Tell Congress to Rebuild America's Schools
4,144 signatures toward our 30,000 Goal
Sponsor: The Literacy Site
Better schools can facilitate learning, but America's public schools are crumbling right before our eyes
Education is more than just textbooks and teachers. Physical schools also impact a child's learning, so much so that 12 different studies found quality schools improved both test scores and rates of graduation.1-3
But while 57 million American students attend public schools, many public schools are crumbling right before our eyes. 4,5In Pennsylvania, students attend schools with flaking lead paint, mold, rats, asbestos, and lacking heat, a travesty rightly described as a “human rights issue.” In Detroit, 57 schools with rusty pipes pumped dangerous levels of copper and lead into students’ water supply. In New Jersey, a middle school roof caved in after 12 years of waiting for repairs.5-7
Sadly, America’s worst schools are also located in poor inner-city neighborhoods, thus adversely impacting students of color. This growing inequality further escalates America’s racial divides.7,8
The U.S. House of Representatives has finally taken steps to correct this simmering issue by passing the Reopen and Rebuild American Schools Act of 2020, which would steer $100 billion in federal grants and $30 billion in bonds towards inner-city schools, create 2 million new jobs, and earmark $5 billion for high-speed internet and digital learning. At time of writing, 12 million students still didn't have internet at home, so this bill would expand access to online learning.8,9
But although this bipartisan measure passed the House inside a larger infrastructure package in June 2020, the U.S. Senate has failed to bring this legislation to the floor. This inaction threatens not just our children’s right to an education but also their basic well-being, because many American schools are also rife with safety hazards. One Government Accountability Report found 15,000 schools were circulating air that wasn’t even fit to breath. 10
Please sign the petition below to demand that the U.S. Congress immediately pass the Reopen and Rebuild America’s School Act and send it to the White House. There isn’t a minute to waste. Our children’s educations and futures are at stake.
- “The Importance of School Facilities in Improving Student Outcomes,” Penn State, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis
- “Does money matter for schools? Why one researcher says the question is ‘essentially settled,’” Chalkbeat, Dec 17, 2018
- "How Money Matters for Schools," Learning Policy Institute, Dec 13, 2017
- National Center for Education Statistics, 2020
- “Too many of America’s public schools are crumbling — literally. Here’s one plan to fix them,” The Washington Post, March 5, 2019
- “Philadelphia’s deteriorating school building conditions are a human rights issue,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan 24, 2019
- “Congress Needs to Finish Job, Help Nation Rebuild Crumbling Schools,” NJ Spotlight News, July 15, 2020
- “Reopen and Rebuild Americas Schools Act Fact Sheet,” House Committee on Education and Labor, June 19, 2020
- 12 Million Kids Lack Internet Access. Now Is the Time for the Government to Step In and Close the Digital Divide; The 74 Million, April 7, 2020
- “Rebuild America’s Schools Fact Sheet,” The American Federation of Teachers, Jan 30, 2019
To members of U.S. Congress,
We’re writing to demand that you immediately pass the “Reopen and Rebuild America’s School Act of 2020,” providing $130 billion in critical funding to America’s most underserved schools.
Multiple studies have found links between school quality, test scores, and graduation, but millions of students are still forced to study in crumbling buildings that negatively impact their grades - and chances of graduation. It’s preposterous these students should see their education and futures suffer just because they weren’t lucky enough to attend schools in wealthy districts with the money to provide students with safe, comfortable environments for learning.
The deteriorating state of America’s schools are an unconscionable tragedy in a wealthy country like the United States, which promises education and opportunity for all. A quality education should be available for all Americans, but it’s currently feasible just for relatively privileged (and usually White) students lucky enough to attend school in wealthy ZIP codes.