyer (evocatively printed on green paper), announcing that report cards and newsletters are no longer printed by the district.  Presumably in order to save money and be environmentally conscious!  By my back-of-the-napkin math, even a 15% reduction in the paper sent home on the first day of school alone would more than make up for printing a report card for every student at every marking period throughout the year.

I wrote about this same problem exactly five years ago, and the problem has only gotten worse since then.  If every child in the district received the same amount of materials my kids did, then over 330,000 pages of printed material went out yesterday.

It’s easy to complain, but harder to develop practical plans for fixing the problem.  Many printing decisions are (rightfully) decentralized.  Privacy rules throw up obstacles to sharing some kinds of information electronically.  But surely we can do better.  If you have constructive ideas for how to tackle the problem, I’m all ears!

If you want to learn more, here are some of my previous comments and suggestions on this issue:

PS: Thanks to my neighbor and fellow parent for sharing her frustration over this issue; I needed the reminder.

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