Too many students and teachers work daily in crumbling school buildings infested with mold and mice, conditions that make serious learning impossible, a report from the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union says.
Drawing from surveys of 1,000 teachers nationwide, the report from the 1.3 million-member American Federation of Teachers offers photographs and firsthand descriptions of the unhealthy conditions found in some school buildings. One teacher from Greenburgh, N.Y., talks about mushrooms growing in restrooms, for example, while a technology coordinator from Minnesota describes asbestos coming up off the floor of a school.
The report calls for the passage of three federal bills that would provide funding to modernize schools and build new ones, and for a new “learning-environment index” requirement under the No Child Left Behind Act to improve school conditions.
A version of this article appeared in the December 06, 2006 edition of Education Week