POLICY (Facilities & Educational Outcomes)
A growing body of research indicates that poor building condition and design is a liability to the safety, health and performance of students and teachers. While No Child Left Behind increases teacher and administrator accountability, the law does nothing to relieve staff from working in schools desperately in need of repair. Adequate school facilities are needed to support high standards for teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
New educational programs have evolved in response to demands for higher standards for student performance. These changes include a major expansion of early childhood and special education; increases in “hands-on” and laboratory learning; integration of technology in the classroom; and the addition of an array of school-based health and social services, and extended day programs. But the building modifications to support these programs are rarely where schools need them most.
Local and state governments will have policies in place that acknowledge and support the connection between school facility design, condition and utilization to educational outcomes.
The space and facility improvements of educational reforms need to be made as part of their implementation. Space needs to support basic and special curriculum in ways consistent with diverse teaching and learning styles and methods, in addition to administrative and operative functions. If state, local and federal entities want to retain and attract high quality teachers, they need to recognize facility conditions for teachers and staff as part of those efforts. The school site design and utilization should be integrated into the educational plan and programming for school maintenance and improvements. Space design and utilization should support school-based social services, before- and after-school programs, and other supports traditionally part of a community school model.