I was wondering how the new government regulations on lead testing will affect teaching in the coming years. Basically the system imposed will test all items, even items such as books and unfinished wood blocks which shouldn't have lead in them, for lead if it seems likely a child under 12 will use the item. If each batch of the item produced is not tested, it can't be sold. Batch testing is both expensive and extremely ineffective since it is based on the percentage concentration rather than common sense safety. Any items that do not have certificates stating that they meet the current standards will be destroyed sometime in February 2009. This includes all unsold textbooks and children's literature such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. You may be able to get some great textbook deals now, but will have to pay for more expensive books later on, so if you're looking at getting new books, now may well be the best time.
This affects more than just toys. It includes things like textbooks, microscopes, school buses, computers, desks, and light fixtures. I will admit to being a bit sketchy on whether schools will be required to comply immediately, or whether this will simply mean that every new purchase will be more expensive for schools and families already on tight budgets. (for a better, if biased, explanation: http://fenris-lorsrai.livejournal.com/413898.html and http://fenris-lorsrai.livejournal.com/413176.html. Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/20/AR2008122001878.html. Collection of CPSIA articles: http://cpsia-central.ning.com/)
And this leads me to wonder what will happen as schools need more money right as tax payers don't have the money. It seems likely to lead even more well off districts into problems with enrichment items such as microscopes, balls, posters, magnetic letters, and computers, not to mention library books. How are teachers and schools planning to deal with the necessary price hikes?