Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families released today a new report, supported by the video above, to make the case that the state hasn’t gone far enough to insure equal school facilities. “Warm, safe and dry” — the goal in the early days of implementing the Lakeview school ruling on sufficient and equal education — is no longer enough, the organization says.
Students in richer school districts tend to have better learning facilities — TV studios, performing arts centers and health career rooms with college-quality computer equipment. (You should see the football stadiums, too.) Poor districts in impoverished areas have no-frills facilties. The districts sometimes vary within the same county.
Arkansas Advocates, in “Why School Facilities Matter,” argues that inferior facilities contribute to diminished education, a double whammy for students who start with the burden of being poor.
The report calls for greater state spending on facilities. Said Richard Hutchinson, co-chair of the Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Campaign, said:
“The standard of warm, safe, and dry is far too low to set the bar for determining adequacy,” Hutchinson says. “The state needs to assess and redevelop minimum facilities needs for today’s students in the age of technology. All students deserve equitable opportunities to learn—opportunities to enter college or a career on a level playing field with their peers.”
The video was done by Bailey Perkins, a grad student at the University of Oklahoma, who worked for the Advocates last summer.