From the-more-things-change-the-more-they-don’t files, I bring you alarming claims that our nation’s school buildings are crumbling and will soon crush the educational aspirations and physical bodies of children everywhere if more money is not spent, NOW.
In March of 1997, Education Week reported on the growing crisis in the condition of school facilities and inadequate spending:
The stories are familiar to school administrators: gaping holes in school roofs, crumbling walls etched with lead paint, heating systems that don’t work, and other serious structural problems that have become commonplace in many districts…
And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? This is America. Every child deserves a great school – and we can give it to them, if we act now. The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows; installing science labs and high-speed internet in classrooms all across this country.
Education Week gives voice to fears for the future in 1997:
Unless school leaders can persuade wary voters to pass bond referendums or raise local taxes, there’s often little hope of change … Some education leaders say it is getting tougher to pass bond issues when local residents, many of whom do not have school-age children, want lower taxes and are wary of how districts will manage the funds… And even if a bond passes, it rarely provides enough money to meet the needs of districts with fast-growing populations, said Carole Kennedy, the president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
The funny thing is, spending on school facilities increased at a rapid rate before 1997 and continued on afterward, increasing more than 150 percent in constant dollars from 1989 to 2008.
Government school lobbyists like Carole Kennedy, President Clinton, and President Obama have been successfully squeezing money out of taxpayers for decades based on false claims of crises. And not just for construction. Take a look at this video for everything you need to know about public school spending: