Creature Comforts

By Anthony Rebora — November 04, 2005 1 min read

In a recent entry on her blog, a science teacher going by the Web name Ms. Fizzle vented her frustrations about the heating system in her school:

“In four years of teaching at this school, I have NEVER ONCE taught in a classroom that was a comfortable temperature during winter months. Never. I have thermometers posted on the walls—for science—and I have seen classrooms hit 98 degrees and classrooms in the low 60s. ... How can anyone expect excellence of teachers and students when we work under conditions like these?”

Ms. Fizzle’s comments point to a perhaps undervalued factor in teachers’ job satisfaction: the condition of school facilities.

A 2004 research report issued by the National Clearinghouse on Educational Facilities—and funded by the Ford Foundation and the 21st Century School Fund—concludes that the quality of school facilities is an “important predictor” of teachers’ decisions on whether to stay at a school.

Crunching data from a survey of teachers in Washington, D.C., the researchers found that the level of school-facilities quality corresponded with the probability of whether teachers would remain in their jobs for another year. In a comparison of various attrition factors, in addition, they determined that the effect of poor facilities on teacher-retention decisions was greater than that of dissatisfaction with pay.

The report points to a number of aspects of school facilities—including air quality, temperature, and classroom lighting—that have been shown to affect teacher morale and student performance. Making improvements in such areas, it suggests, could be a viable and cost-effective retention strategy over the long term.

By same token, highlighting quality facilities and environmental conditions may be an effective addition to recruitment strategies.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read