Why We Should Be Investing More in our Schools

One out of every six people in the U.S. spends each day in a K-12 public school, yet America’s school buildings have a problem that is hiding in plain sight. The 2016 “State of Our Schools” report from the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) finds a $44 billion annual shortfall in the funding needed to keep our nation’s school buildings healthy, safe and conducive to learning.

It has been proven that the places where our children attend school have a significant impact on their health and educational performance. Students thrive in well-lit, well-ventilated, healthy school environments, but there are millions of students across the country who are learning in dilapidated, obsolete and unhealthy facilities that pose substantial obstacles to learning and overall well being.

Director of the Center for Green Schools and SVP of Knowledge at the U.S. Green Building Council, Rachel Gutter discussed with us the findings of this report:

“Our report confirms that we need to completely overhaul the way that we address school facilities funding across the country. Specifically we project $46 billion annual deficit. That is $46 billion we need and don’t have. To make sure that our schools are healthy, safe, and conducive to learning for our students. What is even more disconcerting about the findings of the report is that because funding is distributed so inequitably, the minimal funding that we do have, millions of students, particularly those from low wealth communities are attending schools every day that are crumbling, unsafe, and get in the way of a quality education. As a parent, taxpayer, and community member, we all need to band together to solve this crisis. The good news is that a majority of Americans believe that we should be investing more in our school facilities. We have a will but we don’t have a way. The way is going to involve a complex constellation of state, local, and federal collaborations. But as a typical parent, or as a voter, what you can do is call attention to this issue. Get involved, understand the state of your schools, and contact your school board members, your elected officials, and let them know that we can do better.”

For more information, visit stateofourschools.org. From there you can view the full report and look up state specific profiles, and even find out how your school district spending stacks up to our recommended spending rates across the country.

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