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Back to School: Standards Support Education and Safety as Classes Begin

New York, Aug 29, 2014

Standards in the Classroom!
As part of an ongoing effort to educate the next generation about the importance of standards, ANSI has released a new poster highlighting American National and International Standards at work in the classroom. Download it here, and check out all the fun resources at

As the end of summer approaches, millions of Americans are making preparations for the start of a new school year. And while teachers are preparing lesson plans and students are stocking up on supplies, voluntary consensus standards are helping to make sure that the schools they’re returning to are safe and effective.

For small children, one of the most exciting things about heading back to school is the opportunity to rejoin their friends and make use of their school’s playgrounds and play areas. CSA Z614-2014, Children's playspaces and equipment, sets down requirements for playground equipment and play spaces designed for use by children under the age of 13. The standard – which was developed by CSA Group, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) organizational member and accredited standards developer – also applies to play equipment found in daycare facilities, resorts, and restaurants.

Older kids spend far more time in the classroom and less on the playground, making their desks an essential part of their daily environment. A standard from ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) provides useful guidance related to this important piece of educational furniture. ANSI/BIFMA X6.1-2012, Educational Seating - Tests, provides evaluation guidance in connection with the structural needs, safety, and durability of educational seating, including integrated seating and desk units used in many schools. This American National Standard (ANS) is intended for use by manufacturers, users, and others.

Once students are back in class, the school and its staff are responsible for the safety and well-being of students while on school grounds. Intercoms and other communications systems play an important role in supporting safety efforts, allowing for coordinated announcements in the event of an emergency, among other benefits. ANSI/NEMA SB 40-2010, Communications Systems for Life Safety in Schools, covers the installation, maintenance, and performance of school communications systems and their related components, including signal initiation, notification, reliability, and level of performance. This ANS was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).

While ensuring student safety is an important responsibility, teachers and administrators are also focused on another essential priority, student learning. A standard from ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, provides important assistance in connection with educational activities associated with the learning of foreign languages. ASTM F1562-14, Standard Guide for Use-Oriented Foreign Language Instruction, covers the identification of the elements of a quality foreign language instructional program and establishes relevant criteria for each of these elements.

Standards may not be the first thing on your mind as you watch your kids load up their backpacks and get ready for the year’s first school bus ride, but these documents provide important support to systems and equipment that enhance student safety and learning.

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