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How Old is Your School?

How old is the school you work in? How old is the school that your children or grandchildren attend?

In 1989, the Education Writers Association reported that nearly half of the public schools in America were obsolete or contained environmental hazards. (Lewis, 1989) – and they have only grown older om the past 30 years. I have been in “temporary buildings” that were over 25 years. They were unheated in the winter and not cooled in the heat of the summer. I recently was in a “temporary building” housing pre-school children without a bathroom. I do not know of any business people who would be willing to work in those conditions. President Clinton remarked in the 1997 State of the Union Address, “We cannot expect our children to raise themselves in schools that are literately falling down… This has become a serious national concern.”

In 1998, the average public-school building in the United States was 42 years old. The mean age ranged from 46 years in the Northeast and Central states. About ¼ of all public schools were built before 1950.

America’s oldest schools house a higher proportion of children in poverty. Of schools with less than 20 percent of children eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches, 20 percent were built before 1950. In contrast, of schools with 20 to 49 percent free or reduced lunch recipients, 29 to 34 percent of schools were built before 1950.

When will state, local and the federal government do something about this? Hopefully before any of these schools collapses and kills or maims children and teachers.

Source: National Center for Educational Statistics,(NCES)

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