4 Ways Your School Building Impacts Your Child’s Future and 1 Way Congress Can Help

A school is a lot things. It’s where your children learn math, science, English, and history. It’s where they make friends and meet mentors. It’s where they star in school plays and score the game-winning basket. What happens in school shapes a child’s future.

But a school isn’t just a backdrop for the big moments of youth; it is more than an abstract “where.” With so many important things happening inside, it’s easy to forget that a school is a building — a vital piece of infrastructure — and like any building, it needs upkeep and maintenance. That’s something that nationwide we’ve been failing to provide.

On average, American students are in school 7 hours a day, 180 days out of the year — not including any extracurricular activities. In a poorly maintained school, that’s time that children can be exposed to mold, lead, pests, and uncomfortable conditions. All of that adds up in ways that can impact children for the rest of their lives. Here are just a few ways.

1. Lead exposure causes irreversible harm to the brain and nervous system

A 2019 report by the Government Accountability Office found that only 43 percent of school districts that responded to a survey test for lead, and 37 percent of those districts found elevated levels. Forty-one percent of districts that responded had not tested for lead in over a year before taking the survey, and 16 percent of districts that responded said they didn’t know if their water had been tested for lead. That level of uncertainty is unacceptable.

2. Failing HVAC systems result in poor air quality

3. Schools in poor condition can lead to poor grades

Additionally, as of 2013, more than half of the schools in operation in the United States were built before 1970. The needs of students have changed drastically since that time and in many cases districts are not able to keep up with the needed repairs, renovation, and modernizations needed to make schools that were built for baby boomers work for kids today and tomorrow. That shortcoming impacts learning.

4. A lack of investment in school facilities perpetuates inequality

Congress needs to help fix this problem. Now.

Our students deserve better. They deserve a healthy learning environment that can adequately meet the needs of 21st century students, that won’t contribute to inequality, and won’t get them sick.

Write a letter to your member of Congress today urging them to support the Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2019.

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