It’s time to fix America’s crumbling schools

By Michael Addonizio ~ Fast Company ~

Infrastructure upgrades often take a backseat to other pressing needs in public education. Here’s why that is so wrongheaded.

Detroit’s schools are so old and raggedy that last year the city’s schools chief, Nikolai Vitti, ordered the water shut off across the district due to lead and copper risks from antiquated plumbing. By mid-September, elevated levels of copper and lead were confirmed in 57 of 86 schools tested. Safe water isn’t the only problem in Detroit schools. A 2018 assessment found that it would cost about $500 million to bring Detroit’s schools into a state of repair–a figure that could grow to $1.4 billion if the school district waits another five years to address the problems. A school board official concluded that the district would have to “pick and choose” which repairs to make because there isn’t enough money to make them all.

Even though a federal judge tossed out the lawsuit that I supported, the judge recognized how the deteriorating state of Detroit’s schools impact student learning. The central argument of the lawsuit is that children have a constitutional right to literacy, and that the state was violating that right by failing to provide enough resources for Detroit’s school system.

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