November 13, 2018

School infrastructure is in big trouble and building new schools isn’t the answer

The majority of America’s schools need infrastructure upgrades or replacements. It’s easy to feel paralyzed by the enormity of this task, but communities really want to see that their school districts are being proactive about the problem.

School building conditions are clear indicators of investment–or underinvestment–and opportunity. A concentration of old or dilapidated schools in low-socioeconomic areas, for instance, stands in the way of giving students an equitable distribution of education. Doing nothing is not an option, but neither is knocking down every building and starting anew.

Rather than building new schools from the ground up, one of the most visible ways to quickly begin to address learning spaces is to focus on a refresh of the microenvironments–the furniture, technology, and interactions–inside the four walls.

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