A portable classroom in Portland, Oregon
Schools across the country are challenged with a staggering number of outdated, crumbling facilities. Reduced funds for schools prioritize teachers, minimizing expansion in class sizes and reductions in school years. In most cases, this results in a reduction in facilities maintenance budgets, and few if any funds for new construction. And yet, most class sizes still have increased, packing classrooms that are not designed for 30 - 40 students.
Many schools are seeing an increase in students, there is a need for new classrooms immediately. A call goes out in May, classrooms need to be on line in September. The solution are 'portables' - modular classrooms that are inexpensive and quick to install, and are placed in available school yard areas. Portables are a temporary fix that many times become permanent. These portable classrooms are usually lower quality, with diminished natural light, low ceilings, and compromised mechanical systems. Many older portables have mold issues, negatively impacting indoor air quality. They are poor teaching and learning spaces.
We are many times educating our next generation in antiquated permanent classrooms supplemented with unhealthy temporary classrooms.
Bringing all of our school facilities up to a reasonable standard, let alone providing inspired learning spaces, will cost far more than voters will be able or willing to bear, if we restore or replace schools with established practices. We seem to have an impossible problem.
Innovative solutions for school facilities are called for, and the only way we will ever 'get caught up'. These solutions need to be long term solutions.
Our kids deserve great school facilities. Our cities, states and country need great school facilities to educate our school children to compete and thrive in the world they will inherit.
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