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Students Learn Better in Modernized Schools

Educators ask lawmakers to support legislation for new and improved schools


WASHINGTON - February 13, 2008 -

Judi Caddick, a math teacher who has taught sixth, seventh and eighth graders for 17 years, told lawmakers during a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill today she knows firsthand that students need modernized schools to succeed academically.  

“In my experience, and the experience of my colleagues, school modernization enhances student learning in many ways,” said Caddick.   “Simply put, America’s public schools are in desperate need of repair and renovation, and the research is clear—school conditions impact student learning.”

Caddick teaches in Lansing, Ill., which she describes as a middle class suburb that’s home to many former steel mill workers.  Her school, Memorial Junior High, has experienced an increase in students from low- income families.  The school is currently undergoing an expansion project.  Sixth graders have already moved into their new wing.  

“Hallways in the old building were so narrow and crowded that it was difficult to navigate from one classroom to another,” said Caddick.  “There were frequent fights as students pushed and shoved or accidentally bumped into each other, and tempers flared.  In the new building, there is ample room for students to move freely, and teachers can more easily supervise behavior.”

Caddick—a member of the National Education Association—urged lawmakers to create new school construction projects, tax credits for school modernization bonds, and a federal grant program for school renovations. “Federal assistance is particularly needed to ensure the targeting of resources to communities with the greatest needs,” said Caddick.

NEA President Reg Weaver echoed Caddick’s call for Congress to support legislation that would help finance the modernization of the nation’s public schools.

“The physical condition of public schools is critical to student achievement and teacher morale,” said Weaver.  “Schools with the latest technology and learning tools help students acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century.  Modern public schools are basic for better teaching and learning.  Great public schools begin with modern facilities.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers

Contact: Brian Washington  (202) 822-7823