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Investing in a World-Class Education System

A new report shows that schools across the country are in need of renovations and repairs. President Obama has proposed a $30 billion investment in upgrading schools from coast to coast.

To explore two interactive maps that show how investments in our schools will affect each state and district across the country, click here.

A report released today shows that schools across the country are in serious need of repairs and renovations that they simply can’t afford to make. From Rhode Island to Nevada, schools are operating with leaky roofs, broken pipes, and outdated mechanical and electrical systems. Far from being able to provide our students with the skills and training needed for 21st century jobs, some schools are so overdue for renovations and upgrades that they can’t be wired for internet access.

When President Obama proposed the American Jobs Act, he included a $25 billion investment in renovating and modernizing our public schools, and $5 billion to upgrade infrastructure in America’s community colleges. The repairs and construction projects needed would put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work on a range of projects, from emergency repairs and renovations to energy efficiency upgrades to modernizing and upgrading classrooms, labs, and technology infrastructure.

As today’s report shows, the physical condition of our schools has a real impact on our students.School buildings with poor lighting, ineffective heating and cooling systems, excessive noise, or other deficiencies put students at a disadvantage—simply put, students in poor buildings are more likely to struggle academically.  They are more likely to perform poorly on tests, miss days of school, or drop out altogether.

Another crucial piece of President Obama’s plan for our schools is a $30 billion investment to hire and retain teachers. Nearly 250,000 educators lost their jobs between October 2008 and October 2011 as a result of the recession’s effect on state and local budgets, and another 280,000 could be at risk without federal assistance.

America’s education system has always been one of our greatest sources of strength and global eco­nomic competitiveness. Our nation cannot expect to train our children for the high-skilled jobs of today, or for the opportunities of the future, without investments in a world-class education system.

To demonstrate the impact of the American Jobs Act’s investment in our schools, the Department of Education also released two interactive maps that show its effects on every state and school district in the country. The maps (and downloadable datasets behind them) are available here.