Help for America’s ailing school infrastructure

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Liz WillenDear reader,
 
In an alarming climate trend, temperatures this week are higher in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, than they are in Austin, Texas – all places where Hechinger Report staffers live and work. It’s also very hot here on the East Coast, and all of this adds up to big problems for our nation’s schools. More than half of the country’s school districts need to update or replace multiple building systems or features, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. It also estimated that about 36,000 schools nationwide need to update or replace their HVAC systems.
 
But America’s ailing school infrastructure is one problem that might receive some help. The pandemic forced a reckoning about the physical condition of classrooms, which account for our second largest infrastructure expense. These are some of the important stories we bring you this week, along with a look at what it will take families to recover from the past year. As always, we’d love to hear your stories, views and ideas as well. Stay cool.

Liz Willen, Editor
 
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Main Idea 

America’s schools are crumbling. Fixing them could save lives (and the planet)

When working ventilation systems became a focus last fall, reviving America’s dilapidated schools caught the public’s attention for the first time since the 1960s.
Reading List 

PROOF POINTS: Should parents value academic achievement or academic growth in a school?

An online experiment found that information on how much kids learned at school, not how high they scored on tests, nudged parents to more racially integrated schools.


Climate change threatens America’s ragged school infrastructure

The nation’s schools, which could serve as community shelters, are not ready to withstand the floods, wildfires and hurricanes that are expected to be even more common in the near future.


What changes families need to recover from the past year

One-fourth of families with young children still can’t pay bills, afford basic needs.


OPINION: Prison learning must be high quality and lead to a degree

Restoring Pell Grants for incarcerated students is a good step, but not enough.
 

OPINION: College graduates lack preparation in the skill most valued by employers — collaboration

The ability to work in teams may have taken a hit in the pandemic.
Solutions 
"'Gang Contracts' in Cicero and Berwyn schools raise concerns about criminalization of youth," Cicero Independiente

This week’s solutions section came from SolutionsU powered by Solutions Journalism Network and their database of solutions journalism. Search for more solutions.
đź‘‹ Contact Nichole Dobo at dobo@hechingerreport.org to give feedback on The Hechinger Report’s newsletters. Did you know we produce newsletters on early childhood, education research, the future of learning and higher education? And it helps us if you recommend our newsletters to a friend. 
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