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Issue Explainer

School Modernization

Many public school buildings are so ill-equipped or in such poor condition that they undermine teaching and learning.
teen boy outside school
Published: December 2, 2021

America spends more on public schools than any part of our infrastructure except roads and bridges. Yet the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the condition of America’s 100,000 public school buildings an overall grade of D+. And no wonder—half our school buildings are half a century old.

Outmoded HVAC systems leave students and educators sweltering when it’s warm and freezing when it’s cold. Roofs leak, rooms flood, pest and vermin infestation is widespread, and asbestos floor tiles make the air toxic.

“The best estimates indicate a minimum of $85 billion annual funding gap for public school facilities across the country.”

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 provided the means to begin eliminating lead service lines and pipes remaining in schools and child care facilities, and to electrify thousands of school buses to reduce harmful emissions. It also  extended the Secure Rural Schools program.

NEA continues to advocate for federal funding for school modernization. We believe that funding should target high-poverty schools posing health and safety risks to students and staff.

Letters & Testimony

NEA speaks up for the rights of students. Browse recent messages to Congressional leadership, and add your voice.

Bills in Congress

Learn NEA's position on pending legislation related to public education, and take action to protect our schools

We're speaking up for our students and public schools. Visit our Action Center to find out what you can do.

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Jump to updates, opportunities, and resources for NEA state and local affiliates.
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Speak Up For Students and Public Schools

When we act together and lift our voices together in unison, we can improve the lives of children.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.