School Facilities:

America's Schools Not Designed or Equipped for 21st Century

HEHS-95-95: Published: Apr 4, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 6, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether America's schools: (1) provide the key facilities requirements and environmental conditions for education reform and improvement; (2) have appropriate technologies and the facility infrastructure to support new technologies; and (3) have the physical capacity to support learning into the 21st century.

GAO found that: (1) most schools are unprepared for the 21st century; (2) at least three-quarters of schools have sufficient computers and televisions, although they do not have the infrastructure to fully use these technologies; (3) one-third of schools with sufficient computers are not networked, limiting their access to available electronic information; (4) about 40 percent of schools cannot adequately meet the functional requirements for laboratory science or large-group instruction; (5) about 54 percent of schools have unsatisfactory instructional space to implement effective teaching strategies; (6) schools in the same district often differ because the construction of new facilities takes precedent over maintaining and renovating existing facilities; (7) air-conditioning is necessary for schools to operate effectively in hot weather or use computers; (8) the majority of schools with air-conditioning are satisfied with its quality, although only about 50 percent of schools have air-conditioning in classrooms; and (9) schools in central cities or schools with minority populations of over 50 percent are more likely than others to have insufficient technology elements and unsatisfactory environmental conditions.

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