Poor Conditions in US Schools: Affecting Quality Education?

Many US schools are suffering with poor physical conditions and subsequently affecting quality education.

From interruption of classes due to failing heat or air conditioning systems to lack of valuable teachers who aren’t willing to endure these conditions, should not be ignored.  It affects students’ rights to quality education.

This problem is not a new one.  In a 1996 report by the Government Accountability Office found that schools in “unsatisfactory physical and environmental condition” were “concentrated in central cities and serve large populations of poor or minority students.”  From crumbling buildings, unclean surroundings, toxic materials, is just a short list of what is going on inside lower income areas.

It is up to the state and local levels to address the problem and they have demonstrated their desire to assist.  That being said, assisting in purchasing supplies for the classrooms won’t help the deteriorating infrastructure in these school districts.

There is hope.  Congress now has an opportunity to have a positive effect for this problem. The House has begun hearings on the Rebuild America’s School Act of 2019.  The bill would invest $100 billion over 10 years in fixing America’s public schools.  This is an exciting time where we can make progress in eliminating toxic school environments in our communities.

Is it Easy Going Green?

Budget crunches in school districts is a common topic in the news today.  Another common theme is avoiding waste and being eco-friendly.  With Earth Day quickly approaching, working on implementing a green initiative in your district can start now. Here’s a list of simple solutions your districts can implement to run an environmentally friendly and cost-saving environment.

  • Reduce paper by implementing digital communication tools, along with cloud-based storage for record keeping.  All school forms can be made paperless – it’s much more efficient.
  • Use daylight instead of costly overhead lighting, when possible.  Change lighting to LED bulbs – they not only provide a better quality of light, but they also use less electricity
  • Promote recycling.  Placing recycling bins throughout your districts will make a difference.  Convenience is key.

While working with your community, employees and volunteers on creating a sustainable environment may seem like a tremendous task, it’s really not as challenging as facing the burden of running out of valuable resources within and outside your district.

School Choice: The Zipcode and Education Debate is Ongoing

The relationship between zip codes and education is well-documented in the U.S. and hotly debated. The correlation between an address and the quality of education a child receives leaves students with wealthier parents attaining better educational outcomes either through private school attendance or greater public funding for local schools. Children of lower income families suffer disproportionately, unable to attend private schools or relocate into affluent public schools. School choice programs aim to break the link between zip codes and quality of education.

School Choice Definition

The U.S. Department of Education operates under the auspices of the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law in 2015. This act builds upon preceding legislation equalizing the playing field for all students, regardless of zip code, parental income, disability or race.

The original concept dates back to Lyndon Johnson’s presidency in 1965 with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. One of the original civil rights legislative pieces, the ESEA provided federal grants for textbooks, special education centers and college scholarships to districts serving low-income students.

As educational equality became an increasingly vital issue, both as a means of lifting children out of the cycle of poverty and as a means of ensuring an educated populace, the ESSA added additional support to reduce the educational disparities based on income and zip code.

In exchange for federal funding, state laws imposed stricter graduation standards and well-developed spending plans so that all students met the new standards. Continue reading School Choice: The Zipcode and Education Debate is Ongoing

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