Editor's Focus: Time for Action

April 1, 2014
Yet another report highlighting the poor condition of America’s education facilities—and the astronomical dollar amount estimated is needed to repair these buildings—has been released.

Yet another report highlighting the poor condition of America’s education facilities—and the astronomical dollar amount estimated is needed to repair these buildings—has been released.

Condition of America’s Public School Facilities: 2012-13, First Look” was released last month. The report, which is a follow up to a 1999 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, estimates more than half of the nation’s public school facilities are in need of immediate repairs just to get buildings into basic good overall condition. And the projected price tag: nearly $200 billion, or approximately $4.5 million per school.

Not only is the overall condition of schools in desperate need of repair, numerous building systems/features were ranked as being in fair to poor condition, such as windows; plumbing/lavatories; HVAC systems; security systems; lighting and roofing.

The report is one of a number released over the years that have spotlighted the poor condition of the nation’s education infrastructure, and touted a phenomenal price tag to improve these substandard facilities. However, instead of serving as a source for additional dialogue on the topic, these reports seem to have little effect on what may have become a desensitized populace.

Is it me or should reports like this cause outrage that the majority of our children and teachers must spend their days stuck in substandard, often unhealthful buildings that no one outside of education would ever put up with? Where is the call to action to find the resources and funding to improve these facilities and ensure our children do not have to spend their days in deficient environments?

Instead, it seems that once reports like this are released, short-term conversation focuses on the obscene dollar amounts required to repair these schools, and then everything is forgotten—until the next report is released.

Let’s keep information like this in the forefront and continue the conversation for as long as it takes to encourage (even embarrass) those that can make a difference to actually make a difference when it comes to finding the resources education leaders need to provide safe, secure and healthful environments for learning.

About the Author

Joe Agron Blog | Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher

Joe Agron is the editor-in-chief/associate publisher of American School & University magazine. Joe has overseen AS&U's editorial direction for more than 30 years, and has helped influence and shape national school infrastructure issues. He has been sought out for comments by publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, ABC News and CNN, and assisted with the introduction of the Education Infrastructure Act of 1994.

Joe also authors a number of industry-exclusive reports. His "Facilities Impact on Learning" series of special reports won national acclaim and helped bring the poor condition of the nation's schools to the attention of many in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education and the White House.

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